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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp take on Alice in Wonderland

Updated on May 5, 2011
Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

Director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp collaborate again, after Sweeny Todd in 2007

Walt Disney Studios has just released the movie Alice in Wonderland, pairing director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. These two are a wonderful combination in the making of unusual and "far out" movies. They work well together and have teamed up more than once in the past.

It appears that both Burton and Depp have a penchant for the exaggerated, perverse, and bizarre. Their first film together was Edward Scissorhands (1990), a strange tale about a shy young man created by an inventor who, upon dying suddenly, left him with scissors for hands. The film documents what it feels like to live your life being different from everyone around you.

Other films combining the talents of these two creative geniuses include Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow, (1999), Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (2005), and Sweeny Todd (2007). Together they have turned out one unconventional flick after the other. Both men are brilliant, unique, and apparently obsessed with off-the-wall, somewhat nightmarish and warped drama, which includes an element of humor and tenderness.

click on photos to enlarge

Tim Burton
Tim Burton
Helena Bonham Carter  (with Ralph Fiennes)
Helena Bonham Carter (with Ralph Fiennes)
Partners: Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Burton
Partners: Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Burton
Burton, Bonham-Carter and children
Burton, Bonham-Carter and children
Burton, Bonham-Carter and children
Burton, Bonham-Carter and children

Director Tim Burton and actress Helena Bonham Carter

A fascination with the dark and perverse

Tim Burton has made twenty five films since 1982. During that time, he has managed to stay just within the mainstream of Hollywood, although his films do not reflect that. On the contrary, he has remained true to himself and to his particular film and artistic choices, with a strong personal vision and a distinct uncompromising style. A past creator of horror films, his work although visually amazing and innovative, contains strong dark overtones. Yet, for some reason, he remains connected to the commercial Hollywood tradition; a contradiction to say the least.

A meeting of two brilliant and talented minds

Burton met his partner, actress Helena Bonham Carter in 2002 when the two of them worked on his film Planet of The Apes. They have been together ever since and now have two small children. Carter, an award winning actress, is a seasoned artist in her own right, with many films under her belt. Her first film was "Lady Jane Grey", in which she played the 16 year old queen to Henry the Eighth. Next she starred in "Room With A View" when she was barely twenty years old, for which she received an Academy Award nomination.

She has been making films well over 20 years and her career has seen her tackle every kind of role from the suicidal queen Ophelia in Hamlet, to a romantic heroine in Howard's End (1992) to a neurotic misfit in Fight Club (1999) to the helpful wife of a maniac butcher in Sweeney Todd (2007). And now in the new film Alice in Wonderland, to be released in 2010, she is playing the Red Queen.

At the age of 43, Bonham Carter pretty much concentrates on working with her partner, Burton, on his particular genre of films, which are brilliantly innovative and exciting visually and truly unique in every other way. She is fond of saying "I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone." And so, this team of Burton and Bonham Carter continues to amaze, frighten, and shock us with a continuous output of creative, entertaining, and visually stimulating images.

ALICE: Mia Wasikowska
ALICE: Mia Wasikowska
MADHATTER: Johnny Depp
MADHATTER: Johnny Depp
RED QUEEN: Helena Bonham Carter
RED QUEEN: Helena Bonham Carter
WHITE QUEEN: Anne Hathaway
WHITE QUEEN: Anne Hathaway

Down the rabbit hole

Burton's version of the Lewis Carroll tale of Alice in Wonderland will be like no other version, The filming was completed in December, but the movie will not be released until March of 2010. "...the live action is being merged with CG animation and motion-capture creatures, and then transferred into 3-D." says producer Richard Zanuck. " Alice...has now been Burton-zed"

Judging from the photos which have recently been released, Burton is at his best presenting us with fantastic and visually surreal images throughout the entire film.

Starring in the film along with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter is Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen; think "off with her head!" Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and Australian actress Mia Wasikowski as Alice.

photos on set of Alice...film

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    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I haven't seen it either. And I though I would, the minute it came out. My how time gets away from one. :=) Thanks for the comment, J.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      9 years ago from USA

      Hi alekhouse, thanks for this hub. It is great. I can't believe I haven't seen this one yet. It was definitely on my list of movies to see and you just reminded me.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      That crush you mentioned. I have one too. I haven't seen the movie yet. But will when I get a chance.

    • rosecobra profile image

      rosecobra 

      9 years ago

      I saw the movie and you're spot on. Besides I have a huge crush on Johnny Depp. Great article, thank you!

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I know what you mean about Johnny Depp. He is so talented and versatile. Thanks for the comments.

