Saturday, February 27, 2010

Burton and Depp on "Jonathan Ross"

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were both on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on February 26th, 2010:

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Part 4:



Part 5:

Chesire Cat Clip

A new clip from Alice in Wonderland -- The Chesire Cat:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview: "Alice" Character Designer Michael Kutsche


Gerrick Kennedy of the Los Angeles Times has an interview with Alice in Wonderland character designer Michael Kutsche:

GK: “Alice in Wonderland” was your first experience working on a film. How did you fall into the world of Wonderland and Tim Burton?

MK: It was a huge leap for me because I’m from Germany. I’ve been a pretty successful illustrator but not in the field of movies, and I was doing illustrations for games -- like the packaging. Two years ago I put all the work that I did online [because] I never really took good care about making myself public. When you’re working full-time you’re not really thinking about other jobs. One day I was working in my studio in Berlin and I got this e-mail from Sony Imageworks that was like we have this movie project and we found your portfolio would you like to work on a movie? This was a big deal for me.

GK: But you didn’t know you were “auditioning” to work on Alice in Wonderland?

MK: They said there were a couple of illustrators -- kinda like a competition -- so would you please draw a caterpillar. Like think of “Pan's Labyrinth,” real actors with animated features. I did that in one day … I tried to do the best that I could. I got the job and finally met the vice president of Sony Imageworks [Debbie Denise]. She said what movie I’d be working on. She said it was Tim Burton and “Alice in Wonderland.” I was totally like fainting.

GK: What type of creative freedom did you have in your work? Burton has a very unique style. How did you adapt to that?

MK: I worked with visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston – this is the guy who did “Star Wars”! He said we were very early on in the production, we don’t have much direction, take some characters, get some ideas for it and go crazy. That’s what I did. In the beginning, I was a little over the top with it. A little too frightening.



GK:In your early sketches, the Cheshire Cat is more human-like and is slight and slinky, with hot pink stripes and an unsettling, toothy grin, and your Mad Hatter wore industrial goggles and had less whimsy...

MK: Because it’s a Disney production [some of that] didn’t really have that mass appeal. It would have shocked the kids. Tim Burton is a big fan of that book, and the original illustrator. Tim had his own drawings in his London office, so he wanted to have a little bit of a classic feel, so that the animals were more like animals with a twist instead of having a far-off fantasy. Sometimes he gave like a very quick sketch that was really helpful. I would take that and make it really detailed.

GK: With this being a reimagining, as opposed to a remake, how much of the original did you have in your mind as you did your designs?


MK: I was looking at the original drawings from John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham and I also looked at the clothing from that time to have the feel for this period so that it's rooted in some sort of reality. We gave those characters clothing from that time.

GK: Everyone, of course, is focused on the 3-D element of the film. Did knowing that it would be seen in 3-D have any influence on your designs?


MK: Not for this one. I would doubt, maybe in terms of environment. In terms of design itself, even if you look at it in 3-D the brain kinda recognizes it. It's more about the shape and the perspective.

GK: When did you first get into illustrating?

MK: I was always drawing, from kindergarten age. I didn’t really go to art school, I just self trained. At that time I always felt self-conscious that I don’t know too much, now I kinda find that’s what makes it a little more special. It’s not the taste of the professors or one of my [peers].



GK: You’re from Germany and a lot of the work on “Alice” was done in London. How did that work for you?

MK: I worked from home on “Alice” for half a year. I asked if it was a good idea to come to London. They put me on a plane, and took me to Tim’s office. They took me to the set so I could get a feel for the movie, and the production so that the characters aren’t disconnected. After awhile in Plymouth [where large portions of the film were shot] and in London, when the production moved to Culver City they moved me into a little trailer. They asked if I wanted to sit in the Sony building but I wanted to be as close to the set as possible. Of course I wanted to get a peek at what they were doing, so I had this little trailer in the backyard.

GK: People never see the step-by-step process of creative work, the process that went into it.

MK: Of course I read the script in the beginning, then they would send me an e-mail about a character that they needed urgently. I would start doing some sketches, scanning them and putting them in the computer and then making the color refinement. But I would also add some fur textures, little things so in the end it didn’t look like a painting on the computer. It had a more realistic feeling. When they decided on Alan Rickman to be the caterpillar I looked at photos of his face. It wasn’t Photoshopping photos of his face that wouldn’t work. So it had to be a design of its own, it kinda has the character of his eyes and the cheeks. Even if they didn’t cast characters, I always try to imagine who could it be, to try and get as much personality as possible. I think it’s crucial.



GK: You worked on a number of characters, also including the Red Queen and Knave of Hearts. Is there one that sticks out as your favorite?

MK:
I think the caterpillar. But I also like the twins in a way, which that’s a design that Bobby Chiu did. As crazy as they are they kinda work together really well. I also think that because usually you have a big group of artists working on one character, because we only had like three people designing them (Kutsche, Chiu and Kei Acedera), they were really distinct. They didn’t get watered down. Like too many cooks [in the kitchen]. I think he was careful not to work with too many people.

Up next for the 32-year-old who said he didn’t “expect to stay in America this long” is character work on “Thor” and “John Carter of Mars,” slated for release in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Video: "Alice in Wonderland" Press Conferences

Here are some videos from two press conferences with Tim Burton and the cast of Alice in Wonderland, courtesy of YouTube user laudepp126x. Also, after the videos, scroll down to read some other comments from Burton and the cast at the London press conference, courtesy of FilmShaft.

