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ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Filmmakers Assemble Provocative Cast
When it came to casting the role of Alice, filmmakers sought fresh talent. "We saw an enormous amount of actors from all over the world,” recalls producer Richard Zanuck. "Everybody wanted to play this part.”

"Everyone has an idea of Alice and it was important to take away the baggage and make her as real a teenager as possible, but also keep some of the original aspects of her character. It's exciting to bring those characters and stories to another generation.” - Mia Wasikowska, Alice

"I just liked her quality,” says director Tim Burton of Mia Wasikowska, who was ultimately chosen for the role. "I always like it when I sense people have that old-soul quality to them. Because you're witnessing this whole thing through her eyes, it needed somebody who can subtly portray that.”

"It's not a silly Alice. It's not a frivolous Alice. It's not a fly-bynight Alice,” says producer Suzanne Todd. "There's a real weight to the character.”

Playing such an iconic role as Alice was a dream come true for the 19-year-old Australian-born actress, although she considered the role a challenge. "There's a lot of pressure in a way,” she says. "Everyone thinks they know who she is, and you can't please everyone. So the hardest thing is making her your own, and making yourself comfortable with her and confident in the decisions you make.”

"Mia's incredible,” says Depp. "She's like this wonderful little being from another planet. For me, it was great working with Mia who is beautiful, wonderful, sweet—the perfect Alice.”

"ALICE IN WONDERLAND” marks the seventh collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp since they first worked together on "Edward Scissorhands.”

"It's amazing,” says Depp, "having worked with Tim coming up on 20 years, I've had the opportunity to see him grow. He's so unique and so special and such a brilliant filmmaker. Anything Tim wants me to do is a real honor.”

"The combination of being able to play the Mad Hatter and take what Lewis Carroll has done and what Tim's vision is, and then throw your own stuff in there…it's a dream come true.” - Johnny Depp, The Mad Hatter

The Hatter offered Depp the opportunity to create yet another unique character. "It was a real challenge to find something different, to define the Mad Hatter in terms of cinema,” he says. "One of the things Tim and I talked about early on, is the idea that he would be so pure, in the sense that you see, instantly, what he's feeling—so much so that his clothes, his skin, his hair, everything, reflects his emotion. So when he's beaming, you get this kind of bright effect and everything comes to life, like a flower blooming, very, very quickly. He's like a mood ring. His emotions are very close to the surface.”

"He has an ability for transformation that is fabulous,” says producer Richard Zanuck of Depp. "There's no one who can do these crazy, offbeat, eccentric characters like Johnny can. He has a way of being funny and crazy, yet poignant. He's one of the world's great actors; he takes bigger chances than any other male star.”

As the actor developed the character, Depp discovered that the hatters of the period often suffered from mercury poisoning. "The term ‘mad as a hatter' actually came from real hatters when they were making these sort of beautiful beaver-pelt top hats,” he says. "The glue they used had very high mercury content. It would stain their hands; they'd go goofy from the mercury and go nuts.”

Depp felt his character's entire body, not just his mind, would be affected by the mercury poisoning, and painted a watercolor of the Hatter with orange hair, a clown-like face, and green eyes of different size. "I just knew what he looked like for some reason,” he says of the Hatter's final look. "When I went into the makeup trailer the

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