Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"9" Teaser Trailer Released

The teaser trailer for the upcoming computer-animated film 9 (based on the Academy Award-nominated short of the same name) has been released (view it in HD on Apple's website).

Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambatov (Nightwatch, Wanted) are producing the film, which will be directed by Shane Acker (who directed the original 2005 short).

The official plot synopsis included Elijah Wood as the character 9, Jennifer Connelly as the warrior 7, Martin Landau (who was in Burton's Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow) playing the role of the aged inventor 2, Crispin Glover playing the visionary artist 6 (who will be in Burton's Alice in Wonderland), Christopher Plummer as war veteran 1, and John C. Reilly as 5, the mechanic.

Danny Elfman will also be composing music for the film, according to the official synopsis on Apple's trailer website. Pamela Pettler (co-writer of Corpse Bride) co-wrote the screenplay.

The epic science-fiction action-adventure was originally intended to be released at the end of this year. Instead, Focus Features has pushed it back to September 9th, 2009 (9-9-09, get it?).

You can also watch a (slightly) lower quality version of the HD teaser trailer on YouTube:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Alice" to Feature Stop-Motion Animation

For those of you that were hoping that Tim Burton would use old-fashioned technology in his films, we have good news: Alan Rickman confirmed in an interview on MoviesOnline that Alice in Wonderland will feature stop-motion animation, along with live-action and computer-generated elements.

You can read the full interview here. Here's an excerpt:

MoviesOnline: What are you playing in Alice in Wonderland?

ALAN RICKMAN: The caterpillar.

MoviesOnline: A caterpillar? How do you get into something like that?

ALAN RICKMAN: Well, fortunately it’s animated.

MoviesOnline: Oh, okay.

ALAN RICKMAN: But it’s my face on an animated caterpillar. So, it’s a mixture. The movie is a mixture of live action, animation, and stop motion, so it’s very complicated and I don’t think all three have been put together ever before.

MoviesOnline: Oh, I don’t think so. No.

ALAN RICKMAN: So I’ll be with a live action Alice. I will be a construct.

MoviesOnline: Who is the Alice that you’re playing opposite?

ALAN RICKMAN: Mia [Wasikowska] is her name. I don’t know her surname. I met her yesterday because they’re shooting right here. If you make yourself into the invisible person, you can go in and have a look. She’s a young 19-year-old, apparently absolutely brilliant and certainly delightful person.

Monday, December 08, 2008

From Roger Rabbit to the March Hare

Ken Ralston, the visual effects supervisor on Alice in Wonderland, mentioned some technical aspects of the fantastical movie, during an interview commermorating the 20th anniversary of the multi-effects blockbuster, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

BD: You're currently working on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which is a very ambitious hybrid of live action and CG. Are there some interesting parallels with Roger Rabbit?

Ken Ralston: Yes, Alice reminds me in a vague way of Roger. There's the March Hare: we have a two-scale rubber version of him for actor reference, not lighting reference because there are so many virtual environments. And we had to build Toonland from scratch, which is like Underland or Wonderland. Roger changed animation.

At the end of the interview, Ralston said how his experience with Roger prepared him for the daunting tasks demanded by such films as Alice.

BD: How has your Roger experience helped you on Alice?

KR: I couldn't have been on Alice without Roger. To be a part of Roger and how it touched people is cool. These tools are great, but, as I keep saying, it's how you use them. I can at least try to pre-empt issues that come up. It's a fast shoot, and I anticipate problems so they don't blow up in your face. The variables are endless -- technical and aesthetic.

Hathaway Talks About "Alice"

Anne Hathaway recently spoke about her contribution to Alice in Wonderland. Hathaway, who will be playing the role of the White Queen, stated that she will be wearing a practical costume, without computer-generated manipulation.

"I am actually an actor not affected by CGI in it," she said on December 5th. "I believe I'm one of the very few."

While character design is being kept hidden by the studio, Hathaway hinted at what she resembles. "If I was a bunny holding a knife, that's what my character would look like," she said. "I'm sorry, that's my impression."

Hathaway also spoke highly of director Tim Burton. "I don't know what it says about me but he always made absolute sense to me. I also think because I'm such a fan of Tim Burton's, I know his aesthetic so well, I kind of just have an idea for from years of being a fan about what he might want."