Here are some videos from the recent London press conference:

Video 1 -- Mia Wasikowska, Tim Burton, Anne Hathaway, Johnny Depp:



Video 2 -- Tim Burton, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter:



And here are some videos from another press conference:

Video 1 -- Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter:



Video 2 -- Michael Sheen, Matt Lucas, Helena Bonham Carter:



Video 3 -- Johnny Depp, Tim Burton: on fuderwacking and their kids' favorite films:




From FilmShaft:

Hungarian Journalist:
I have a question for Miss Anne Hathaway: You were cast as a princess and now you’re a queen. There are so many Disney princesses who couldn’t make it. They are desperate and wanted to get the role of Alice. I wanted to ask you, what do you suggest for those who studied like you…there are so many out there. What would you say about why you made it and they didn’t?

Anne Hathaway: (laughs) I don’t know I can necessarily answer that. I owe so much of my career to luck. My mother always told me that luck is preparation meets opportunity and, um, I’ve been given extraordinary opportunities to work with filmmakers long before I was talented enough and deserved to work with them. I’ve learned a lot from them. I just keep getting hired. I consider myself lucky and I don’t know who is responsible for it.

HJ:
You wouldn’t suggest anything for them that they shouldn’t do?

AH: Why don’t you tell me what you suggest?

HJ: You’re interested in my opinion?

AH: (mockingly) We all are!

HJ: I never see you not wearing panties.

AH: I’m not sorry to say I’m happy to hear that.

Mia Wasikowska on the pressure of playing Alice:

“There’s a certain amount of pressure when you’re playing such an iconic character and very well known and loved by some many people. We discussed that from the beginning and one of the things we wanted to do was take away that baggage that comes with being Alice and get behind the teenager behind the iconic image.”

Johnny Depp on playing the Mad Hatter with a Scottish accent:


“The Scottish accent was something I did mess around with on Finding Neverland. That was a bit more Aberdeen, and Tim and I talked about the Hatter being made up of different people and going to extremes…go dark and dangerous with the Scottish accent. I hope I arrived there.”

Tim Burton on the Disney versus UK cinema chains boycott:

“I’m happy it’s resolved. I’m just happy.”

Crispin Glover and Anne Hathaway are asked would they consider living in Wonderland, if they could:

Glover: “I’d definitely consider it.”

Hathaway: “I’d be happy to live in a world with no rules!”

Johnny Depp on how Helena Bonham Carter affects the Burton-Depp dynamic and why he will always work with Burton:

“We only started quarrelling when Helena showed up.”

“He’s one of the true artists working in cinema.”

Tim Burton on what attracted him to making the film:


“What really intrigued me was the opportunity to make a 3D Alice in Wonderland. It seemed like a proper mix of the medium and the material. A few years ago, I don’t know if I’d have been intrigued by it, but it just seemed like the trippy-ness of the world and the tool of 3D seemed like a good mix. And also, going back, there’s about twenty different versions and I’d never really connected with them. The characters and imagery and the icon way it has infiltrated culture was just so strong.”

How the actors felt reading the books as children:

Helena Bonham Carter: “You know what? I can’t remember. Okay, so my made up answer is…I can’t remember.”

Mia Wasikowska: “My most vivid memories of Alice as a kid were when my mum used to put myself and my siblings in front of the stop-motion Czech Alice. I remember watching it and feeling incredibly disturbed.”

Anne Hathaway: “When I was a young kid I had a wonderful teacher in the fifth grade who had us memorise the poem, The Jabberwocky, and we all had to get up and recite it to everyone.

Johnny Depp: “I can remember reading the book as a kid…the condensed version and then obviously the Disney cartoon. The story is so episodic and all over the place, but I remember more than anything was just the characters. Even people who haven’t read the book know the characters.”

Tim Burton responding to a question about the different between Underland and Wonderland:

“It’s spelled different and that’s about it.”

Richard Zanuck Video Interview: "Alice in Wonderland"

Producer Richard D. Zanuck takes questions on the making of Alice in Wonderland:

1. On working with Tim Burton
2. On Johnny Depp and Tim Burton
3. On Mia Wasikowska

Zanuck on "Wonderland," "Dark Shadows"

FilmShaft's Martyn Conterio has an exclusive interview with legendary producer Richard D. Zanuck. Zanuck, who has produced all of Tim Burton's live-action features since 2001, talked about Alice in Wonderland, the upcoming adaptation of Dark Shadows, and more. Here's the entire interview:

MC: How did you get involved with this project?

RZ: I’ve produced the last five Tim Burton movies and so I’m part of that team. When Disney approached Tim about doing this, that was about three years ago, I came on board. I’m a very hands-on producer…I’m there every day and I’ve been on this from the very beginning.

Did you know Alice in Wonderland well before you took on the film?

I can’t pinpoint when I first read the books or may have even been read to me as a young person or maybe as a student. I can’t remember exactly when, but when we decided to make the movie I went back and read them and I was amazed that most of the characters were very familiar to me. It was like they’d been implanted in my subconscious because I felt I knew all these characters and know the setting and all of that…it all came back to life. And that’s an example of why this book has endured throughout one hundred and thirty-five years because we’re all familiar with it. It’s permeated culture.

The production wasn’t a typical Hollywood endeavour – it was all green-screen. Had you experienced anything like that before?

No, nor had Tim. We started the picture with live action down in Plymouth. We shot ten days there for the beginning and end of the picture…you know, before she goes down the rabbit hole and after she comes out. We went back to Los Angeles, at Culver Studios, to do all of the green-screen. It was only forty days of shooting, actually, but almost two years of computer generated animation work, there’s some mo-cap work. It was very tricky technically. I think it’s the first time that all three elements: computer generated, mo-cap and live actors all worked into the same scenes. Also Alice’s size goes from six inches to seven feet tall and her regular size and so the actors playing with her had to be adjusted. Matt Lucas had to work on stilts! It was very tricky, especially when they weren’t together. The eye lines had to match up. We had all kinds of charts where everybody’s size was measured very carefully.

