Friday, July 31, 2009

Burton on "Twilight," "Potter" Phenomena

Tim Burton offers a few words to MTV News on the Twilight and Harry Potter phenomena:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Burton on MoMA Exhibit

Tim Burton on the set of Corpse Bride (Photo: Derek Frey)

From November 22nd, 2009 until April 26th, 2010, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City will open their exhibition "Tim Burton," the largest showcase of artwork by the visionary filmmaker. The exhibit will contain over 700 illustrations, sketches, paintings, puppets, photographs, and short and student films by the filmmaker, many of which have never been seen before. There will also be many artifacts from his career as a professional filmmaker, which spans nearly 27 years. Such artifacts will include original puppets from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, severed head props from Mars Attacks!, and costumes from Batman Returns and Sleepy Hollow. Burton's features will also be screened at the museum from November 18-30.

A familiar sketch of Edward Scissorhands

At a press conference, Burton told reporters that he was excited, but felt a bit surprised by the idea, too. "I didn't grow up in a real museum culture," Burton said at a press conference Wednesday. "I think I went to the Hollywood Wax Museum as my first museum…I was of that generation where I got more out of The Beverly Hillbillies than Monet."

But Burton has found the experience of revisiting decades of his art to be a cathartic and energizing one. "Every now and then, and since I had never done it, it's good to kind of go back and reconnect with yourself," he told reporters yesterday. "It kind of re-energizes you and connects you and gets the nerve-endings going again."

Admission for the MoMA exhibit will be $20 for adults.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cast and Crew on "9"

FEARnet spoke with Tim Burton, Shane Acker, Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, and Timur Bekmambetov to hear their words on 9 while at Comic-Con. The cast and crew talk about the vocal performances of the cast and the overall edge of the film and the post-apocalyptic environment in which the story takes place:

Ask Tim Burton Your Questions

MTV News is going to be conducting an interview with Tim Burton -- and they want the fans to submit the questions. Questions about 9 are most encouraged, but feel free to ask about other films as well. Send them before the morning of Thursday, July 30th to !

Burton: "Alice" is an "Experiment"

A short video with Tim Burton by the BBC. Burton mostly covers familiar territory on Alice in Wonderland, but it's great to see ol' Timmy B. doing his emphatic gestures so enthusiastically.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Videos from Comic-Con's "Wonderland"

/Film has some more images from the gallery of props, original costumes designed by Colleen Atwood, and set pieces from Alice in Wonderland at Comic-Con, as well as a video (which may include SPOILERS!!!).

Also, FEARNet has a short video interview with Tim Burton:

Monday, July 27, 2009

UK "Alice" Trailer

The Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer from the UK is similar to the Spanish language version: nearly identical to the American one, but with a slightly different ending:

FEARnet interviews Burton

It's been a busy weekend for Tim Burton at Comic-Con, and plenty of interviews to do. Here's yet another, this time with FEARnet:

What inspired you about Lewis Carroll and Alice?

It's not just the books, it's the characters, songs. There's something about the imagery that he created that still plays in people's minds. Anything that has strong dream-like imagery that stays with you is important to gets into your subconscious and creative thinking. I hadn't seen any movie version that I really liked, so the intent was to take that imagery and turn it into a movie... Every character's weird, but I tried to give them each their own specific weirdness, so that they're all different. All those characters in his imagery sort of indicate some type of mental weirdness that everybody goes through, but the real attempt was to try to make Alice feel more like a story, as opposed to a series of events.

What drew you to this narrative?

It's a fairly universal concept, these kinds of stories, like Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. It's an internal journey. These characters represent things inside the human psyche. So that's what every child does – you try to work out your problems as you go along. Same as an adult. Some people get therapy, some people make movies.

Is this your first time at Comic-Con?

I came when I was a student. There were like fifty people and a bad slide show. So this is a whole amazing, different thing.

When did you read the Alice books?

I read the books when I was a student. I had a weird connection, because I bought and worked in the studio of the illustrator Arthur Rackham, who, in around 1905, did the illustrations for all of these books, Alice and Sleepy Hollow. So I felt this weird connection, to me and the material and real life, and that always helps somehow.

Is this a sequel or a reimagining?

