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In today’s article, you say that Tim Burton wants his
version of “Alice in Wonderland” to be different from all the movies & TV
shows that proceed it. That this time around, Burton wants to emotionally
ground Lewis Carroll’s stories. Did Tim ever explain how he intends on doing
To be honest, no.
Tim Burton confers with the press at Comic-Con. Photo by Nancy Stadler
To be fair to Mr. Burton, he’s still in the middle of
working on Disney’s new Digital 3D version of “Alice in Wonderland.” And as
soon as Tim finished up with all of his promotional obligations at this year’s
Comic-Con, he then rushed back to London. Where Burton has at least another
five months worth of work to do yet on this Walt Disney Pictures release.
"This is the first time I've dealt with a lot of green
screen," Burton said. "Because we're using so many different
techniques on this film, it takes a very long time to get to a finished shot.
So I'll be working on "Alice" right up until the end. Which is a bit scary, but exciting
But as to how his take on this much beloved children’s tale will
be different from all the movies & TV shows that proceed it, Tim talked
about he and screenwriter Linda Woolverton have tried to give Lewis Carroll’s
stories an emotional thru-line this time
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“In all of the other versions of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that
I’ve ever seen, I’ve never felt an emotional connection to the material,”
Burton explained. “Alice was always this passive little girl who wandered from
place to place, meeting one crazy character after another. What Linda and I
have tried to do is give this story some sort of emotional grounding.”
Mind you – just as they have in the past – Carroll’s
characters will remain weird in Disney’s new movie version of “Alice in
Wonderland.” But this time around, they’ll be weird for very specific reasons.
Take – for example – Johnny Depp’s take on the Mad Hatter.
Though Burton joked that – in order to get that bright red shock wig that Depp
wears in this film – he and Johnny “ … scalped Carrot Top,” Tim explained how these
two longtime collaborators took a very methodical approach to creating an
all-new version of this iconic character. Having long conversations about how
the Hatter should be dressed, even discussing why exactly this character was mad.
“(The Mad Hatter has) been portrayed in animation and in
live action before. But in most of those versions, the Hatter is just this one
note character,” Burton continued. “And Johnny – just as he always does – dug
deeper. He tried to find a grounding for this character, something that you
feel, as opposed to just having the Hatter be mad. (Johnny’s) goal was to try
and bring out a human side to the strangeness of this character.”
Now add to this that the additional challenge that Tim faced.
Given that this new version of “Alice in Wonderland” – when it’s released to
theaters in March of 2010 – will be shown in Disney Digital 3D. Which Burton says
was a deliberate storytelling choice.
“(Doing this version of “Alice” in 3D) is not a gimmick. I
think that (this film-making process) puts you in this world more,” Burton
said. “Plus with the Alice material -- the growing & shrinking and the
weird kind of spaces & places you’re in (in this story), it just kind of
helps with the experience. “
Even so, with all of the effects work that still has be done
in order to make this all-new version of “Alice in Wonderland” a truly
memorable 3D experience, Burton wasn’t much in a mood to discuss “Dark Shadows,”
his next project with Depp.
“Yeah, that’s my next one,” Tim concluded. “If I ever finish
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Of course, as we all know, Walt always said that the main failing with his version of Alice is that it lacked heart. It's good to see that failing recognized and hopefully remedied in this eye-popping new version.