Hathaway compared Burton's style with other noteworthy collaborators. "I love working with directors," she said. "I think the director is the go-to person. It should be their vision that makes it up on screen, and so I love showing up and putting myself in someone else's hands. Jonathan [Demme] and I spoke in a shorthand as well, and I've worked with other directors before. Ang [Lee] gave me two directions on Brokeback [Mountain], which was 'she's a predator' and 'more subtle.' Obviously, I'm exaggerating. There was more than that, but I had worked with directors before who say meaningful things but don't say much. So there was just kind of a continuation of that."

Alice in Wonderland is scheduled to be released on March 5th, 2010.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Rickman Talks "Alice"

Alan Rickman recently talked about his contribution to the upcoming Alice in Wonderland. Rickman also discusses his work in the new "Harry Potter" movies, which can be read in the full article here:

Alan Rickman, who plays Caterpillar in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, told a group of reporters that he has recorded his voice role and awaits the completed animation. The caterpillar will have the face of Rickman to go along with his voice.

"I don't know what it looks like," Rickman said in a group interview on Dec. 2 in Culver City, Calif., where he was promoting the film Nobel Son. "I've only done the first stage of it, which is them recording me saying these lines, quite badly. Then somewhere down the line, they'll have animated it, and I'll redo it. I'm a voice, but I have been filmed, because it's my face which will be on the end of something that will be the caterpillar."

While Caterpillar is an animated character, some actors are performing motion capture and others will appear in live action. The lines blur as even some live actors will have CGI additions. Rickman observed some of his costars when he was on stage.

"I saw Helena [Bonham Carter] and Crispin Glover yesterday," Rickman said. "They're a mixture of the two, actually, because there's Helena in a costume and in makeup, but her head is going to be made three times bigger than it actually is on top of the costume. I think they're all just blinded by the color green. It must be quite something to be surrounded by that much violent green all day long, but the costumes, one or two I saw, are incredible. I'm sure it'll be visual genius again."

Zanuck on "Ripley's"

Richard D. Zanuck recently spoke with and finally explained the history of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not debacle:

IESB: You were supposed to be doing Ripley's Believe it or Not with Jim [Carrey] and Tim [Burton]... that it kind of fell apart on the Tim side?

Zanuck: It fell apart on the studio side, we were ready to go and very close actually, 8 or 9 weeks away from starting and it was the studio that made that decision and it actually caught us off guard, all three of us - myself, Jim and Tim - we were rocked, we spent weeks in China selecting locations with art directors, getting permissions which is very, very tough in China to shoot. And so it was a studio decision.

IESB: Do you think it will move forward? You are still attached?

Zanuck: I'm not, no, we are no longer attached. I don't know how it was resolved with Jim whether he would be attached but definitely not Tim or myself.

So it appears that Tim Burton is no longer a producer on the film, either, if he ever was.

Sheen on "Wonderland"

Michael Sheen was recently interviewed Mr. Beaks on Ain't It Cool News. At the end of the talk, the actor discussed his working on Alice in Wonderland -- and stated that he will not be playing the role of the Chesire Cat, contrary to other reports. You can read the full interview here.

Beaks: Well, you're going to be a part of one of the most richly imagined fantasy worlds of all time in Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND. As The Cheshire Cat--

Sheen: I'm not The Cheshire Cat.

Beaks: Oh. Damn IMDb. Who are you?

Sheen: I can't say. But it's not The Cheshire Cat.

Beaks: Okay.

Sheen: IMDb needs to get its facts straight. It's funny. People have come along and said, "Oh, you're playing this" And I'm like, "Really? Who's told you? The studio hasn't said."

Beaks: Well, I won't go fishing.

Sheen: Go fishing. I just won't say. The studio releases these things. It's not up to me to say. But I am in the film. And it's great to be in a film that my daughter can watch.

Beaks: Is it a traditional take?

Sheen: No, it's not traditional. I've always loved those classic children's stories like PETER PAN and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. There's a darkness at the heart that I guess you can trace back to Grimms' Fairy Tales. They're for children, but there's a harsh reality about life that seems unfit for children, and yet it's incredibly compelling. They get at something that is much harder to get at, something essential about our experience. I get very excited about those things. So to be in a classic like ALICE IN WONDERLAND... even though it's not a straight-ahead retelling, I find that really exciting.

Beaks: Actors are so good at engaging that childlike sense of play. Is there something about those works that brings out the child more easily?

