Five Facts About Alice in Wonderland

Exclusive: Burton and his collaborators spill Wonderland's secrets to RT.

Alice in Wonderland
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Over the past 20 years, director Tim Burton and his chiseled muse Johnny Depp have proved an extremely fruitful pairing. From the gothic beauty of Edward Scissorhands, through the campy farce of Sleepy Hollow to the eye-popping lunacy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they have given us some of the most memorable movies of recent years. Fans eagerly await their latest collaboration, Alice in Wonderland, in which Depp plays The Mad Hatter opposite newcomer Mia Wasikowska as Alice. RT goes behind the scenes on the film to discover that Tim Burton dislikes motion capture, Mia Wasikowska hates green screen and that making an animated cat is more difficult than you might think...


Alice in Wonderland

Fact #1: It Won't Be Like Any Other Adaptation You've Ever Seen

Because, frankly, Tim Burton wasn't impressed with them. "All the other versions of Alice I've seen were lacking a narrative dynamic," he tells RT. "They were just a series of absurdist tales with one weird character after another and not too much of a context. So you watch it thinking, 'Oh, that's weird,' and 'Yeah, that's strange,' without ever paying attention to the story plot points."

How is Burton's Alice going to avoid those pitfalls? "We tried to give all of the characters a bit more of a foundation and a more simple, grounded story to work off all the weird stuff," he explains. "I mean, they're obviously all mad. But we have tried to give each of them a particular madness and a bit more depth."

Continue onto the next page and beware some story spoilers as we tap Burton and his key crew for more secrets from Alice in Wonderland.

Comments

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

Alan Rickman as a caterpillar? Definite must see......

Feb 3 - 05:27 AM

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Feb 3 - 09:13 AM

bijio

biji badness

Sleepy Hollow is a campy farce? Really?? It obviously had some darkly goofier moments for comic relief (the surgery scene, some of that kid's lines I suppose) but FARCE? Strong words there, ms. I don't see it as such as all. Maybe because I was only 13 when I saw it in theaters, and up until it was all explained away by the end, I thought it was tight, scary and bloody as hell. 'Course now it's not so bloody to me after the rapid desensitization that we probably all went through this past decade, but hey. I'm sorry, but "Campy farce" just rubs me the wrong way for imo Burton's best movie.

Feb 3 - 06:25 AM

Eric C.

Eric Carlson

"Campy farce" is not an insult. It's just what it is.

Feb 14 - 10:29 PM

vashfanatic

Martha Boatright

Well, all the other adaptations of "Alice in Wonderland" lacked narrative structure because the original book (or books, since most incorporate bits of "Through the Looking Glass") lacked narrative structure. They're based on dreams and nightmares.

That said, I was heartened to learn that this isn't so much an adaptation as a weird creepy sequel (Alice /returns/ to Wonderland), which means Burton might be bringing something new to the table.

Also: does Burton just have Johnny Depp on speed dial at this point? :D

Feb 3 - 06:50 AM

Jaz P.

Jaz Parks

Its not actually an original idea by Burton. Its a movie based on the game Alice by American McGee. It goes something like this:
Shortly after her second adventure, Alice's house is burned down by an accidental fire, killing her family, and leaving her as the only survivor. Due to her survivor's guilt, she tries to commit suicide (bandages can be seen on her wrists), and becomes catatonic. She is institutionalized in Rutledge Asylum, where she remains insane and is consistently mistreated by the workers. Ten years later, the White Rabbit summons Alice to aid a radically altered Wonderland, which became a twisted version of itself as it came under the despotic rule of the Queen of Hearts. The Cheshire Cat serves as Alice's companion throughout the game, frequently appearing to guide her with cryptic comments.

It wont be exactly the same because its Disney, so there wont be the suicide part probably, but its still her going back and Wonderland being taken over by the Red Queen and the fight with the Jabberwock. Also she probably wont run around with a knife :P

Feb 4 - 07:34 PM

minderbinder

anonymous anonymous

"Its a movie based on the game Alice by American McGee"

No, it's not. There were discussions for years about doing that version, but it never happened, and this version isn't based on it. Ironically, the first script for that version was done by John August who wrote Big Fish and Charlie & the Chocolate factory.

Feb 5 - 01:59 PM

R B.

R B

Tim Burton is the f**king man! Can't wait for this movie. The trailer in 3D looked stunning. I will never forget seeing that cat float right in front of my face. Almost poopooed my pants haha.

Feb 3 - 06:52 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Well I like what Burton pointed out at first, that no Alice movie was straight forward. The original Disney one had a plot going for it but fans of the book demanded Walt to make it accurate to the book or they'll boycott it. Walt gave in to their demand, and the movie failed (The characters are known but the plot not so much). From then on, Disney decided to adapt any story that fits right for a movie instead of being accurate. Look at many Disney movies, people are more familiar with the Disneyfied characters and stories than the original source materials.

Feb 3 - 07:38 AM

jeremyf1977

jeremy fein

Well I was curious what Alan Rickman looked like as the cataperriler and I am impressed, this looks like something on pure nightmare juice I can't wait to see it.