It's definitely not a sequel, because there are so many stories in Alice in Wonderland. A couple books. So the goal was to take the sort of randomness of the book, take elements of the book and make it into a story. A lot of it is based on the "Jabberwocky" poem in one of the stories, which is not a big part of the story, so we're just using elements from all of the books. They don't really have a specific structure.

Is it a love story [between Alice and the Mad Hatter]?

She's just a little girl, please!

Comic-Con Video Interview Preview

Photo by MTV News

MTV News will be posting some extensive interviews with some of the biggest names in movies from this weekend's Comic-Con over this coming week. For now, check out a very brief sample with Tim Burton, in which he jokes about Johnny Depp, as well as fellow Burton collaborator Danny DeVito (in which he promises we will see more of his body in the near future than we did in Big Fish). Others include Megan Fox, James Cameron, and Cameron Diaz.

On Depp's surprise visit to the Alice in Wonderland panel: "He saved me there," Burton told MTV News. "I'm struggling away and then he walks out... and it was good."

"He's never been [to Comic-Con] ... and I don't know, he could've dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow and just been one of many," laughed the director.

"Alice" Props and Costumes

Some props, costumes designed by Colleen Atwood, and more from Alice in Wonderland on display at Comic-Con. Pictures courtesy of Ain't It Cool News:

Glimpse of Alice's Armor

A glimpse of the armor Alice must don in order to battle the Jabberwocky. Learn more in the following link, but beware of SPOILERS!!!

Connelly, Burton on "9"

Michael Cavna of the Washington Post went to Comic-Con and interviewed producer Tim Burton and Jennifer Connelly, who has lent her voice for one of the ragdoll warriors in 9.

Burton, and many other filmmakers, often have to bend their schedules to come to the immense convention (this is Burton's first time coming to the event as a filmmaker).

"I'm going back to work right after this," Burton laughed. "I just have so much to do," he continued. "It's weird -- you usually talk about stuff after you're done. But to talk about it while you're doing it -- you feel like somebody is strangling you. You think: 'Oh man, I shouldn't even be here.'"

Burton is even busy at the convention, promoting two highly anticipated features. Both he and Connelly were asked about director/creator Shane Acker's 9. After over 20 years of acting in films (during which she won an Oscar), this is Connelly's first time doing a voice-over for an animated feature.

So what attracted each of you to this plucky band of post apocalyptic stitchpunks?

Connelly: Shane has a really unique vision that I thought was really inspiring.

Burton: Same thing -- I saw the short. You could just feel his passion. My idea of getting involved with it was: You see a lot of personal films, but you don't see a lot of personal animated films.

Burton at the Alice in Wonderland panel at Comic-con with moderator Patton Oswalt (Photo Credit: John Shearer -- Getty Images)

So as the producer, did you run interference and help Shane [whose credits include visual effects for 2003's "Lord of the Rings"] fight the studio battles?

Burton: I used to have endless arguments with Disney, like [the studio would say], "Can you put some eyeballs [in]? There are these black sockets. How are you going to feel for a character that has no eyes?" And I was anticipating that. But fortunately, that didn't happen on this. The studio [Focus Features] has been great.

Can you both speak to what about the story -- specifically -- drew you to it? Heroic futuristic rag dolls fighting robots isn't your everyday fare.

Burton: We've all seen post-apocalyptic imagery, but the thing about this that's surprising is that it sneaks up on you -- the humanity. It's very touching. I just find it strangely emotional.

Actors typically rely so much on their bodies for performance. How did you feel as a voice actor, not getting to use your body?

Connelly: Oh, I did. You just didn't see it!

Burton: The animators appreciated it -- I can guarantee you that!... It's very important to an animator -- they get a lot from that.

And how did the process feel different, as a first-time voice actor?

Connelly: I'm used to meeting with everyone and having a long rehearsal time and you can sit around and chat about things and exchange ideas. This was pretty much over the phone with Shane -- his explaining his vision to me. It's a more disjointed process than I'm used to. Over a period of years, you come in months later. There was this one session with Elijah [Wood, who voices the character "9"] where we didn't even have any lines together, but . . . he sort of did his lines and I watched him. And he watched me do my lines.

Burton: It's kind of amazing that anything works out at all!

Connelly: You feel like you're invested in it, but it's a much more private, quiet way of working on something. . . . I was trying not to think about this character [named 7] as anything other than human. This little stitchpunk character.

You're both parents, of course. Will kids want to see this film, given its bleak setting?