Sheen: Not really. Like I said, my process is always the same. I have to find a way to be totally engaged in everything I'm doing - and that's physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And it's only through having a childlike sense of play that you can do work - even if you're doing the most tragic of stories. I just did a film [UNTHINKABLE] in which I was tortured every day for three weeks. You have to find a sense of play in that so that it comes alive. Even if you're doing the most awful things, there has to be a joy in it. It's that sort of child aspect of yourself. Hell, I see it in my daughter. She's with her friends, they're playing, and she says, "I'm the woman who works in the village selling bread, you're that, and let's go!" It's this childlike sense of engagement where you just believe what you're doing and you don't censor yourself. That's essential for an actor. When you start thinking of acting as being "grown-up", no one will want to watch you. And anyone who does ought to be shot.

So who will Sheen be playing? Well, now some are saying that he has provided his voice to the role of the White Rabbit... But it may be safe to wait and see what the studio says...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Zanuck Talks "Alice," "Dark Shadows"

Producer Richard D. Zanuck has recently talked about Tim Burton's current film, Alice in Wonderland, as well as a possible future project for the director: a big-screen adaptation of the TV series Dark Shadows.

In one interview, Zanuck discussed Burton's decision to shoot Alice in 2D and eventually convert it to 3D in post-production. Director James Cameron, who is also involved with the new 3D movement in cinema, criticized this decision, saying "It doesn't make sense to shoot in 2-D and convert to 3D."

Zanuck: I'm making a very interesting film now, called Alice in Wonderland with Tim Burton. And we're shooting it in Culver City, and we're almost through with our part of it, which is shooting the live actors but they'll be animated. It's the first picture that will combine motion capture, with live actors and animation, all in the same frame. It'll be quite amazing.

What can you say about Tim Burton's vision for that?

Zanuck: It's everything you could imagine. You put Tim Burton in a world where his vision can run wild and you'll get the result that we're getting. I mean, when she goes into the rabbit hole. It's a dream actually. Her dream. And if it's anything that comes from her mind, and we're very faithful to the Lewis Carrol book. But it's Tim Burton being able to really crank up his wild imagination. In kind of a dark way too, as the original material was dark and scary.

James Cameron said that he didn't understand why you would shoot it in 2-D and convert to 3-D. Why not shoot it in 3-D?

The 3-D cameras are very clumsy quite frankly, compared to 2-D cameras. And it would have cost a lot more, we would have had more crew involved. I didn't see what Cameron said but, I was convinced, and so is Tim, seeing test after test of pictures that have been released in 3-D, shot in 2-D and you can't tell the difference. I would defy Jim Cameron to see the tests I saw and point out which was 2-D and which was 3-D.

In a second article, Zanuck talked about an upcoming project of his: Dark Shadows, which may be another Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration.

In a brief video interview (click this link to view it), Zanuck states that filming may begin as soon as next summer in London. He also discusses Depp's obsession with the soap opera when he was a schoolboy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Batman" on Blu-Ray

DVD Review has reported that Warner Bros. is planning on releasing Batman on a two-disc Blu-Ray set for its twentieth anniversary next year. No artwork is ready yet, but the release date is tentatively scheduled for March 31st, 2009.

The article stated that the release will come as two-disc Digibook version, containing a BD-25 for the movie and the second disc for the bonus materials. No other information, such as which extras will be featured, have been announced yet.

Depp as Mad Hatter!

A truly mad looking Johnny Depp cuddles a rabbit in this leaked image from Alice in Wonderland.

He's definitely got that silent movie actor-type look going on.

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Ed Wood" at the Aero Tonight

Martin Landau
(Getty Images)

American Cinematheque will be showing Ed Wood at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California tonight.

Martin Landau, who earned an Oscar for his performance as Bela Lugosi in the film, and screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski will be at the screening.

Wednesday, November 5, 7:30PM
Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hathaway Eager for "Alice"

A brief video clip from an interview with Anne Hathaway is online. Hathaway, who will be playing the White Queen, seems eager to begin filming with Tim Burton in Alice in Wonderland.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lee, Rickman Enter "Wonderland" Set

Christopher Lee has been officially signed on to be in Alice in Wonderland. However, we do not know which role he will play yet.

But we do know who will play the hookah-smoking Caterpillar: Alan Rickman. The British actor worked with Tim Burton in Sweeney Todd, and now seems to have joined the Burton corral of regulars.

Filming has also begun in Culver City, California. Zack Roth (son of Joe Roth, who is producing the film) spoke of the soundstage: "The set itself was insane - the whole soundstage was draped in green-screen material, and there were dozens of motion capture cameras hanging overhead - it seemed like half the crew was there just to figure out how to make all the technologies work together."

Roth also mentioned screenwriter Linda Woolverton's adaptation of the original book and Johnny Depp's appearance:

"Luckily Johnny Depp was working that day, and I got to see him in character. He looked startlingly crazy - Burton’s take on the Mad Hatter was pretty wild. Linda Woolverton adapted the screenplay and I am told added some socio-political context to the film’s narrative."

