Burton's 'Wonderland' Once Again has Depp

Set for release in 2010, Tim Burton's long-anticipated re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland is piecing together -- well, as to be expected. Currently, two of his spots have been filled: one is that of Alice, played by virtually unknown actress Mia Wasikowska. The other, and I bet the last reaction on everyone's mind when they heard this news was "surprise", is that of the Mad Hatter being played by none other than Corpse Bride / Sweeney Todd / Edward Scissorhands veteran Johnny Depp. It's expected, sure, and romored to bits and pieces on the net, but it's also exciting news nonetheless. With the two key positions filled, the rest of the line-up should be following suit shortly.

But, in my own little head, who would be the ideal matches for several of the larger roles in Burton's bizarre-o Alice in Wonderland gothic reconstruction? The cast list was, actually, surprisingly simple to nail down:

Queen of Hearts -- Rachel Weisz: In Disney's Wonderland, the queen is an unsightly corpulent woman with a face that turns tomato in color at the drop of the hat. Now, trying to imagine a infuriating woman to fully "embody" that exact image of the queen wasn't dead-on; however, Rachel Weisz kept popping in my head. With the right wardrobe and make-up, she could be portrayed as quite the dark and sinister queen. Plus, it'd be an interesting take on the evil character -- alluring and edgy but with that same darkness and snappishly verbal demeanor.

King of Hearts -- Toby Jones: Pairing this supporting actor from The Mist and Infamous as the silly, snooty little king to Weisz' queen was easy. His build and facial structure easily mirror that of the original character, plus Jones' highly eloquent and well-versed personality could do wonders for the little character. He's become a favorite character actor of mine after working with John Curran on The Painted Veil. He really shows his capacity with working amid a radiant female personality (Naomi Watts) in that fantastic film , as well as showing off his dynamic ability to portray several unique facets of a single personality.

White Rabbit -- Steve Buschemi: Wily and loopy, the white rabbit has to have some bizarre gravitas to draw viewer attention. If that's not the definition of Steve Buschemi, then I'm not sure what else might be -- aside from "master character actor". Thinking about a tone he could concoct that brings together his discomforting charm from Ghost World and his brash lunacy frmo Fargo soudns like a unique mix for the crazy rabbit. Also, if they were to create a live-action rabbit for this Alice in Wonderland, he'd also look the part with minimal prosthetic ehnancements.

Cheshire Cat -- Elijah Wood: There's something about Wood's speech tone that really nailed down a unique, yet similar, vocal patten to that of the Cheshire Cat. It's high (er) pitched, scratchy, and engaging to the ear. Plus, once again, if they were going to consider facial likeness in their decision, his eyes and (rarely seen) wide grin kind of have cat-like properties.

As a guy who finds little to enjoy from Disney's Alice in Wonderland -- though who likes the characters and some of the ideas at play -- Burton's vision of the story should border on pitch-perfect differentiation. Sure I'm making early assumptions, but the direction ole' Tim will take it should be even more bizarre and puzzling than the '50s Disney film. As a fan of just about everything he puts his hands on, I'm anxious to see how the final amalgamation of computer-generated effects and live-action strangeness will come across to audiences. If the reception is anything akin to Sweeney Todd, then we might have another minor masterwork on our hands. Current News


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