Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tim Burton's Alice Revealed

Rumors have been floating around for months regarding who would play the lead in Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland.
But at long last, the Hollywood Reporter has announced that Burton and Disney have found their Alice: 18-year-old Australian actress Mia Wasikowska. The young actress is reportedly in final negotiations for her part in the Lewis Carroll adaptation.

Mia Wasikowska (Getty Images photo)

Burton kept his word by casting a relative "unknown" actress in the business, but simultaneously one that has experience. Wasikowska, originally born in Canberra, began her career in the Australian TV series "All Saints" and is currently a regular on HBO's "In Treatment." Her other upcoming cinematic projects include "Defiance," a war drama which will also star Daniel Craig and be directed by Ed Zwick, and she plays a supporting role in a forthcoming biographical movie on Amelia Earhart, "Amelia," starring Hilary Swank and directed by Mira Nair.

While the rest of the cast of Alice hasn't been announced (or found?), we do already know of principle players in the making of the film. Long-time Disney scribe Linda Woolverton has written the screenplay; frequent Burton collaborator Richard D. Zanuck is producing the film, along with former Disney chairman Joe Roth and Jennifer and Suzanne Todd. Disney creative executive Jason Reed will oversee the project.

Alice in Wonderland will be a combination of live-action and performance-capture computer-generated animation. It will be released in theaters in Disney Digital 3-D in March 2010. Principal photography is said to commence this November, several months later than previously anticipated.

Hopefully, more news (and more accurate news) will come shortly!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Australian Release Date for New "Nightmare" DVD Announced announced that the special collector's edition of The Nightmare Before Christmas will be available in Australia on October 22nd -- just in time for Halloween.

The special features will be the same as those found on the American Blu-Ray and standard DVD versions of the upcoming 15th anniversary release.

Burton v. Marie: Legal Battle

Director Tim Burton has been ordered to stand trial in a lawsuit by his ex-girlfriend Lisa Marie, who claims she's owed millions of dollars.

Los Angeles Superior Court Justice Teresa Sanchez-Gordon ruled on the morning of Friday, July 18th, 2008, that a trial is the best means to determine whether Burton verbally agreed to bankroll Marie for life in return for her acting in his films (which include Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, and Planet of the Apes) and serving as his personal manager, as her suit contends, before allegedly duping her into a much smaller payout.

Burton had fought to have his lawsuit tossed. There has been no immediate comment from neither his publicist nor his lawyer.

While Marie turned up for the proceedings in California, Burton participated on the phone, since he is in London, busy working on his upcoming Alice in Wonderland.

The article by Josh Grossberg continues as follows:

In his motion seeking dismissal, attorney Joseph Mannis argued that any sort of oral agreement was not applicable in this case, because Lisa Marie signed off on a $5.5 million settlement. Per the terms of that deal, Mannis argued, Lisa Marie relinquished all claims to Burton's assets and promised not to file a palimony suit.

But the model and actress, who appeared in small roles in many of Burton's films and whose real name is Lisa Marie Smith, claims she only received $2.7 million and was victimized by a conspiracy. She claims that Burton worked with her own advisers to shortchange her.

Burton filed a countersuit last September seeking a court declaration affirming she was obligated to live up to the prior deal.

One of the plaintiff's lawyers lashed out at the director's camp for a bullying tactic in which they threatened to take futher legal action against her if she fought Burton's petition to dismiss the case.

"They said that if we had the temerity to file papers in opposition to their motion for some reason that they would file a malicious prosecution action not only against Lisa Marie but also against me," cocounsel Judd Burstein told E! News. "It's going to be very interesting what the jury thinks of that kind of hubris."

Burstein added his camp was "very pleased" by the judge's ruling.

"It's not unexpected to us. Nice to know that just because you're a big celebrity you can't get your way by cheating and bullying."

The attorney also said that a chance for an amicable agreement was past.

"We've had some [settlement] talks, but it's not going anywhere," Burstein said. "We want our day in court, and it will be a very bad day for Tim Burton."

That day is now scheduled for August 11th.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"Music from the Films of Tim Burton" -- Now Available

The new CD featuring music from the films of Tim Burton is now available on iTunes and in stores. The album features classic scores by Danny Elfman, the theme from Ed Wood by Howard Shore, and four instrumental tracks from songs from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The music has been performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.

Here is the track list:

1. Sweeney Todd - Main Titles
2. Sweeney Todd - No Place Like London
3. Sweeney Todd - A Little Priest
4. Sweeney Todd - Johanna
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas - Christmas Eve Montage
6. Corpse Bride - The Piano Duet/Victor's Piano Solo
7. Sleepy Hollow - End Titles
8. Batman - Theme/Flowers/Love Theme/The Joker's Poem/Up the Cathedral/Waltz to the Death/The Final Confrontation
9. Batman Returns - End Titles
10. Edward Scissorhands - Main Theme/Ice Dance
11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Finale
12. Beetlejuice
13. Pee-wee's Big Adventure - Breakfast Machine
14. Ed Wood - Main Theme
15. Mars Attacks!

You can hear samples of the CD and purchase the album on

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Casting Rumors for "Alice in Wonderland"

As always, it is wise to be dubious of rumors online. But I couldn't help but point out these small tidbits of information regarding Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland...

has stated that there is talk that Burton has finally cast his Alice.

On an "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" forum, a guest named Lexie stated the following:

"My brother is working on the movie and he said Alice has been cast. He is a music supervisor for the movie and said there will be a press release about it on July 9th. The role was originally supposed to be Evan Rachel Woods but she backed out. Alice won't be played by a child but a 23 year old. From what I was told it's her first Burton movie, and her first big role in a film that will be released world wide. Tim wanted to cast someone who could portray a child but could also capture the odities of the story. My brother told me that the girl playing Alice is wonderful and Tim picked her very quickly. Filming is supposed to start in July with a press release with the entire cast on July 9th! I do know the actresses name but I don't want to type it here incase there is some kind of rights against that until the press release."

On the same forum, another guest named Ian B made these remarks:

"i came across this thread being that im a huge fan of alice in wonderland. my best friends aunt is ryan nikole parkers manager and she is definitely alice. she signed on to the movie a few days ago. my bff said she just turned 24. you can find her myspace on some of the threads and her imdb."

There was talk that Burton was more interested in casting an unknown actress (which thankfully excludes Lindsay Lohan). So Evan Rachel Woods is likely not Alice, either. Ryan Nikole Parker, on the other hand, is barely known beyond Broadway, fitting the description of a relative "unknown" in the movie business.

Ryan Nikole Parker: Alice?

There is also talk on that there is already conceptual drawings for the look of the film (no production designer or art director has been announced yet).

However, there is reason to be cautious: while it is possible that the music of the upcoming film is being considered, already having a music supervisor on the team so early in pre-production seems unusual (the film is not even set for release until March 2010).

Nothing is official in Hollywood until the press release is made. But if the mention of an official press release on July 9th is the only truthful statement, then we only have a few days to look forward to finding out who will play the part of Alice, in addition to the rest of the crazy menagerie of characters in Wonderland.

Stay tuned, folks...