Did you ever think while making it, “Is this going to work?”

I always felt it would work because Tim’s a genius and nobody has that imagination. He hadn’t done anything this complicated before we had Ken Ralston who has won four Academy Awards and nominated a dozen times. He actually started and helped invent a lot of the process. I think his best work is with Alice. He was supervising even the green-screen stuff. Between he and Tim, he would imagine it, but it was Ken and about four hundred people behind him on computers putting what Tim imagined – frame by frame – onto the film. It was very labour intensive and tricky to co-ordinate all that. Tim had a good team behind him…he’s an artist…a real artist.

Tell me how you cast Mia Wasikowska as Alice?

Alice was a part that everybody wanted to play, regardless of their age. We had stars who were totally wrong…everybody thought they should play Alice. So we had a whole slue of volunteers. Tim and myself, from the very beginning, wanted to go with a fresh face. We didn’t want a Hollywood starlet or somebody that would we’d seen before. We went on a massive campaign with the casting people in Australia, casting was done in this country and in the United States. Throughout the world really…and kept narrowing and narrowing it down and finally brought twenty people to the UK. We tested them and got that down to eight. Mia was one of them. She came over three times in total. We did a full scale, studio screen test with our crew and the wardrobe people…make-up…a complete test and Mia came out on top.

Have you any more plans to work with Burton since you’re on a roll?


Yes, I’m going to be doing Dark Shadows with Johnny (Depp) and Tim later towards the end of the year. He’s got to do another Pirates movie. But we’re shooting over here (London) even though the movie is set in Portland, Maine. We’ve got the stages at Pinewood lined up.

Obviously you’re a legendary film producer…

That sounds like age…(laughs)

You’ve made classic after classic, do you find films easier to make now than back then?

It depends on what kind of film you’re talking about. My wife and I made Driving Miss Daisy and that was a very difficult movie to get financed. An old Jewish lady and a black chauffeur…nobody was interested in that subject. We spent more time on bended knee…over a year of begging people. If you have a picture like Alice in Wonderland which is a famous title, add Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, 3D, Disney – which is a big selling point…it’s a slam dunk! You don’t have to beg people to do that kind of film. It all depends on what story you’re doing to tell. The bigger, wide canvas ones are easier than the small ones. But they’re much, much more expensive to make…but that’s how it is.

Out of all your films, do you have a personal favourite?

I probably do…but you’d have to kill me to get it out of me (laughs). I hate to use the phrase, “they’re all my children” because it’s so over-used, but it’s true. Each one is an experience and a very unique experience and different. The box office can be different too…so maybe my favourite one is considered a failure. I made Steven Spielberg’s first two pictures – Sugarland Express and Jaws. I must say Sugerland Express and that whole experience of working with Steven on his first film is one I’d have to rank very highly in terms of gratification.

Richard Zanuck, thank you.

Thank you.

Interview with Johnny Depp


TeenHollywood has a thorough interview with Johnny Depp. Here's the entire article -- WARNING!: CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!!:

TeenHollywood: Johnny, you and Tim Burton have done about seven films together. When he came to you with the part of the Mad Hatter, what was your reaction?

Johnny: Well, to be honest he could've said 'Alice' and I would've said [yes]. I would've done whatever character Tim wanted, but yeah, certainly the fact that it was The Mad Hatter was a bonus.

TeenHollywood: Because the Hatter was a fun acting challenge?

Johnny: It was because of the great challenge to try and find this guy and not to just sort of be a rubber ball-heaved into an empty room and watch it bounce all over the place. So (hard) to find that part of that character but also a little more history or gravity to the guy.

TeenHollywood: Yeah, there's kind of a tragic nature to the Mad Hatter's background in this that we've never seen before in an Alice in Wonderland film. Can you talk about that? He's very sympathetic.

Johnny: Well, there's the whole Hatter's dilemma really which is where the term 'mad as a hatter' came from; the amount of mercury that they used in the glue to make the hats and everything was damaging. So in terms of The Hatter, looking at him from that perspective, it's this guy who's, literally damaged goods. He's physically damaged. He's emotionally a little obtuse.

It was taking that and deciding what he should be as opposed to just this hyper and nutty guy. We should explore all sides of the personality at an extreme level. So he could go from one second being very highfalutin' and with a lot of levity and then straight into some kind of dangerous potential rage and then tragedy. So, yeah, it was interesting. Trying to map it out was really interesting.


TeenHollywood: Was there ever a time in your career where you felt like you were 'Johnny Depp in Wonderland'?

Johnny: My whole ride and experience on the ride since day one has been pretty surreal in this business and it defies logic, why I'm still here.

I'm still completely shocked that I still get jobs and still am around. But I guess more than anything it has been, yes, a kind of Wonderland. I've been very lucky.

TeenHollywood: Did you think that it was going to be that way when you started?

Johnny: No, not at all. I had no idea where anything was going but you can't. It's almost impossible to predict anything like that. I had no idea. I had hoped.

I felt like after I'd done Cry Baby with John Waters and Edward Scissorhands with Tim that they were going to cut me off right then. I felt at that point that I was on solid ground and I knew where I was going or where I wanted to go and I was sure that they would nix me out of the gate. But I'm luckily still here.



TeenHollywood: You and Tim have collaborated on so many projects. How did you see your relationship, both personal and professional, grow on this film? Tim said that each time he works with you that you surprise him. Do you feel the same way?

Johnny: Yeah, each time out of the gate with Tim the initial thing for me is to obviously come up with a character but then you start thinking that there's a certain amount of pressure where you go, 'Jesus, will this be the one where I disappoint him?'