Connelly: As a mom, my kids [Stellan and Kai], they loved the short, so [they'll like this film]. If I watched that short once, I watched it a hundred times. They wanted to watch it over and over.

So what about your upcoming projects? Tim, you've got "Alice."

Burton: I'm going back to work on it right after this!

Jennifer Connelly

What about you, Jennifer?

Connelly: I did a film called "Creation" with my husband [Paul Bettany] in which he plays Charles Darwin and I play Emma Darwin.

Is this your first time acting opposite each other in a feature film? I don't recall you sharing any scenes in "A Beautiful Mind."

Connelly: We had only one scene together, but I wasn't supposed to be able to hear him.

Burton (alluding to actress/partner Helena Bonham Carter): And they're still speaking to each other!... You know, it's harder than people think.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

LA Times Interviews Tim Burton

Photo: Tim Burton at "9" panel. Credit: Getty Images

Gina McIntyre of the Los Angeles Times gives us a thorough interview with filmmaker Tim Burton from Comic-Con, part of their "Hero Complex" series. (This interview was originally split in parts one and two.) Burton discusses 9 and producing the unique animated feature with fellow visionary director Timur Bekmembetov, how challenging and different Alice in Wonderland is from his previous works, Dark Shadows, his next project, in relation to the recent vampire craze, and much, much more:

G.M.: What's your Comic-Con experience been like so far?

T.B.: I haven't been here in many years. I came here as a student in the '70s and haven't been back since. It's quite amazing how big it's gotten. It's shocking really. It's such a positive energy, there's a lot of passionate people, so it's a bit daunting to show something but that's why you make movies. That's what's great about the environment here. People are very passionate about the environment here and that's again why you make movies so it's exciting to be around that energy. I love seeing people dressed up. It's surreal and amazing and beautiful. I just remember last time I was there, it was some booths and stuff, but the builds that they have, it's incredible.

G.M.: You mentioned during the Focus Features' panel on 9 that you felt you shared a certain sensibility with the film's director, Shane Acker. I can't imagine that's something you experience too often.

T.B.: I don't. Also, too it was different enough from mine, but I felt a connection to it. Having gone through this process myself trying to get films made and done and how much of a problem it is to have that happen, I thought I could help him with that, I thought I could help protect him from the forces of evil and let him focus on making his film.

G.M.: What specifically did you do to help him get the film made?

T.B.: I suggested the screenwriter [Pamela Pettler] who I'd worked with before. What I tried to do, I've been an animator, it's a very strange job. It requires a lot of focus and sometimes you can just get so focused on something, so I felt very lucky to not be in there every day and just be able to look at things and have a fresh perspective. Animation takes so long it's hard to have a fresh view of it especially when it's so in your head. It was luck for me and for [producer] Timur [Bekmembetov] that we could [provide] more of an overview, look at things from a fresh perspective and just kind of help that way. I didn't want to be one of those guys, I liked what he did, so there was no wanting to put my own stamp of approval on it. He could use us however he wanted, and he's very open, which is great. There was no weird ego kind of thing going on. I always felt that real artists don't have that kind of insecurity when it comes to taking suggestions or listening to somebody else's point of view. He was very open to it. That made it very easy to be involved. It was always for the benefit of the film. He took the notes he felt good with. But that's the way you want it. Otherwise, you shouldn't get involved with something if you're going to have to put your own stamp on to it.

Fellow 9 producer Timur Bekmambetov

G.M.: Did you know Timur before this?

T.B.: No. I'd seen his films. It's great to meet somebody like that. It just brought a whole other perspective too. It was a real international film in the sense. We were first looking to do it in Luxembourg and ended up in Toronto, Paris, London, all over the world.

G.M.: You've said that we're at an interesting creative point in animation right now. Does a project like this still need a name like yours behind it to help get it made?

T.B.: I don't think so. The technology has gotten to the point where people can actually do this, they don't need a studio to get involved. It also helps doing it for a budget where there's not that pressure that you get when you have a bigger budget film. The fact is the studio was fine on this. The kinds of fights I've had in the past on things didn't really manifest themselves on this. I think it helps that we did it and then went to a studio as well, so it was a different situation. I've been through it, Timur's made films, Jim Lemley, the other producer... I think it allowed Shane to just focus on the film, which I think is a benefit.

G.M.: Do you still have to have those kinds of arguments?

