Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 by Brendon Connelly
Disney have declared that we are in a season of Wonderland Wednesdays, an era of mid-week updates on the upcoming Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. Each week the studio releasing a new video, some new text copy and a nice, tidy little pile of art work. Wrangling it all into a single post would be quite tricky – not to mention fairly time consuming – but I certainly want to share what I consider to be the best bits.
After the break are the official Disney-issued character descriptions for five of the characters, alongside images of said characters. And then, there’s some more pictures too, including a close-up of the caterpillar that I found quite astonishing.
IRACEBETH, THE RED QUEEN (Helena Bonham Carter) is the tyrannical monarch of Underland. With her oversized head, fiery temper and propensity to scream for people’s heads to be chopped off, she rules her subjects through fear. “She’s got emotional problems,” says Bonham Carter. “It takes nothing, practically, for her to lose her temper. Her tantrums are that of a two-year-old.” Her younger sibling, the White Queen, has designs on the throne and crown that Iracebeth once stole from her.
ILOSOVIC STAYNE, THE KNAVE OF HEARTS (Crispin Glover) is the head of the Red Queen’s Army. Seven feet, six-inches tall, with a scarred face and a heart-shaped patch covering his left eye, Stayne is an arrogant, tricky character who follows the Red Queen’s every order. He’s the only one capable of pacifying her and calming her dramatic mood swings. “I am the martial element for the Red Queen,” says Glover. “The Red Queen has a fair amount of short-tempered reactions to things that people do, and so my character has to be quite diplomatic.” His darker side emerges in the shadows of the castle hallways.
NIVENS MCTWISP, THE WHITE RABBIT (voice of Michael Sheen) is always late, always in a hurry, always rushing about. Charged with finding Alice and bringing her back to Underland so that she can fulfill her destiny, he shows up at her garden party in an effort to lure her back down the rabbit hole. “He’s a warm character,” says Sheen, “but, at the same time, he can be quite fussy and quite strict with Alice as well. He has an edge to him, a nervous energy, always feeling like he’s behind time. Time is very important to him, but he’s quite brave when called upon.”
MALLYMKUN, THE DORMOUSE (voice of Barbara Windsor) is a swashbuckling mouse in Underland who wears riding breeches. She refuses to believe that the White Rabbit has found the right Alice, the one who can help return Underland to its true splendor, and is only too happy to poke poor Alice in the ankle with a hat pin when Alice insists she’s only dreaming. But the tough little mouse comes through in a pinch when Alice is threatened by a clawing creature called a Bandersnatch. Her loyalty to the Hatter is unmatched, and she willingly faces the prospect of death to stand by him.
ABSOLEM, THE CATERPILLAR (voice of Alan Rickman) is the all-knowing and absolute guardian of the Oraculum, an ancient document that depicts every major event, past, present and future, in Underland’s history. Alice is taken by the White Rabbit and the Tweedles to meet Absolem, so that he can ascertain whether she is, in fact, the real Alice who first visited Underland as a child, the Alice who is destined to help them. They find the bulbous blue caterpillar atop a mushroom in a mushroom forest surrounded by misty smoke. Several times Absolem challenges Alice to come to a better understanding of herself, forcing her to face the difficult question: “Who are you?”
And that’s the Cheshire Cat and the White Queen, Mirana of Marmoreal. All those funny names. For a glossary of terms and odd words used in the screenplay, I refer you to my report from last May.
The best compilation of Alice art, containing all of the above and a little more besides, seems to be over at Animatie. They have them in some incredibly hardcore resolutions too, if you’d like to sink your hard drive.
Oh, and by the way, I corrected the name of the White Rabbit because the press release had a typo so don’t be alarmed if you see him referred to elsewhere as a seemingly random assortment of letters – the movie is full of complete and utter loony-loops, but it isn’t actually insane.