Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton has set his sights on the strangest story of them all. Seemingly on a quest to reinvent all our childhood totems in line with his own macabre visions, his next film will venture into a wonderland so mad in its own right that it's hard to imagine even this most fanciful of directors making it any odder.
But that’s what Burton is promising. His latest spectacular is Alice in Wonderland, but it's Alice with a twist. Instead of going back over the old storylines, Alice 2010 will fall back down the rabbit-hole as a nineteen-year-old, with no recollection of her old haunts and friends. What she finds is a land in turmoil, its peace destroyed by the megalomaniac tendencies of the wicked Red Queen and its inhabitants desperate for her help.
Familiar old characters will be played by a familiar old cast. Helena Bonham Carter as Red Queen and Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter are working with Burton for the sixth and seventh times respectively, and the starry line-up stretches on to include Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit, Alan Rickman as Caterpillar, Stephen Fry as Cheshire Cat and Matt Lucas as Tweedles -dum and -dee. The only unknown is Alice herself, to be played by Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, cast by Burton for her 'gravity' and 'internal life'. 'Someone you could just look at and see wheels turning'.
According to Burton, it's this emotional depth that will separate his film from previous versions of Alice. 'Most Alices are sort of this precocious girl wandering through things', he observes. 'That was the challenge to me – to make Alice feel like a story as opposed to a series of events.'
With the world's best-loved nutcases as his material, one can only cross one's toes and hope he takes care.
Out on general release 5 Mar 2010.