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Phantasmagorical Stills Released of Tim Burton/Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Director's Darker Retelling Hews Closer to Lewis Carroll's 1895 Tale

Jun 24, 2009 Tim Burton Bookmark and Share

Tim Burton has made a career out of crafting creepiness and wildy imaginative worlds. From the Gothic cityscapes of the original Batman, the foggy grotto of Sleepy Hollow, or Willy Wonka’s candy-coated dream factory, director Tim Burton has moved beyond his German Expressionistic influences to earn labels like ‘Burtonian’ or ‘Burtonesque.’ Fans of the director’s colorful filmography were not surprised when he announced he would tackle an adapation of one of the most cherished fantasy worlds in literature: Lewis Carroll’s sacred cow Alice in Wonderland.

Burton’s filmic adaptaton isn’t simply a retelling of the original 1865 book. It’s a new tale that finds Alice returning to Wonderland as a teenager several years after the events of Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

In addition to the narrative tinkering, the film will digitally manipulate footage of Wonderland‘s bizarre inhabitants, expect for Alice. Burton told Disney’s D23 Magazine, “It’s kind of a mixture of some distorted live action and animation. I can’t relate it to anything because I’m not sure what to relate it to. It’s kind of new territory for me.”

The visual style of Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland has been top secret up until now (save for an earlier, blurry photo of Depp’s Mad Hatter.) Here are five stills showing how some of the cast of the movie have been transformed into Carroll’s iconic characters. Click on the photos to see the characters grow in size from “Eat Me” cupcakes.

Mia Wasikowska as Alice Mia Wasikowska as Alice

19-year-old Australian actress Mia Wasikowska earned critical plaudits in last year’s HBO chamber drama In Treatment. She also appeared in the WWII drama Defiance, and was named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Actors to Watch.” Burton says he chose the actress because “she just had that certain kind of emotional toughness…that makes her kind of an older person but with a younger person’s mentality.” Alice will be the only character in Wonderland who isn’t enhanced with makeup or digital tinkering.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter

In the original book, Carroll only ever calls the character “The Hatter,” but he does appear in the chapter “A Mad Tea-Party.” The vision in Burton’s film is a variation on John Tenniel’s book illustrations, with his clownish hair, oversized bowtie, and “10/6” label pinned to his top hat. This is Burton’s seventh collaboration with Depp over the past 20 years.

Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen

The Red Queen is the villainess of the second book, Through the Looking Glass, though in many adaptations she’s conflated with the Queen of Hearts from the first tale. In the original illustrations, she is depicted as a legless chess piece. For the movie, Bonham Carter’s head will be digitally enlarged to about three times its actual size. She has worked on five previous movies with Burton, and they have two children together.

Anne Hathaway as the White Queen Anne Hathaway as The White Queen

In Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen claims to be over one hundred and one years old, but she seems to experience time backwards. So it follows Carroll’s twisted logic that when Alice returns the Queen would be young. While Anne Hathaway looks very different in the role with her long white hair, her appearance will not be digitally manipulated. Hathaway told MTV that while she was happy to get a chance to work with Burton, she was most excited to share scenes with Johnny Depp. She said, “I wish I could be so cool about it [but] I am such a huge fan, I felt really embarrassed. He would catch me staring at him.”

Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum

Tweedledee and Tweedledum appear in several movie adaptations of Alice in Wonderland, including the Walt Disney 1951 animated film, though they actually don’t appear until the book Through the Looking-Glass. Carroll never specifies they are twins, but that is how illustrator Tenniel drew them. English comedian Matt Lucas plays both roles in Tim Burton’s movie and his head is obviously digitally enlarged for both characters. Lucas is well known in the U.K. as half of the sketch comedy team on the show Little Britain.

There are many more signature characters from Caroll’s books that will appear in the movie but are yet to be revealed. Michael Sheen plays The White Rabbit, Crispin Glover is The Knave of Hearts, Alan Rickman is The Caterpillar, Steven Fry is The Cheshire Cat, and Christopher Lee will be The Jabberwock. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland premieres March 5, 2010.


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New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer
December 20th 2010

I love the pictures. Burton has worked with Johnny Depp so often because he knows how to transform himself into the person he is playing flawlessly.  I’m not a fan of Burton’s but a huge fan of Depp and the only Burton films I watch are those with Depp in them.  Truly a great actor.

January 10th 2011

They make the best duo..b&D
Burton’s filmic adaptaton isn’t simply a retelling of the original 1865 book. It’s a new tale that finds Alice returning to Wonderland as a teenager several years after the events of Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
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