I try really hard, especially early on, to just come up with something that's very different that he hasn't experienced before, that we haven't experienced together before and that I think will stimulate him and inspire him to make choices based on that character. So I basically try not to embarrass him.

TeenHollywood: You've created so many wonderful characters that we all remember. When you start to create someone new like the Mad Hatter do you have to look back at your own work and go, 'well, this might be too much like Edward Scissorhands and this might be too much Captain Jack'?

Do you have to look back at your own work and make sure that you don't repeat anything?

Johnny: Well, because I've used an English accent a number of times, it becomes a little bit of an obstacle course to go, 'Oh, that's teetering into Captain Jackville,' or 'This one is kind of teetering over into "Chocolate" or Wonka.' So you've got to really pay attention to the places that you've been. But that's also part of it. That's the great challenge, that you might get it wrong.

There's a very good possibility that you can fall flat on your face, but again, I think that's a healthy thing for an actor.

TeenHollywood: Of all the characters and all the movies that you've worked on with Tim which one of them has been your children's favorite?

Johnny: My children's favorite, and it's funny because they've seen it but they have a difficult time watching it because it's their dad and they make that connection, but it's Edward Scissorhands. That's by far my kid's favorite.

They just connect with the character and also they see something, their dad feeling that isolation, feeling that loneliness. He's a tragic character and so I think it's hard for them. They bawl when they see that movie.

TeenHollywood: If the next project was motion capture for you, would you don a suit like they did in 'Avatar'?

Johnny: (grinning) I don't know. What color is the suit?

TeenHollywood:
Black.

Johnny: Black? It matches my eyes.(laughter). I suppose. Look, I'll put anything on. It doesn't matter to me, obviously. Look at me (more laughs). Yeah, no. I don't mind.

TeenHollywood: Regarding your happy dance in "Alice". One of the great earmarks of a happy dance is that it's unique to the person. Was this happy dance a part of your own personal repertoire?

Johnny: (laugh) Uh, no. Tim, he had a very curious vision for this happy dance.


TeenHollywood: Did you have to prepare and practice it in front of a mirror or something?

Johnny: No. I tend to avoid mirrors at all costs. But no, you had to treat that like a stunt. We had to treat it like a kind of a stunt.

TeenHollywood: When did the original 'Alice in Wonderland' book enter your life the first time and how did the story influence you?

Johnny: I do remember vaguely that I was maybe roughly five years old and reading versions of 'Alice in Wonderland', but the thing is the characters. Everyone always knows the characters and they're very well defined characters which I thought was fascinating. Even most people who haven't read the book, they definitely know the characters and can reference them.

Ironically this was maybe only a year prior to Tim calling me, and I had reread 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass'. What I took away from it was all these very strange little cryptic nuggets that he had thrown in there. I was really intrigued by them and became fascinated with them because they were asking questions that couldn't be answered almost or made statements that he couldn't quite understand.

TeenHollywood: Like what?

Johnny: Like, 'I'm investigating things that begin with the letter M.' That took me through a whole stratosphere of possibilities and finally doing a little research finding that the M is mercury. Then 'why is a raven like a writing desk?' Those things just became so important to the character and you realize that the more you read it. If I read the book again today I'd find a hundred things that I missed last time. It's constantly changing.

"Alice in Wonderland" World Premiere Footage

Alice in Wonderland had its world premiere on Thursday, February 25th, at the Odeon theater in London's Leicester Square. Here's an hour's worth of footage:

Here's a link from AFP.

From ustream:

UK Exhibitors End "Alice" Boycott

Good news for European fans of Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland: Vue Entertainment and Odeon have come to agreements with the Walt Disney Co. and will be showing Alice in their cinemas.

Odeon said in a statement it was "pleased to announce that, following detailed negotiations with the Walt Disney Company Ltd, an enduring agreement has been reached encompassing all the different aspects of both companies' commercial relationship".

"Odeon is pleased to announce that it will now be showing Alice In Wonderland beginning March 5 in its cinemas in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria."

Vue Entertainment, one of Britain's largest cinema circuits, released a statement saying that it would be showing Alice in its 69 cinemas in Britain and Ireland.

In a statement Tuesday, Vue said it had reached "an important and far reaching agreement" with Disney that "will deliver more choice for cinema goers while also providing more flexibility for the studio."

"We are delighted we have reached an agreement with our partners at Disney,'" said Tim Richards, chief executive of Vue. "This is a win-win for everyone in the entertainment business and in particular for our customers by offering greater film choice.'"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Entertainment Weekly Stars "Alice"


The February 26, 2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly will feature new information on Alice in Wonderland and an exclusive interview with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Look for the one with the Mad Hatter on the cover (of course)!

Here's an excerpt with Depp:

“When we first went in to do the camera tests, I was thinking, ‘They’re going to lose their minds,’” Depp recalls. “But Tim fully supported it. It was a couple of solid hours in the makeup chair everyday but it really helped. You start to understand who the guy is through all that weird kind of Carrot Top kabuki.”

Alice marks Depp’s first foray into the brave new world of 3-D filmmaking, but the actor (who admits he still hasn’t seen Avatar) says he won’t be able to fully appreciate that extra dimension. “I’m actually unable to see 3-D,” he says. “I’ve got a weird thing where I don’t see properly out of my left eye, so I truly can’t see 3-D.” Then again, he never likes watching himself onscreen anyway. “So I have an excuse this time,” he says, laughing.