T.B.: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. At this point, I expected it to go away, but you'd be surprised. There's not a film that goes by where some major issue [doesn't arise]. I like to be a confrontational person. The movie industry it's a very negative aspect of it. They'll only listen if you go completely ballistic, and you just [want to say], 'Can't we not get to that place where you've got to go nuts?' Some are better than others, but you still have these issues because there's so much involved in making the film. It's not going to go easy. If there were no problems, just making the film is enough of a deal.

G.M.: How challenging has it been for you on 'Alice in Wonderland' since you're marrying several technologies to give the film its unique look? But also, how liberating has it been to utilize these new tools?

T.B.: I don't feel liberated yet, no, only because it's a very strange process and I like what I like. That's why I like stop-motion. On a live-action, you've got actors, you've got sets and that's what I like. This is almost the opposite of that. You've got a lot of pieces and not until very late in the game do you see a finished shot. I think I've yet to see a finished shot. It's quite a scary, daunting process. It's exciting but it's the opposite of what I'm used to. You see a piece of a shot and it's like a puzzle. You're trying to hope and make sure it gets to the right place but you're only seeing one piece at a time.

G.M.: Did the process change how you worked with the actors?

T.B.: No. Because it's such a long, big process, the key with that is to try to keep that as energetic as quick and moving as possible because otherwise you just get bogged down in technology. We just didn't worry about the technology to begin with and just started to shoot so the actors could keep their energy and their focus. With these kinds of things you're acting against an animated character or something that's not there, so there's a lot of that kind of stuff.

G.M.: The sets and the costumes that Disney has on display here are just beautiful.

T.B.: We had some reality to hang onto there a little bit. It helps, believe me. This is the first time I've dealt with a lot of green screen and it drives you nuts. After a while you start to get kind of jittery and crazy. It's a weird phenomenon. I'd never really experienced it to this degree. The thing is, you can't really deal with Method actors in that scenario. They're in trouble. That was part of the thing, you're going to be working in a void and you're going to be dealing with people who aren't there and you try to suss that out before you work with somebody. You can kind of tell when you meet somebody if they're going to go for it and I like those people anyway. I worked with some new people that I hadn't worked with and they were all great.

G.M.: There's so much 'Alice' material. How did you go through and select what to include in the film.

T.B.: Linda [Woolverton] the screenwriter, that was the thing I thought she did well and it was a hard thing to do. As books, [the story], it's very episodic, this story, that story. She ended up kind of using a lot of the vibe of the Jabberwocky poem, the weird language, that figures into it. You can't have every character but we tried to keep the few iconic ones, the Hatter, of course, and the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit and the March Hare and Red Queen, White Queen, that fit within the story that Linda wrote. Obviously there are a lot of characters that aren't in it. It was more important to take that material and try to make it a movie. Every other version I've ever seen I've never really connected to because it's always just a series of weird events. She's passively wandering through, [meeting] this weird character, that weird character. It's fine in the books, but the movies always felt like there wasn't anything underneath them. That's what we tried to do. Instead of the Hatter just being weird, is get some kind of underneath him, some kind of character underneath him. That's the goal is to give the Alice material a little more weight to it.

Tim Burton on the set of Alice in Wonderland with Mia Wasikowska

G.M.: That notion of making her less passive is very interesting. Was that something that you talked about with actress Mia Wasikowska?

T.B.: What I liked about her is she's not a big demonstrative actor. She's got that old soul quality, somebody you can see has an internal life and intelligence and a gravity to her and kind of a slightly disturbed quality, which fits into the material. You've got to believe that she's got an internal life. That's what a lot of these stories are, characters kind of working out their issues or problems. You like to find somebody and they don't have to say anything or do anything, but you look at them and you know there's something going on, they have some kind of gravity.

G.M.: Was that a difficult quality to find in a young actress?

T.B.: I met lots of good actresses but [Mia] just had something different about her that I liked. She's very quiet. It's not even something that you can put into words. I like those kinds of things were you can't necessarily identify it in a verbal or specific way. It's more of a feeling.

G.M.: How long is the post-production process, one year?

T.B.: Well, it comes out in March, so that's when it will end. It will go all the way up to that. It's the kind of project, most of these that use this kind of technology take probably a couple of years longer than we have. I don't mean that as an excuse. In some ways there's something kind of good about just having to do it, but in reality I wish there were more shots done than where we are at this moment. It's been daunting. If you saw how much was missing, you'd be nervous, too. [laughs]

G.M.: Would you do something this technically complex again?