Roth also reported that Michael Sheen will be playing the grinning Chesire Cat.

"Sweeney Todd" on Blu-ray

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is now available on Blu-ray in North America.

You can check it out on

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Glover in "Wonderland"

Crispin Glover has signed on for Alice in Wonderland. He will be playing the role of the Knave of Hearts.

This is the first time Tim Burton and Crispin Glover have collaborated (though Glover did a parody of Johnny Depp's performance as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the spoof flick Epic Movie).

Glover is no stranger to the performance capture technology which will be used in the film. The actor previously worked in the medium in Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf in 2007.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scream 2008 Recap

Spike TV's third annual Scream Awards took place this past Saturday in Los Angeles and were broadcast on TV on Tuesday.

At the 2008 event, Tim Burton was honored with the Scream Immortal Award, for his "unique interpretation of horror and fantasy."

Burton made a grand appearance to receive his award, complete with appropriate theme music. See a video of his entrance here.

Surprisingly, Winona Ryder, who played key roles in both Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, presented the filmmaker with his award.

Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was also honored. The film won two awards: Best Horror Movie and Best Actor in a Horror Movie or TV Show, thanks to Johnny Depp's hypnotic performance as the murderous barber.

Winona Ryder gives the Scream Immortal award to Tim Burton

All photos (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Elfman To Do "Wonderland"

Danny Elfman confirmed in Hollywood on October 17th that he will be working on Alice in Wonderland.

No official word on him composing the score for Frankenweenie yet, though.

Video courtesy of dlfreak (here's the original page).

Johnny Depp Eats His Hat

Tim Burton talks about his working with Johnny Depp, including their forthcoming collaboration in Alice in Wonderland:

"Nobody plays oddballs better than Johnny and he's loving playing this one.

"He doesn't like to be the same way twice. That's good. It always keeps it fresh and all. He likes the material we have here and he gets it.

"It's nice to have people involved that are fans of the material.

"He actually ate his hat the other day. No word of a lie. He just bit into the brim and chewed."

Depp will, appropriately, be playing the Mad Hatter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christopher Lee in "Alice in Wonderland"?

Film legend Christopher Lee is just one of many actors who are getting talked about at least a little bit among circles of fans regarding Tim Burton's forthcoming Alice in Wonderland. But a reliable source is hinting that Lee will indeed be in the film.

On the forum of the official website of Christopher Lee, the administrator (Lee's son-in-law), said this:

Mr. Lee will be in this movie but confidentiality agreements prevent me from disclosing his character. I guess we will have to all wait for an official announcement from Disney but I think you all know what the character will be anyway.

Lee has worked with Tim Burton three times before, originally on Sleepy Hollow in 1999, and then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride in 2005.

He narrated the original poem of The Nightmare Before Christmas written by Burton on the recent DVD release of the film.

Lee was also set to be in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, until his sequence and thus his character was cut while planning in pre-production due to time constraints.

Fans of this deep-voiced thespian will likely rejoice if word of Lee's participation in Alice is true. Until then, we'll have to wait for Disney's official statement.

Tim Burton on "Alice in Wonderland," "Dark Shadows," and More!

Tim Burton took some time from shooting Alice in Wonderland to chat on the phone with Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times. In the detailed and lengthy interview, Burton talks about Alice in Wonderland, the possibility of making a cinematic version of Dark Shadows, Johnny Depp, the latest addition to the "Batman" series, The Dark Knight, his upcoming Spike TV award, and much more.

Here is much of the interview (you can read the full article in its original context here):

I got Tim Burton on the phone the other day while he was on the set of Alice in Wonderland and I had to admit right off the bat that I was surprised that, with the filming just underway, he was taking the time to chat. "Yeah, well, me too," he said in his droll deadpan, and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or apologize and hang up. Then he let me off the hook. "Actually," he said in a sunnier voice, "we're just about to get going so we'll see how things go. Good, I hope."

John_tenniel_alice_in_wonderland I'm guessing things will go quite well for the 50-year-old filmmaker, who seems like the ideal auteur to bring Lewis Carroll's surreal 1865 classic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to the screen for a 21st century audience.

Young Aussie Mia Wasikowska will be Burton's Alice, while Johnny Depp is the inspired choice to play the Mad Hatter.