CBS Interviews Burton, Depp

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton discussed Alice in Wonderland with CBS:

"Alice Explored" Video

Another new video showing the world of Alice in Wonderland:

Three New "Alice" Clips

Three new clips from Alice in Wonderland have appeared online on iesb.net:


"Tea Party"
:



"Potion Making":



"Off With His Head":




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carter and Hathaway Interview

TeenHollywood has an interview with Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. In it, they discuss playing feuding royal sisters in Alice in Wonderland, their female roles, how their children have responded to the film, and more. Here's the entire interview, but beware of minor SPOILERS!:

TeenHollywood: Helena, that's an adorable dress.

Helena: Thank you! I thought it was appropriate for Alice.

TeenHollywood: When people say you have a "big head" in this movie, they aren't speaking of your ego, right?

Helena: Well, I’m not as inflated (today). Maybe that’s why Tim gave me the job. I’m one of the few actresses who can blow up their head.

TeenHollywood:
Is there music in the background? Can someone turn that off?

Helena: Funny. That’s my music. That’s what we do at home is we have the (film's) score going…




TeenHollywood:
Talk about the challenges of acting all this against green screen. Seems more and more films are getting made that way now.

Helena: When you’re acting you kind of have to imagine anyway but the unsung heroes of (the movie) are these various green people dressed in leotards that fed us the lines off(stage). (For example) Michael Sheen (White Rabbit) wasn't there. I had a 12-inch drawing of a rabbit but, behind him was this green screen actor so that’s what we had to act opposite. I would have appreciated it if (Michael) had come in his bunny outfit once but he didn’t. (laughter). This actress (indicating Anne) is the one who had to do her own special effects. She didn’t have anything special done to her. We all had to act opposite tennis balls and bits of tape but you do that anyway. Actually tennis balls and bits of tape can be good actors; minimalists (Anne is laughing).

Anne: I would do anything if Tim wanted me to. I would have played a mushroom in this if that’s the way he saw me in it. I would have happily donned my green onesie and been up on stilts. I would have done anything to be in Wonderland but it’s kind of nice to be a real person as well. Being CGI'd or not? I have no preference, sorry I don’t.

Helena: Tim did digitize my waist. Did anyone notice that? They go on about my head but my waist is digitalized. (laughter). He told me that from the beginning, ‘don’t worry. Don’t go for the full pull-in with the corset every morning’ so I didn’t. Then halfway through says ‘you know? The waist is gonna cost too much so…’ So halfway through I suddenly went for the pull and then luckily, someone just told me ‘no we could do the waist’.

TeenHollywood: Anne, can you talk about your character the White Queen?



Anne: I’m so much more interested in what Helena has to say about it. One of the most fun parts about my character was this freedom that Tim gave me from the first conversation we had. He said ‘you know, in Wonderland, I don’t want anything to be all good or all bad so I don’t want it to be that the Red Queen is the bad one and you’re the nice, benevolent one who’s all good’. So, he said ‘have fun exploring the relationship between the two of them. They come from the same place’. So I thought ‘how fun if my character has a sort of hidden psychosis’..

Helena: It’s not all that hidden (we laugh).

Anne:
Now it’s not. She is interested in knives and things like that and is kind of adorable on the outside and has tried very hard to become this good, almost over the top, positive creature but, underneath, she kind of has a murderous streak that comes out when she’s around weaponry. So, it wasn’t necessarily that they were opposites. They were just sisters who were different.

TeenHollywood: You have sympathy for the Red Queen at the end of this I think.


Helena: Oh, thank you.

TeenHollywood:
Helena, I heard you had to spend hours in the make-up chair each day. What was the problem?



Helena: (laughing) You see the problem! Speak to my husband. No, it wasn’t that long. I just said hours for the sympathy effect but it was only two and a half hours.

But they put a bald cap on and get rid of my hairline then have to paint it and put my beauty make-up on, that took some time, then my huge wig. They didn’t blow my head up every morning. They did that on camera. I had this one camera, there are two cameras in the world that do this, they just blow your heads up. I had this huge camera dedicated to me, which was fine by me.

TeenHollywood: You weren't in the make-up chair longer than for your ape make-up for Planet of the Apes?

Helena: No, that was much longer. That was four hours. He (Tim) likes to put make-up on me, likes to deform me. I love it. I always like looking as different as I can.

TeenHollywood:
Anne, when did you read the “Alice in Wonderland” books? Or “Jabberwocky” (a Lewis Carroll poem)?

Anne: When I was in fifth grade I had a teacher who made the entire class memorize “Jabberwocky” and perform it. So, I made Tim, during the battle sequence, let me recite the poem. And he looked at me, ‘you know it’s not going to be in the film’. And I said ‘I know but just for my own sense of completion, in my life, please let me do this’.

I didn’t read “Alice” until I was in college. I was really moved by it. She’s a very emotional character and I think a lot of people feel confused at 19, as to who they are, who they think they are, who they want to be. We struggle with a sense of identity then and other times in your life. I really read the book from that perspective; of a girl who is trying to find her identity which is great because that’s what the movie focuses on; which Alice are you? So, that was my experience.




TeenHollywood: Anne, you were quoted as saying you thought of the White Queen as a punk rock, Vegan pacifist. Can you explain?

Anne:
The pacifist thing was in the script. My character had taken a vow of non-violence but it was also in the script that, when she talks about that she hits a bug so that gave me the idea that’s she’s taken this vow against her will, that she recognizes that her sister is sick and believes that a means to an end is cutting people’s heads off and that’s kind of her default setting and I’m just like ‘I don’t want her to be in charge so I have to be in charge’.

I like the idea that my character probably, left to her own devices, might not have wanted to be queen.

So, then I started to think about who she was when she was in her off-queen time and I realized she spends a lot of time in the kitchen and I made her a Vegan then I just imagined her in Mosh pits and not really punching anyone but fighting against these people really hard and then I thought ‘I like Blondie’ and she’s blonde so that was obvious but I still wanted her to have a regal thing so I watched a Greta Garbo movie. I watched a lot of her silent films. I thought nobody has ever moved on film the way she did. Her whole body looks like it’s breathing.