T.B.: Right now it's hard for me to say. Usually you talk about a film, even at the end it's hard, I don't like it. But at this stage all I can think about is how much I've got to do. It's hard to say. I don't really know what the outcome's going to be. Any film you do, you just kind of finish and you wish you could spend a little bit more time on this or that. I don't yet know how much at the end of this I will have felt that I've compromised or not. It's a hard call to know. I don't even think I'm that much of a perfectionist, but it's hard to let go of anything. It's tricky. This one could be pretty rough way I don't know.

An image from the original "Dark Shadows" television series

G.M.: You've talked about doing "Dark Shadows" next. Is that still the plan?

T.B.: I think so, yes. That's the plan. There was something very weird about that, it had the weirdest vibe to it. I'm sort of intrigued about that vibe. It's early days on it, but I'm excited about it.

G.M.: We seem to be in the midst of vampire-mania, what with "Twilight" and "True Blood" and other projects. What do you make of that?

T.B.: It happens. You look at the history of film and whether it's vampires or witches or wizards or whatever, it's like any great fable or fairytale, it's got a power to it. I think that's why people keep going back to it. There's something symbolic about it that touches people in different ways. It's symbolic for something, I'm sure with everybody it's slightly different but it's still powerful. All great stories, there are about five different variations. I grew up on monster movies and it wasn't until later that I realized it's all the same story basically, but the monsters are great and they're all different and it makes it feel like it's all different. The monsters have more personality than the actors around them a lot of times.

Shane Acker on "9" spoke with Shane Acker, director of 9, at Comic-Con. FearNet first asked Acker what he felt attracted Tim Burton to the project:

"I think," Acker said, "[Tim Burton lent his name to the project] because of the visual style of the film, the design aesthetic ad the fact that it's trying to do something different and new with the animated medium for the western audience. He really redefined stop-motion animation for the American audience and he's always trying to push the boundaries and the limits, so I think there was something about this that provoked him in some way."

Acker also discussed what horror films and aesthetics influenced his post-apocalyptic animated movie.

"It's gothic more than dark," he said. "The backdrop is a destroyed world, but we're trying to find beauty and imagination in that world rather than [focus on] how depressing it all is. I grew up watching horror films, but remember – these are the horror films of the ‘80s, horror films that have a kind of fantastical element to them. I love the creatures and the mythology that was behind them. It's not these kinds of slasher/torture films which, frankly, I don't get it. It doesn't do anything for me. There's nothing ultimately that creative about them. I like design and I like fantasy and I think that's what I grew up with. John Carpenter's The Thing, I think, is just a seminal movie for me, a touchstone movie, a perfect movie in some sense. So that's what I draw inspiration from. And people say, ‘Oh they're horror, they're dark,' but I think they're fun and they're exciting and they're really creative and they're fantasy. It's just my sensibility, but, yeah, those are the kinds of worlds I like to explore."

Rotten Tomatoes Interview with Tim Burton

Jen Yamato of Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Tim Burton during his visit to Comic-Con. In this interview, the filmmaker talks about his highly-anticipated Alice in Wonderland, the PG-13 rated animated movie 9, and coming to Comic-Con for the first time as a filmmaker pitching his movie to the fans:

Rotten Tomatoes: You're a producer on Shane Acker's "stitchpunk" adventure, 9. Could you describe your involvement as far as what kind of input you had in the production?

Tim Burton: Well I saw Shane's short film, many years ago, and I loved it. It felt like it was a part of a bigger picture, so I met him and talked to him, and... I just got excited because it was not something I had seen before. You've seen post-apocalyptic imagery before, but there was something about this that was quite touching. I just really loved it, I felt very connected to it. I'm going through the kind of thing myself, where it was hard to get movies going; I just felt I could help him keep the outside forces away and let him make his movie. What was really nice about it was, you see a lot of personal films, but you rarely see personal animated films. It was exciting to me to see that happen.

RT: How did Shane describe the project to you initially?

TB: He didn't have to, because he had the short film. That's the best.He didn't really have to sell himself, you could see his talent in what he was doing. He spent so much time on the short, that he already kind of had some idea in mind how to expand it. So we hired a script writer that I'd worked with before, and she helped flesh it out. With nine characters, you only see a couple, so it was interesting to see these other creatures.