I told Burton that it seems as if Depp (who has other upcoming roles as an Old West hero, a pirate and a vampire) approaches his acting choices the same way a gleeful kid rummages through a trunk of dress-up clothes. The filmmaker let out a loud laugh. "It's true. Yeah we have a big dress-up clothes trunk here. We take it with us wherever we go."

Batman_with_michael_keatonMore on a Depp and "Alice" in a moment, but first: This Saturday night Burton will be at the Scream 2008 Awards at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, an event that in just its third year has become a signature event in sci-fi, comics, fantasy and, yes, horror, which was is its original mandate but is now just part of its genre cocktail. Burton is getting something called the Immortal Award and the Scream people boldly say that Burton has "contributed more to the genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror than any other filmmaker of his generation," and there's certainly an argument to made that they are completely right. Burton's film visuals -- a sort of cemetery cabaret ethos -- have put him on an short list (Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Woody Allen spring to mind) of filmmakers who have such distinctive on-screen traits that they become evocative brand names to even casual filmgoers.

Burton will be making quite the dramatic entrance on Saturday (which you can see yourself when the show airs on Spike TV on Oct. 21) but he has a reputation as a fairly shy fellow. I asked him if he was looking forward to the trophy night or dreading it.

"I haven't been to the event but I've seen a bit on TV and it looks quite fun, you know, which in itself is different from most of these kind of shows. It looks like a nice big Halloween party, which is always good. It seems like all the type of people that nobody liked in school all getting together for a nice big party. A prom for the kids that didn't go to prom."

Tim_burton_2006 I told Burton that, for the night, the venue should change its sign to read 'The Geek Theatre' and he laughed again. "That's very good! I like that. I can't use, that, I can't take credit for that." He said he had a better way to sum up the geek and Goth crowd that will attend: "We're all the people on the yearbook pages devoted to "the most likely to disappear before the semester ends and no one will notice..."

Burton was making "Batman" films when the cape genre was still viewed as a campy ghetto by serious Hollywood creators, so it must be interesting for him to watch the fringe entertainment move so squarely to the center of mainstream film and to finally do so with respectable reviews. "It is a different time now, yes. It's strange to me. At the time back in school when everybody tortured you, it didn't seem quite the same. It wasn't fashionable then. It didn't seem viable and vibrant and accepted at the time. But sometimes those things take a while."

With "Alice in Wonderland," the defining pop-culture version of the story for modern American audiences is the 1954 Disney animated adaptation with its little blond Alice in her blue dress with white pinafore. That film was met with acidic reviews by the literary world (especially in England) for its bland and blunted vision of the Carroll classic. Burton is not a fan of the film, either, and, as with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," it appears his mission is to reclaim a children's classic, resharpen its edges and remind everyone that sapping the weirdness out of a tale often renders it flat and forgettable.

Tim_burton_at_wax_museum"It's a funny project. The story is obviously a classic with iconic images and ideas and thoughts. But with all the movie versions, well, I've just never seen one that really had any impact to me. It's always just a series of weird events. Every character is strange and she's just kind of wandering through all of the encounters as just a sort of observer. The goal is to try to make it an engaging movie where you get some of the psychology and kind of bring a freshness but also keep the classic nature of 'Alice.' And, you know, getting to do it in 3-D fits the material quite well. So I'm excited about making it a new version but also have the elements that people expect when they think of the material."

I told Burton he's right, the Disney movie is a meandering tour of a funhouse without any gripping story arc. "Yeah, I know, it's just, 'Oh, this character's weird' and 'Oh, that character's weird.' I can't really recall a version where I felt really engaged by it. So that's the goal, just to try to give it a gravity that most film versions haven't had."

How easy was it to persuade Depp to conjure up yet another enigmatic oddball? "He loves doing that. That's never a problem. He doesn't like to be the same way twice. That's good, it always keeps it fresh and all. And he likes the material we have here and he gets it. It's nice to have people involved that are fans of the material and all."

Is there a plan yet on Dark Shadows, based on the vampire soap opera, also set to star Depp? "Oh I don't know. Take one at time, you know? It's something I'm interested in of course. Definitely. But I'm going to start shooting this one first!"

Johnny_depp_and_tim_burton_on_todd_I asked Burton if it's more than a coincidence that over the past decade his live-action films have often revisited and reimagined existing works, be they literature (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), musicals (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), movies (Planet of the Apes) or television shows (Dark Shadows).