TeenHollywood: Helena, as a mom of young kids, what do you think is an appropriate age for them to see this film?


Helena: I don’t know what age. Tim always has a theory that it’s us who have got the problem. We impose fears on our kids and the kids are actually quite robust. So, it depends on your kid.

We haven’t shown it to Billy (age 6) yet because it wasn’t finished until a few days ago. When we were trying to find a nursery school for him, according to the Montesorri method, (kids) can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy until age six. (The woman there) recommended no fairy tales so that’s why we didn’t send our son to Montesorri because telling Tim Burton that fairy tales are not a good idea is ….. ooooh (laughter).

TeenHollywood: What were your kids' reactions when they first saw you in costume?

Helena: My little daughter who was only one, just went ‘Mommie!’ (laughter). That’s what I look like at home but it was bizarre. But my son, slightly frailer and sensitive, he just didn’t want to look at me.

TeenHollywood: Helena, you’ve played everything from sex symbols to villains. Do you gravitate more to one than the other?

Helena: Thank you. Is this the sex symbol one; a frightening sex symbol? Actually somebody did approach me in the lift today because they found me attractive with a big head. No, the older I get, I only get villains at the moment but whatever is well-written and has a good somebody behind the camera who knows what they’re doing and a really good storyteller… I’ll act anything.

TeenHollywood: Anne, the film is really female empowering. Girls should dream the impossible, as Alice does, and make it so. Can you relate to that?

Anne: Yes. I think my life is an impossible dream. Acting made me curious about what actually is impossible and once you go after it, you find that a lot of things are very achievable. I think some things may seem impossible but you have to try.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

See the "Alice" World Premiere LIVE


If you can't make it to London on Thursday, February 25th, Disney has announced that you will be able to see the red carpet events at the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland via live webcast. Click this Facebook link to become a fan and RSVP for the event.

The Royal World Premiere of the film will take place at 9:30 am PST / 5:30 pm GMT on Thursday, February 25th and be streaming live via a Ustream webcast.

"Alice in Wonderland" Press Junket

Jake Hamilton spoke with Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Michael Sheen (the White Rabbit), and Matt Lucas (Tweedledee and Tweedledum) about Alice in Wonderland. Here's the press junket:

The White Queen = Cooking Star Nigella Lawson?


Tim Burton explained some of his real-world inspiration for the White Queen character in Alice in Wonderland:

There's this very beautiful cooking show host in England named Nigella Lawson and I quietly had her as my image for this character," Burton said, referring to the comely author and television personality sometimes referred to as the "queen of food porn."

Burton said that as lovely as Lawson is, her cooking routine has an eerie edge to it at times. "She's really beautiful and she does all this cooking, but then there's this glint in her eye and when you see it you go, 'Oh, whoa, she's like really ... nuts.' I mean in a good way. Well, maybe. I don't know."


British cuisine star Nigella Lawson.

The White Queen is played by Anne Hathaway in Burton's film.

Burton also discussed the tense relationship between the Red Queen and the White Queen.

"With a lot of people I've known, when it comes to sisters, there's this perception that there's the nice one and the bad one," Burton said. "But then, that nice one, there's also undercurrents there and things going back and forth between the two. She can stay up sharpening knives all night, but she's still the nice one."

The director said that Linda Woolverton's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's original stories bent the perception of good and evil beyond cliched archetypes.

"The interesting thing I think was to have them connected, and neither is quite what you expect," Burton said. "What Linda did with that was great. It helps with the thing that really sets Alice apart from so many other types of kids literature, which is the fact that everybody is a little bit off. Even if somebody is good, there's something wrong with them. Everyone is a bit twisted somehow. The White Queen is no exception."

20 Years of Burton and Depp

Alice in Wonderland marks the seventh collaboration of director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. Their first pairing was for Burton's iconic Edward Scissorhands -- 20 years ago.

MTV News asked the duo about their collaborations and friendship:



"I think we always treat each thing as what the project is," Tim Burton explained, insisting that it isn't simply automatic that any movie he makes star Depp. "[Whether I cast Johnny depends on] what the character is."

"[Just] because you know somebody ... [we don't make movies] just to work with each other, but it has always been great," the filmmaker said of their solid track record. "You want to make sure each thing is on the same level, or better. We always just treat it as what the project is — no pressure either way."

When it came to Alice in Wonderland, Burton did call up Depp. But the actor didn't know exactly what to expect.

"To be honest, when he called I didn't know what character he wanted me to be," Depp admitted of the duo's initial Wonderland conversations. "For all I knew, I could have been Alice — which would have been fine also."

"You would have liked that," Burton teased.

"I was just prepared to do whatever he wanted, whatever character it was," Depp said of their recurring collaborative efforts and what keeps bringing them both back. "Each time out of the gate with Tim, you just try something a little different. You try something and try to keep him interested. You want to try to stimulate the atmosphere."

"Which is great, because that's what movies are all about," Burton explained. "It's fun and interesting to see how his character develops [as we shoot a movie]. How it feeds off of me and the rest of the crew. It's why you like to make movies."


Johnny Depp, age 46, also talked about how his children -- Lily Rose, 10, and Jack, age seven -- respond to Edward Scissorhands.

He said: "It's funny because they've seen it but they have a difficult time watching it because it's their dad and they make that connection, but it's Edward Scissorhands. That's by far my kids' favourite.

"They just connect with the character and also they see something, their dad feeling that isolation, feeling that loneliness. He's a tragic character and so I think it's hard for them.