Feb 3 - 07:45 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

totally not a TIM BURTON FAN except for ED WOOD and BEETLE JUICE . . .
TIM BURTON'S movies aren't really scary, or fun, emotionally moving to me in any way.
--a genuinely scary film will give me nightmares or figure greatly in my dreams
--a fun or funny movie makes me laugh and/or want to watch it again and buy the soundtrack
--an emotionally moving film makes me laugh or cry

. . . outside of ED WOOD and BEETLE JUICE, TIM BURTON is a total RIP-OFF ARTIST of GERMAN-EXPRESSIONISTIC-SILENT FILMS (including CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and NOSFERATU) and MARIO BAVA'S BLACK SABBATH and BLACK SUNDAY.

Tim Burton's film's shovel a lot of BS at me expecting me to be frightened or think its fun.

watch the films: CAT AND THE CANARY (1927), (Dario Argento's) SUSPIRIA, and (Mario Bava's) BLACK SUNDAY, and then watch a TIM BURTON movie and you'll really see how much of a PHONY TIM BURTON is as a genre director.

(all the movies are available on-line--it shouldn't take you more than an hour to make a comparison between the "crap" of TIM BURTON and the true EXCELLENCE of the directors TIM BURTON appears to be trying to imitate)

TIM BURTON = phony, phony, phony, phony, PHONY genre director.

. . . but then AUDIENCES LOVE TIM BURTON MOVIES to no end.

at least watch MARIO BAVA'S BLACK SUNDAY and then watch TIM BURTON'S SLEEPY HOLLOW (BAVA is GENUINE and BURTON is a big FAT fake PHONY in terms of "horror")

Feb 3 - 07:59 AM

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Feb 3 - 09:14 AM

The Avenger

kenneth kinderman

this literally makes no sense.

Feb 3 - 06:44 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

Well, let's ignore that SUSPIRIA sucks and move on to something called "homage....."

Feb 4 - 03:44 PM

Becky P.

Becky Peel

I cant WAIT to see this movie, im a huge fan of tim burton. HARSH about sleepy hollow, i thought it was great! Never really got the plot to the original disney, i kinda lost interest half way through...but i think tim burtons movie will definatley be the best version of alice in wonderland.

ps, HARSH Gordon Terry Franklin Sr, i think tim burtons movies are totally unique, i mean, have you SEEN nightmare before christmas? i have never seen anything MORE unique than that! and i dont think sleepy hollow was even meant to scare people, it gets across as eerie, and a very visually beautiful film, and thats very very veryyyyyyyyyyyy unique!

Feb 6 - 12:26 PM

Mike L.

Mike Luciw

this is an entirely circumstantial argument probably fueled by a general dislike of tim burton.

Feb 15 - 10:32 AM

frozen01

Renee Knowles

Alan Rickman, Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, Helena Bonham Carter... my butt is in the seat :)
Though I'm starting to hate the makeup for the Mad Hatter. :o\ It was fun and quirky in a movie poster, but now it seems like it will just be distracting.

Oh, and Sleepy Hollow was not a "farce". It had good characters, a great backdrop, a fun story, and a great message along the lines of "don't judge a book by its cover". Not the best movie... not even the best Burton flick.. but very enjoyable.

Feb 3 - 08:01 AM

P D.

P D

not like the mad hatter's look..?? then just take a look at the article and an excerpt explaining why the red hair, etc..

"In the 18th and 19th centuries, mercury was used in the manufacture of felt, and when used in hats it could be absorbed through the skin and affect the mind through maladies such as Korsakoff's syndrome. Hatters and mill workers often fell victim to mercury poisoning which, in Carroll%u2019s time, had an orange tint..."

Johnny Depp, et al did serious study to figure out the final look of these characters.. gotta say i LOVE the mad hatter posters, nd to be honest, even more after this article..

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2009/12/johnny-depp-explains-how-he-picked-his-poison-with-the-mad-hatter-.html

can't wait for the movie..!!

Feb 15 - 11:15 AM

Taylor Betz

Taylor Betz

Burton made me want to be a director and while he isn't my favorite now, he's still a talent and I agree: no other Alice film has ever gotten it. Alice just can't make for a good film without any editing, so stoked Burton shares this idea, his film could be the best adaptation to date. Also, that cast is pitch-perfect even if The Mad Hatter is being over-marketed I imagine Depp's scenes will be a blast, seems the mad tea party bit is always the best bit of any Alice film.

Feb 3 - 08:35 AM

Adam P.

Adam Paddock

I think it is important to remember that all adaptations from novels to film are problematic. With a story like Alice in Wonderland which has so many adaptations, Burton has a chance to see what has worked and has not worked in the past. By the way, the worst adaptation from a novel I have ever seen was newer version of the Count of Monte Cristo. Anyone who has read the novel left the theater looking for an airplane curtosy bag.

Feb 3 - 12:02 PM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

i hope that Burton follows the book more
Depp rules his roles

Feb 3 - 08:48 AM

frozengrasshopper

james kleim

totally not a Gordon Franklin Terry Sr. fan...

Feb 3 - 08:49 AM

Screen Junkie

Kerry M

Bahaha! Yes, someone needs to RELAX...