"Hmm. That's interesting. I don't know. I think we're all a product of our upbringing, you know, in a sense. I wasn't a very literary person. I loved movies. What you grow up with is what influences you. Whether you were a reader and there's a lot of books that you sort of want to translate to film or if it's other things that took in. I was definitely of a generation where the things I grew up watching still have impact on me. There's something about exercising that aspect of your personality or working with something that's meant a lot to you. It's just another way of processing ideas and all. So it's not really a conscious decision. I don't open up old 'TV Guides' and sit there and think, 'Hmmmm, 'Sanford & Son', that's the the movie I want to do. I watched that when I was a child...' "

Nightmare_before_christmasBurton said he is ramping up his bravery for the Saturday night event with its hot spotlight and crowd. "I don't do it very often so it's not something I'm very used to. I'm not comfortable in big public situations, but at the same time it's a very nice thing. It's a very nice thing to do. But while it is nice, it's not the thing you think about a lot. For me, it's the people that come up to you on the streets, the people that say something to you in person, something nice and thoughtful, that's so much more interesting than connecting with a sort of staged event. you know? The types of people you grew up with, the people that enjoy certain kinds of movies, there's a connection with people like that. I certainly feel that. I mean, when someone comes up to me on the street and they have one of my drawings as a tattoo on their body, a real tattoo... I mean, that's pretty amazing. That's happened to me a few times."

Then there was a question I had to ask: What did Burton think of The Dark Knight? After a bit of fumbling around for words, Burton said: "I haven't seen it yet. I'm just, you know, busy. I do want to see it. I've heard it's very good. And I'm sure it is very good. Mostly everybody that I know that has seen it has said that it's very good and I take their word for it."

I thought it would be good to change the subject. There was a recent anniversary DVD of Beetlejuice, so I asked Burton how he frames that film in his mind when he looks back on it as both a career and creative moment.

"With that movie, I just remember that back then it was the second film I did and I felt very strange making it because everyone was thinking, 'This movie really has no story and it doesn't move along like a Hollywood movie.' It just felt very funny and strange having the opportunity to make that. I just remember that feeling every day: 'Wow, they're letting me make this, which is really weird.' And it continues to this day, that dynamic. It's still weird."

Seemed like a good place to stop. I thanked for Burton for his time and mentioned that I'm hoping to visit the Alice set soon. "That's great, I'll see you out here! I'll be on the green screen. Just look for a load of green. Take care."

-- Geoff Boucher


Johnny Depp and Tim Burton in a November 2007 photograph by Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times.

Illustration by John Tenniel from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Michael Keaton as Batman from the 1989 Tim Burton film, image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Tim Burton in 2006 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, photographed by Ricardo DeAratanha\Los Angeles Times.

Tim Burton in 2006 at the Hollwyood Wax museum, with a waxen Johnny Depp in the background, photographed by Ricardo DeAratanha\Los Angeles Times

Photo of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on the set of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" by Peter Mountain/Dreamworks-Warner Bros.

image from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" courtesy of Disney

Amy Lee Performs "Sally's Song"

In case you missed it a few days ago, Amy Lee was recently on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to promote the new tribute album "Nightmare Revisited." In this video clip, she performs "Sally's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas, composed, of course, by Danny Elfman.

Click here for the original YouTube page.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Pirates 4" Rumors Confirmed False

Rumors have been circulating on the Internet regarding the fourth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series recently, stating that Tim Burton would be directing Johnny Depp would be paid an immensely large sum, and that Sacha Baron Cohen (best known as "Borat," but who also played Pirelli in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) would play Captain Jack Sparrow's brother.

But in case you didn't respond to your gut or head, writer Terry Rossio has confirmed that this is all false.

Rossio posted the following message on a forum:

For the record, none of the recent Pirates 4 rumors have any truth, including the so-called record 50 million dollar payday for Depp.

Some pretty funny stuff, though. Sacha Cohen? Tim Burton? Studios are way too protective of their franchises for that sort of thing.

Rossio was also the screenwriter of the previous three Pirates movies.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bonham Carter and Hathaway in "Wonderland"

Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway will both be in Alice in Wonderland.

Bonham Carter will play the role of the belligerent Red Queen, and Hathaway will play the more placid and kindhearted of the royal sisters, the White Queen. The distinction of having both of these characters suggests that the film will indeed follow the original Lewis Carroll book instead of simply emulating previous cinematic adaptations.

This is the first time Anne Hathaway has collaborated with Tim Burton (though there was talk that she was considered for a role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as well).

Helena Bonham Carter has been in each of Burton's films since Planet of the Apes in 2001.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Burton To Be Honored at "Scream 2008"

Filmmakers Tim Burton and Wes Craven will be honored with awards for their contributions to the horror, fantasy, science-fiction, and comic book genres by Spike TV during "Scream 2008."