"They bawl when they see that movie."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Burton on "Jonathan Ross" This Friday


A heads-up for Tim Burton fans in the UK: the filmmaker will be on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on BBC1 at 10:35 pm.

Burton, Depp on Mad Hatter, "Sweeney Todd" Hysterics

ET interviewed Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and talked Alice in Wonderland. You can see the video interview here.

With Alice in Wonderland, Burton and Depp have made seven films together -- yet Depp hasn't seen a single one of them. The actor said his kids are more likely to see Alice before him. Burton says of Depp, "From working with him for so many years, the one thing I knew from the very beginning is that he goes for anything, and that's very exciting. ... That's what creation is all about."

Burton jokes of choosing Depp for the Mad Hatter character, saying, "After he lobbied for Alice, we went to the next logical character."

Depp explains why he continues to work with Burton, saying, "The atmosphere that he creates for that set is so conducive to creating essentially whatever you want and not being afraid to try something. ... There is the element of trust that's there."

Along with discussing Wonderland, Depp recalled how their previous collaboration, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, would put the director into fits of laughter. "It was the most normal I've ever looked in any of his films and that alone made me feel really uncomfortable," Depp tells ET's Mary Hart. "Then I'd come to the set and [Burton] would burst into hysterical laughter."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" Trailer


The trailer for the upcoming documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty has made its debut. The film chronicles the story of the renaissance of Disney feature animation in the 1980s and 1990s. Directed by Don Hahn (who is working on Tim Burton's upcoming animated Frankenweenie as an executive producer, and produced the 3D re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas), the documentary includes such animation titans as John Lasseter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Don Bluth, Michael Eisner, Roy Disney, Glen Keane, John Musker, Howard Ashman, and many more, including Tim Burton himself.

Waking Sleeping Beauty will be released in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco on March 26th, 2010.

See the trailer on YouTube or Apple Trailers:

Video of "Alice" Cast at Ultimate Fan Event

Here's a video of Tim Burton and the cast of Alice in Wonderland making their big appearance at the Ultimate Fan Event that took place in Los Angeles on Friday, February 19th:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Photos from "Alice in Wonderland" Fan Event

Here are some photos from the big Hot Topic fan event promoting Alice in Wonderland. The event, called "The Great Big Ultimate Fan Event," was held on Friday, February 19th in Los Angeles:


Anne Hathaway.


Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway.


Never Shout Never.


Singer Kerli.


Johnny Depp and Matt Lucas.




Trace Cyrus, of the band Metro Station.


Sean Foreman, of the group 3OH!3.


Anne Hathaway and Tim Burton.


Mason Musso, of the band Metro Station.






Mia Wasikowska.


All photos: AP Photo/Matt Sayles.

Will AMC Carry "Alice" in USA?

Not unlike some European theater chains, AMC, the second-largest theater operator in the United States, is uncertain if it will carry Alice in Wonderland at all, the Los Angeles Times reports. This is due to Disney wanting to shorten the theatrical run of the film in favor of earlier home entertainment releases.

Less than two weeks remain before the theatrical release of Alice, but the Kansas City, Mo.-based company, which has more than 4,500 screens worldwide, has not yet agreed to screen it, according to three people familiar with the matter.

If AMC refuses to show "Alice," that would be a major blow to the film's box-office returns. However, Disney and AMC are expected to reach a compromise that would avert such an outcome -- even if negotiations go down to the wire, sources said.

Representatives of AMC and Disney declined to comment.

"Clothe This Girl" -- "Alice" Clip Online

A clip from Alice in Wonderland has appeared online. This excerpt is called "Clothe This Girl!":

Official Avril Lavigne "Alice (Underground)" Music Video

The official music video of the new Avril Lavigne song "Alice (Underground)" has been released. The song will be available on the Almost Alice album, available on March 2nd.

Burton and Depp Recall Worst Decisions Together

MTV News caught up with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The director/actor duo were asked what the worst idea either of them brought to the other was. Here's the video of their recollection:



"Maybe just any time I've called him," Burton grinned, looking over at his frequent leading man.

"I remember one morning on 'Sleepy Hollow,' " Depp began, referring to the 1999 hit that had him playing Ichabod Crane. "I came in to block a scene, getting a cup of coffee — you're only half awake. Tim was there, giggling a little bit.

"I said, 'OK, what's the scene?' " Depp continued. "And he said, 'Well, this is where we're going to strap you to this large metal thing — which is attached to these giant horses — and then we'll drag you across two soundstages for the entire day."

Added his director with a smile, "That was on Christmas Eve, I believe."

"Yeah, it was on Christmas Eve!" Depp agreed. "And the horses ... well, I suspect they might have gone for curry not long before I was strapped in."

"Both of them," Burton said with no hint of apology. "He was dragged around for a couple hours by these flatulating horses."

They also considered a hypothetical future television adaptation:

"We did discuss doing 'H.R. Pufnstuf,' " Burton teased. "With him playing Freddy the Magic Flute."

"Jimmy! Jimmy!" Depp screeched in a tiny, high-pitched squeak.

"Look, he's got the voice down!" Burton beamed with approval. "Perfect!"

Cineworld Will Be Showing 3D "Alice" in UK

In case you're in the UK and concerned if you'll be able to see Alice in Wonderland, Cineworld Cinemas has just announced that they will be showing the film in 3D on over 150 screens.

After much speculation around whether or not major cinema exhibitors in the UK would play the film, Cineworld has reached an agreement with the Walt Disney Company UK.

Cineworld Chief Executive Steve Wiener comments “we are extremely pleased to have reached a satisfactory compromise on this matter. As leaders in 3D we did not want the public to miss out on such a visual spectacle. As the success of Avatar has shown there is currently a huge appetite for the 3D experience”.