Feb 6 - 02:24 AM

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Feb 3 - 09:13 AM

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Feb 3 - 09:14 AM

Shatter24

Jeremiah Rancourt

Let's not diss Tim Burton. Though I would like to see him do an original story again instead of remake after remake. Seriously, when was the last original movie he's done that wasn't a remake?

Feb 3 - 10:18 AM

Labordus

Sam Labordus

This really isn't a re-make. that was pretty much fact number one. Burton didn't like any of the ideas floating around and even previous films. Alice is a completely new story line where she goes back AFTER she left a few years ago. Everything that Burton does is original because I truly believe he is the only man insane enough to be able to pull of such great films. If you want to get technical about this and say "well mister, its still the story of Alice in Wonderland." Well, no movie is original in all reality. Now I could be completely wrong... I'm only human and I may have misunderstood what you intended. And I understand if you still don't feel its original, but you have to admit, its going to be amazing to see this story through in his twisted image. Oh, before I forget, I don't think your bashing at all and I can tell your a Burton fan, I'm just on my lunch break and have nothing better to do.

Feb 3 - 10:43 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Although your somewhat right on Alice, most of his films are not original regardless of having somewhat new plots to it.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure-The Bicycle Thief
Batman and Batman Returns-Comics
Sleepy Hollow-Book
Planet of the Apes- Remake
Charlie in the Chocolate Factory-Remake
Sweeney Todd-Play

Feb 3 - 03:26 PM

Labordus

Sam Labordus

This really isn't a re-make. that was pretty much fact number one. Burton didn't like any of the ideas floating around and even previous films. Alice is a completely new story line where she goes back AFTER she left a few years ago. Everything that Burton does is original because I truly believe he is the only man insane enough to be able to pull of such great films. If you want to get technical about this and say "well mister, its still the story of Alice in Wonderland." Well, no movie is original in all reality. Now I could be completely wrong... I'm only human and I may have misunderstood what you intended. And I understand if you still don't feel its original, but you have to admit, its going to be amazing to see this story through in his twisted image. Oh, before I forget, I don't think your bashing at all and I can tell your a Burton fan, I'm just on my lunch break and have nothing better to do.

Feb 3 - 10:43 AM

Molly C.

Molly Chompers

Corpse Bride is original, isn't it? Animated, but with Johnny Depp.

Feb 4 - 04:19 PM

Daniel Mumby

Daniel Mumby

Big Fish, I think, and that was great

Feb 5 - 02:15 AM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

Burton is a mixed bag to me. However, one of his best films always seems to get over looked.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

My favorite Burton films are, in no particular order...

Sweeny Todd

Sleepy Hollow

Ed Wood

Pee Wee

Feb 3 - 10:32 AM

Labordus

Sam Labordus

This really isn't a re-make. that was pretty much fact number one. Burton didn't like any of the ideas floating around and even previous films. Alice is a completely new story line where she goes back AFTER she left a few years ago. Everything that Burton does is original because I truly believe he is the only man insane enough to be able to pull of such great films. If you want to get technical about this and say "well mister, its still the story of Alice in Wonderland." Well, no movie is original in all reality. Now I could be completely wrong... I'm only human and I may have misunderstood what you intended. And I understand if you still don't feel its original, but you have to admit, its going to be amazing to see this story through in his twisted image. Oh, before I forget, I don't think your bashing at all and I can tell your a Burton fan, I'm just on my lunch break and have nothing better to do.

Feb 3 - 10:43 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Although your somewhat right on Alice, most of his films are not original regardless of having somewhat new plots to it.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure-The Bicycle Thief
Batman and Batman Returns-Comics
Sleepy Hollow-Book
Planet of the Apes- Remake
Charlie in the Chocolate Factory-Remake
Sweeney Todd-Play

Feb 3 - 03:26 PM

Labordus

Sam Labordus

This really isn't a re-make. that was pretty much fact number one. Burton didn't like any of the ideas floating around and even previous films. Alice is a completely new story line where she goes back AFTER she left a few years ago. Everything that Burton does is original because I truly believe he is the only man insane enough to be able to pull of such great films. If you want to get technical about this and say "well mister, its still the story of Alice in Wonderland." Well, no movie is original in all reality. Now I could be completely wrong... I'm only human and I may have misunderstood what you intended. And I understand if you still don't feel its original, but you have to admit, its going to be amazing to see this story through in his twisted image. Oh, before I forget, I don't think your bashing at all and I can tell your a Burton fan, I'm just on my lunch break and have nothing better to do.

Feb 3 - 10:43 AM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

I just hope this isn't another Beetlejuice, where the film is heavily promoted as a starring vehicle for Depp and then said star only appears in the film for 15 minute. (thats about how much screen time Keaton had in Beetlejuice)

Feb 3 - 10:53 AM

Eva M.

Eva M.

HAHA, Alan Rickman as the caterpillar. I'd like to see that.

Feb 3 - 11:10 AM

Eva M.

Eva M.

HAHA, Alan Rickman as the caterpillar. I'd like to see that.

Feb 3 - 11:10 AM

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