The third annual televised event will be broadcast on October 21st at 9/8c on Spike TV.

Fans can vote for this year's other awards at Click that link to participate for free!

Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has been nominated in the following categories:

Best Horror Movie
Best Actor in a Horror Movie or TV Show - Johnny Depp
Best Actress in a Horror Movie or TV Show - Helena Bonham Carter
Best Villain - Alan Rickman
Best Director - Tim Burton

Voting ends on Friday, October 17th.

Vote today, and stay tuned for the televised event!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Plenty More "Alice" Set Pics

If you want to see more photos of the set of Alice in Wonderland, click here.

Pictures courtesy of xPirate-Fanx, seen above with Tim Burton.

Michael Sheen in "Wonderland"

Variety has said that British actor Michael Sheen will be in Alice in Wonderland. No word on who he will play, though.

Sheen will also be in the Samuel L. Jackson thriller Unthinkable, and has a role in the forthcoming Ron Howard political drama Frost/Nixon. Sheen was previously in The Queen and The Deal, both of which had him playing former Prime Minister Tony Blair and both of which were directed by Stephen Frears.

"Nightmare Revisited" Now Available

The new Nightmare Before Christmas tribute album, "Nightmare Revisited," is now available.

You can check it out on

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Couple More Set Photos

A couple more Alice in Wonderland set photos are online: one of Mia Wasikowska, and a second of Billy Ray Burton, also in period garb.

"Alice in Wonderland" Set Photos!

INF Daily has posted some excellent set photos of the shoot in Cornwall, England.

Mia Wasikowska (playing Alice) and Tim Burton are prominent. Helena Bonham Carter is also on the set with baby Nell. Nell looks like she's in period costume, too... might she make a cameo appearance as an extra like first-born Billy Ray in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Click on the following images for larger versions!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

OFFICIAL: Depp in "Wonderland"

After months of speculation, it has been made official: Johnny Depp will play the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, has confirmed this on Wednesday.

In addition to Alice, Depp will also be in two other upcoming Disney films: he will return as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and as the Lone Ranger's sidekick, Tonto, in a new cinematic adaption of the western serial (Depp is part Cherokee in addition to his German and Irish ancestry).

It has also been declared that Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Ken Ralston (who won awards for Robert Zemeckis' films Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) is on set in London as the senior visual effects supervisor, working with Sony Pictures Imageworks on the animation. David Schaub is the animation supervisor and Sean Phillips and Carey Villegas are visual effects supervisors for Imageworks.

But after all of this talk about Alice in Wonderland, some of us are still wondering about Tim Burton's other film in his two-flick agreement with Walt Disney Studios: a feature-length, stop-motion animated version of Frankenweenie.

The fact is, no big recent news has come up, but it is still in the works (Burton confirmed this on the new DVD release of The Nightmare Before Christmas). Production will commence on the stop-motion adaptation as soon as shooting for Alice is completed (right now, pre-production is going underway). Both Frankenweenie and Alice in Wonderland will be released in theaters presented in Disney Digital 3-D (as will many of the studio's other future projects).

No word on whether Depp will provide his voice for Frankenweenie yet, though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jack Takes Back the Haunted Mansion

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride has completed its annual transformation into a Nightmare Before Christmas inspired theme.

Since 2001, the classic ride has undergone this festive makeover of the twisted medley of Halloween and Christmas. But each year, a few new treats (and tricks, of course) appear.

The official re-opening will take place on Friday, September 26th, 2008, with Halloween festivities taking place at the Anaheim theme park.

And Helena Bonham Carter?...

We all know that Johnny Depp is a frequent Tim Burton collaborator, and word of mouth indicates that he will be in Alice in Wonderland.

But what about Helena Bonham Carter, Burton's equally abundant actress and the mother of his two children? Perhaps it's a given, but some intriguing information has come up.

Jonathan Lynn, director of the forthcoming film Wild Target, stated that Helena Bonham Carter will not be in his next film, as the shooting schedule clashed with Alice in Wonderland.

So Bonham Carter will most likely be in Alice. Now the question is: Who will she play?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eleanor Tomlinson to be in "Alice"

Sixteen-year-old actress Eleanor Tomlinson has stated that she will play the role of the spiteful Fiona Chataway in Alice in Wonderland.

Tomlinson, a Beverly native, has recently appeared in the teen comedy Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

The young actress commented on how enjoyable it has been to work on the film:

"I think it's amazing. I can't get over it.

"Everyone has been so nice to me on set.