You can book your tickets to see Wonderland by clicking here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trailers for "Alice" DS, Wii Games


There's a trailer for the Alice in Wonderland game, exclusively for the Nintendo DS:



The DS game will be available in stores on March 2nd for $29.99.

There is also a trailer for the game adaptation for the Nintendo Wii console
, which will also be available on March 2nd and will cost $37.99-39.99:

Helena Bonham Carter on Craig Ferguson's "Late Late Show"

Helena Bonham Carter was on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 17th. Here's the video, in which she discusses Alice in Wonderland and more:

Part 1:




Part 2:

"Alice" Banned from Certain European Cinemas?

Following the announcement that Walt Disney Picture's wants to shorten the theatrical run of Alice in Wonderland in favor of an earlier home entertainment release, several cinema chains in Europe are threatening to boycott showing the film at all. This is particularly so in the UK and the Netherlands. Some Italian theater chains are also considering similar action.

Walt Disney Pictures is one of several studios that are experimenting with shorter theatrical runs and earlier home entertainment releases of upcoming films, in response to declining DVD sales. Disney said it intended to release the Alice DVD and Blu-ray about three months after the movie appears in theaters, compared with the typical four- to six-month window.

But theater owners, especially in Europe, fear that the decision may dissuade consumers from going to cinemas.

No U.S. theater chains have threatened a boycott yet, although same may pull Alice from screens as soon as the movie is available in various home entertainment formats.

"I'm getting e-mails from my colleagues all across Europe and everyone says ... this is one step too far," said Ad Weststrate, president of the International Union of Cinemas in Europe. "The guys are really fanatic now."

Some European exhibitionists have also complained that Disney had not consulted with them until very recently (unlike their American counterparts).

"It was represented like 'take it or leave,' " said one high-level European exhibition executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of discussions. "It was done brutally."

Vue Entertainment Ltd. and Odeon Cinemas, two of the U.K.'s three major cinema chains, currently don't plan to show the film in their theaters, two people familiar with the matter said, although talks remain ongoing.

Britain is the second-largest international market for American movies after Japan, but its potential for Alice is even larger, given that the movie, which cost about $150 million to produce, given that it is based on a British series of books and featuring a largely British cast and crew.

"Anything that would prevent maximizing Alice for the U.K. would be horrible," said Joe Roth, a producer of the film. "This would be one of the biggest pictures of the year in the U.K. But I honestly think this will be worked out."

Despite the dispute, Odeon will still host the "Royal World Premiere" of Alice at its flagship theater in London's Leicester Square next Thursday.

Burton on Spall, the Bloodhound


While the title is familiar, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is aiming to be quite different from previous cinematic adaptations. One example of this is the presence of a character that never appeared in the two "Alice" books by Lewis Carroll: the Bloodhound.

The canine character is voiced by Timothy Spall, who previously worked with Burton on his last feature, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, playing the Beadle Bamford. Spall is no stranger to fantastical films, having acted in Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Enchanted.

"Timothy Spall is amazing," Burton said. "I love him. He's exciting because he's always doing something different, he's always working and doing some interesting project. He does all sorts of cool things."

The bloodhound's presence may be "a reaction against the Cheshire Cat" in the film, says Burton, who is no fan of felines. "The film felt a bit feline- and rodent-heavy, perhaps, and I think the Bloodhound adds a certain little gravity to it. When you see all of the characters, the animal ones, together, he added a little balance to it."

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton explains her creation of the bloodhound character in this Los Angeles Times article, which does include a few SPOILERS.

Although much of the film is animated, Burton, a notorious dog-lover, really wanted to go for realism for the bloodhound character -- aside from the obvious talking bit.

"We were trying to find with this character and the other talking-animal characters the right kind of animation and the goal was to keep it naturalistic and to fit into that world in the background," Burton said. "The movement of the animals is really what I'm referring to, in some animation the characters don't move the way animals do and we wanted to go the direction of being naturalistic."

Matt Lucas on "Wonderland"

Matt Lucas, who plays Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland, was on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 16th. Here's the interview where he discusses the movie and more:

More of the New World of "Wonderland"

Some new behind-the-scenes footage and scenes from Alice in Wonderland in this video:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burton: Barbara Windsor is "a National Treasure"


Tim Burton expressed his profound appreciation of Barbara Windsor, who lends her voice to the role of the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland.

"I've been living in England for many, many years and I'm a huge 'EastEnders' fan," said Burton, referring to the soapy (and routinely controversial) drama that has aired on BBC One since 1985. "And Barbara Windsor is just wonderful on it and in so many other things. I'm serious, she's a national treasure in England."

To date, Windsor, 72, has appeared in 1,399 episodes of EastEnders.



Burton continued with the voice of an autograph-seeking fanboy: "She's just the nicest, the greatest -- well, I don't know, it's just nice to meet people that you're a fan of, then you find they're really cool people. We're lucky to have her in the cast."

Tim Burton vs. the Chesire Cat


Tim Burton explained to the Los Angeles Times that a certain character stirred some strong feelings during the development of Alice in Wonderland -- and not exactly good feelings.

"The Cheshire Cat was a character I had a very specific image of and it's because I just have this thing about cats," Burton said. "The Cheshire Cat taps into what you might call my hatred of cats."'

Stephen Fry -- the acclaimed British author, broadcaster, actor, comedian, and all-around polymath -- lent his voice to the ever-grinning feline.



"Stephen Fry did a great job of getting that creepy quality. You know, this weird kind of floaty, too-focused, creepy -- he did it great. He has this thing of getting up close and just sitting there and staring at you, you know, like a cat. It just kind of sits there."

"I have this thing with cats. And with Cheshire Cat it's a love-hate relationship. You can, uh, hear it in my voice can't you?"