    • Katelyn Weel profile image

      Katelyn Weel 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great article, thanks for putting the previews on your hub, too! Can't wait for the movie.. Johnny Depp never ceases to amaze as an actor

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Jeffrey,

      Thanks for the comments. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile image

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      Thanks for this hub. I hadn't yet heard about this movie coming, and I'm really excited about another Johnny Depp/ Tim Burton project. Alice has always been one of my favorites...even wrote a paper on Lewis Carroll as to how nonsense was Charles Dodgson's escape from reality. Even how real people in his life, including himself, are loosely represented in the story.

      From one of Charles Dodgson's letters:

      "I'm very much afraid I didn't mean anything but nonsense. Still, you know, words mean more than we mean to express when we use them; so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means. So, whatever good meanings are in the book, I'm glad to accept as the meaning of the book."

      The movie looks to be fantastic.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yeah, I'm dying to see this movie too. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton together is a "can't miss it" event. It should be a real psychodelic experience, especially if you throw Lewis Carroll into the mix.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well, I for one, can't wait. I love Alice and Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, this movie is one of the rare films that I will actually pay full price for. Edward Scissorhands was one of my absolute favorite movies.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, BC. Glad you enjoyed the hub. I'm dying to see this movie. I know it'll be a real visual "trip".

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I totally agree with what you said about the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp combination. They have done some really interesting things together. I'm looking forward to this one. Thanks for the nice comment.

    • Kent Merritt profile image

      Kent Merritt 

      9 years ago from Tulsa, OK

      Great and very informative hub! I'm really looking forward to this film. You can't go wrong with a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration!

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yeah, I definitely know what you mean!

    • traceye profile image

      traceye 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Well Johnny's a given, I mean the actual Madhatter .. LOL

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @Traceye: Do you mean the Madhatter or Johnny Depp?

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Life's a stage: Yeah, I'm with you. It's going to be visual intake heaven!!

    • traceye profile image

      traceye 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Hmm is it possible to have a crush on the Mad Hatter?

    • Life's A Stage profile image

      Life's A Stage 

      9 years ago from Center Stage

      oh i cant wait. Im a huge tim burton fan

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      And thank you for giving me a read.

    • TKIMWRSVC profile image

      TKIMWRSVC 

      9 years ago from United States

      I am so excited for this, thanks for the hub

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for the comment, Chris

    • Chris1|Chris2 profile image

      Chris1|Chris2 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      This movie is gonna be AWESOME! I can't wait!

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yes, he sure loves to get dressed up. This movie is right up his alley. I think the it will be a virtual smorgesbord (spelling??) of visual stimuli :) Thanks for stopping by.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      When I heard about this I just knew that Johnny Depp would be the Mad Hatter :) Excellent hub, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      YOU ARE VERY WELCOME. AND THANK YOU FOR THE COMMENT.

    • cynthiaalise profile image

      cynthiaalise 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      OMG!!!!! Can not wait...thank you for telling me all this.

    • profile image

      NHinchliff 

      9 years ago

      Well, in that case, I agree.

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 

      9 years ago from colorado springs

      Yeah with the make-up on.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @Teresa: Yes, the book is quite distubing. I imagine the movie will be also. Although the producer said it's appropriate for kids, but we'll have to wait and see the ratings. Love Tenniel's original etchings too. I like anything done in black and white, photography too.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @CA: I'm also dying to see it. I'm blown away with how creative Burton is visually. Can't see the Elija Wood comparison though, unless you mean with the makeup on.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @Maggs, you know you're right. But one of the producers, Richard Zanuck, remarked that it would be appropriate for kids. I don't know what the ratings will be. I'm going to check around the web and see if I can find out.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 

      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      One of my favorite books, Alice in Wonderland is quite disturbing. Tim Burton seems to be the perfect choice to direct. I love Tenneill's original illustrations, which are very un-Disney-esque.

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 

      9 years ago from colorado springs

      I can't wait for this movie. I've seen every movie by Burton and the only one I really didn't like was Willy Wonka. Don't you think that the picture of Johnny Depp looks like Elija Wood?

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      It looks like it is going to be a real scary movie the mad hatter and the red queen are not the types I woud like to bump into on a dark night.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      It's probably going to be weird. But sometimes weird is interesting. And for creative people, I feel that it's good to stretch mentally and artistically with an ocassional visual feast like Burton indulges in.

    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 

      9 years ago from The Laundry Room

      I think Alice in Wonderland lends itself to Tim Burton's style! I didn't think I'd like a Nightmare Before Christmas but I did, so I'll give him a chance on this one.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I think you're absolutely right, except that a lot of it will be animated. That's really what Burton is a master at, having graduated with a degree in graphic art and animation but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Thanks so much for the comment.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Alice in Wonderland is the kind of story that does seem just right for Tim Burton's style; but - I don't know - I'm kind of partial to the animated version. :) (Anne Hathaway does make a fine White Queen, though, does't she...)

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