"It's a small part, but it's well worth it. It's brilliant."

She began filming her scenes last week in Plymouth, and will continue to do so for the next three weeks. After that, she's returning back to school.

The article also focused on Tomlinson talking about Johnny Depp, who is supposed to play the role of the Mad Hatter in the computer-generated realm of Wonderland.

"Unfortunately, Johnny Depp is filming the animation scenes in the US so I won't meet him on set.

"But, hopefully, I'll get the chance during the premier.

"I'll be thrilled when I meet him, but also probably a little star-struck.

"I just have to act normal. Everyone says he is a really lovely guy."

Matt Lucas, who will play the roles of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, very recently also said that Depp would be in Los Angeles for his scenes. So unless both he and Tomlinson are misled, Depp will most likely be in the film (although it's not clear whether all of Wonderland will be computer animated with the motion-capture technology or just certain elements or characters in it).

Matt Lucas Confirms Role

British comedic actor Matt Lucas has confirmed that he will be playing the roles of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in Alice in Wonderland, and he is "very excited."

"I go out in early October to Los Angeles to film," he said.

"I think a lot of the work is going to be green screen but I've seen some set designs and what the characters are going to look like and they look absolutely extraordinary.

"I pinch myself when I think I'm going to be playing a part in a Disney movie directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp - I can't quite believe it's going to be happening."

Technically, Depp has not been confirmed yet (rumors suggest that he will play the Mad Hatter). But Lucas' enthusiasm is indeed infectious.

You can read more about Lucas' forthcoming projects in this BBC article.

More info to come!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Alice" Begins Filming

A few of the local extras on the set of
Alice in Wonderland
in period attire.

Filming for Alice in Wonderland has reportedly commenced in Torpoint, specifically at the famous Antony House.

Production is reportedly already immense: Between 600 and 700 people, ranging from actors, extras, cameramen and production staff, are said to be operating at the site. Hundreds of cars park in a field converted to a make-shift car park. Adjacent to them are large trailers presumably used for wardrobe fittings and catering and hospitality. Countless taxis and catering companies are present at the site, and all the actors and production staff involved are presumably staying and dining locally.

Over the next few weeks 250 extras, most of which are from Plymouth and its general area, will attend shoots, dressed in Victorian-era clothing.

And what of Mr. Johnny Depp, who rumor-hungry fans online have been clamoring about playing the Mad Hatter? A spokeswoman for the production has said that the actor won’t be filming at Antony, in Plymouth, or indeed anywhere in the UK. She added that Disney had not even confirmed he would be appearing in the film at all.

We will have to wait and see who is in the film officially from a Disney press release. But for now, the meager scraps of information on Depp's supposed presence point to the contrary.

The Herald has a photo slide show of some of the extras for the film in this link, as well as a video.

We'll keep you posted on further filming updates!

New "Beetlejuice" DVD Available

has returned on DVD and Blu-Ray to commemorate the film's 20th anniversary. Special features (which are far too sparse, unfortunately) include the music-only track featuring every note of Danny Elfman's score and three episodes of the animated TV series based on the comedic feature film.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Nightmare Revisited" CD Samples and Artwork

Artwork and audio samples for the upcoming "Nightmare Revisited" CD are on Disney Music. The songs and score from the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas are covered by a plethora of artists in a variety of genres, including punk, alternative rock, electronica, orchestral, and even a flamenco dance version of "Oogie Boogie's Song," to name a few of the many styles. Danny Elfman also narrates the Opening and Closing segments over his original score.

Here's the link to listen to the clips, and the track list:

1. Overture - DeVotchka
2. Opening - Danny Elfman
3. This Is Halloween - Marilyn Manson
4. Jack's Lament - The All-American Rejects
5. Doctor Finkelstein/In the Forest - Amiina
6. What's This? - Flyleaf
7. Town Meeting Song - Polyphonic Spree
8. Jack and Sally Montage - The Vitamin String Quartet
9. Jack's Obsession - Sparklehorse
10. Kidnap the Sandy Claws - Korn
11. Making Christmas - Rise Against
12. Nabbed - Yoshida Brothers
13. Oogie Boogie's Song - Rodrigo y Gabriela
14. Sally's Song - Amy Lee
15. Christmas Eve Montage - RJD2
16. Poor Jack - Plain White T's
17. To the Rescue - Datarock
18. Finale/Reprise - Shiny Toy Guns
19. Closing - Danny Elfman
20. End Title - The Album Leaf

"Nightmare Revisited" will be available to purchase on September 30th, 2008. You can pre-order it on