RT: Would 9 appeal in the same way to younger audiences and older ones?

TB: I'm sure some people might think it'll be too scary for kids, and it's quite intense, it's quite scary. But there's nothing in it - there's no blood, nudity, or swearing, or things that maybe would make it not appropriate for kids. So I think it's one of those things; kids are funny, a lot of kids like that sort of things, some kids are afraid of that sort of thing, but I feel comfortable showing it to a kid. Because I would have loved it myself.

RT: What kind of creative notes did you give Shane?

TB: As an animator, you really have to do so much, think about so many things. Your mind is just filled with details; Shane's got to do this and that. For me it was easy; I was just sort of somebody who could give a fresh perspective. I think all of the producers, our job was to let him do his thing and keep any outside evil forces away and let him focus on the film, and when appropriate, make some suggestions. It was very easy, because there weren't any egos involved. Shane's such a good artist that he didn't feel threatened by anybody if they had a suggestion. So yes, our primary goal was to let him do his thing.

RT: What were your interactions like with 9's other director producer, Timur Bekmambetov?

TB: Same thing. He's made movies, too. He's great; he has a different perspective. It felt like a very positive group of people. There were no fights, or drag-out things. Everybody was just all for the project, so it was good. You usually have to have more fights to get things done, and this was more focused on the movie, which was good.

RT: The idea of an established director taking a younger filmmaker under his or her wing is nice, that even an auteur would take an interest in helping another artist's career.

TB: I think I felt connected to his sense of design and the world he crafted. I've not done characters like that, but it's an aesthetic I felt close to. That's, again, why I wanted to be involved, because I felt like, if he wants some suggestions I could give them to him, if he doesn't, fine. So it felt very easy, there wasn't a lot of pressure for me. The pressure's on him for that. [Laughs] I was helpful when necessary.

RT: As it happens, Peter Jackson recently described his similar relationship producing a younger director, Neill Blomkamp, on his film, District 9. He talked of it as protecting the director from the studio, if need be.

TB: Absolutely. Especially when you've been through it yourself. It stays with you, those things, and I always wished I had somebody like that because you work with people that are supposed to protect you, but then they end up [saying], "Well, you've got to do it like this, or like that." And that's not what anybody wants. As a director, I don't want anybody to do that to me. So I was very aware of not wanting to do that to him, and again, protect him and be of use whenever was helpful.

RT: Did you have a mentor yourself in your early career?

TB: Not really. That's why it's nice to be able to, if it works out that way, to do that for someone. I mean, you don't do it with anyone; you have to share some connective tissue, otherwise, why do it? I felt that connection with Shane, and I also wanted to see what he was going to do. So it was more of an exciting prospect.

RT: I would imagine you probably have enough of your own ideas funneling into your own directorial projects.

TB: Yeah, it wasn't like Shane didn't have anything. He didn't have to come in and pitch it, and say, "It's a cross between Terminator and Wall-E," or whatever. He didn't have to do any of that, because he had his film, so it was very easy.

RT: On Thursday you appeared on a panel here to share the first trailer for Alice in Wonderland. What were your feelings presenting yourself to the Comic-Con crowd for the first time as a filmmaker?

TB: I haven't been here since I was a student, so obviously it's gotten much bigger. But the thing that's always been great about it is that people are very passionate about things, so it's scary because you don't know how people are going to react, but at the same time, that passion is very exciting. There's an energy to this kind of thing. It's great, it's really exciting -- people dressing up and that kind of thing. I love it. It was that way many years ago, it's just a lot more of it, bigger. But it's still got that spirit, which is nice.

RT: You noted that you're still in production on Alice. How far along are you?

TB: I'll be working up until the end. It's a weird process, because we're using so many different techniques, it takes a very long time to get to a finished shot, so I have very few finished shots, if any. And it comes out in March. So there's a lot of work to do, but a lot of it will come together at the end. It's a bit scary, but it's exciting as well.

RT: Considering how many different balls you're juggling with Alice, so to speak, do you think this is a film you could have made early in your career, or is there a sort of necessary learning process as a filmmaker that you had to go through to get to this point?

TB: No, it would be hard. It's kind of working in the opposite way of how you work. Usually you have actors and sets and you do a shot and you know what you're going to get, even with stop-motion animation -- you have a set and character there, and you know pretty quick what you're getting. This is like the opposite; you've got this little piece, and that little piece, and you're trying to stick them together. And you don't know exactly what you're going to get! So it's scary and it's exciting, but it's nice to keep that sort of fear factor.

RT: What I like best about that idea is that means there are all those elements that will eventually come together in the final film, but for now they're only dancing around in your head.

TB: Well, they're trying to be held together. That's the scary part! My head leaks a lot, so I don't know what's going to happen. But it's good to have that kind of challenge. The fact is, in film you don't know -- you never know how something's going to turn out. You have something in your head, and it might come out 90 percent of that, 50 percent, who knows? But it's all that way anyway, so this is just the extreme version of that.

"Alice in Wonderland" Video Games

Next Year, Nintendo will release the video game adaptations of Alice in Wonderland on Nintendo DS and Wii. No release date has been announced yet.

The game's premise is you travel Underland as Alice -- with characters such as the Mad Hatter, March Hare, White Rabbit, and Chesire Cat by your side -- and battle the menacing Red Queen and monstrous Jabberwocky.

The Mad Hatter and Chesire Cat, for example, have unique abilities to assist Alice on her quest. The Mad Hatter can help Alice alter her perception of Underland, allowing her to discover optical illusions to open up new parts of the bizarre world, that would otherwise have gone overlooked. The Chesire Cat has the power to make himself and objects appear and disappear. Combining these powers can help you solve puzzles.

The two versions of the game will differ in some ways. The Wii version, for example, follows the film's storyline and will feature an upgradeable combat system. You must use your abilities and supporting characters to defeat the Red Queen's numerous enemies and army of cards, destroy the Jabberwocky, and restore Underland to order -- to Wonderland.

In the DS version, you guide Alice and her associates through the dangerous armies. The DS version of the game will also feature a playable character not available in the Wii version. In addition, DS players can use the system's camera to detect colors mapped to unlockable content when tasks are completed.

"These games fully capture the magnificent and whimsical world of Underland while experiencing key moments from the film," said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. "More than just a retelling of the movie, Alice in Wonderland introduces fans to an entirely new style of innovative gameplay designed to challenge the puzzle solving skills of older players while making the adventures accessible and enjoyable for the younger crowd. Innovative gameplay and distinct artistic styles on each platform gives players a range of unique and engaging experiences."

Spanish "Alice" Trailer

Check out the Spanish language version of the Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer. The ending features different footage from the English one. Anyone know what the Mad Hatter is saying?:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Burton on 3D

Popular Mechanics spoke with Tim Burton. The director had a few words on 3D filmmaking on Alice in Wonderland: "I felt with the techniques that we were using—live action but manipulating it, plus the other elements we're adding in—[converting the movie] gave us more freedom to get the depth layers we wanted in the time frame we're dealing with," Burton tells PM. "But in the Alice world—the shrinking and the growing and the spatial stuff—3D helps with the experience."

"Alice" (and more) at Comic-Con

Some more bits of information on the recent Comic-Con events concerning Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland:

Screen Crave
provided these little updates from Thursday's Disney 3D panel:

11:58: Tim Burton is about to come out for his first panel!

12:00: [Moderator Patton] Oswald asked [Burton] why he made Alice: his answer "because of the hardcore realistic setting" and then when asked about the clips he responded with "it looks like a freak show doesn’t it?"

Moderator Patton Oswalt and Tim Burton at the Disney 3D Panel

12:01: Tim jokes that they skinned Carrot Top for The Mad Hatter's wig. Depp enjoys having a part in the costumes (as always). As for the cat, it's creepy, which Tim says "confirms his hatred of cat" and says that Stephen Fry does the voice.

About to see clip! BRB!

12:05: Safest way to do PCP, watch his film Alice. It was a short clip. Only 30 seconds or so. Going to play it again...

12:07: Just got to see a clip twice that is "ONLY FOR COM-CON"… As they say in the clip; Alice – "This is impossible." Mad Hatter – "Only if you think it is." Absolutely beautiful images of [Tweedledee] and [Tweedledum]. The Mad Hatter is completely mad. The Cheshire cat is completely creepy.

12:10: Just got the first fan boy. Was so excited to ask a question and share his story he didn’t [let?] Burton talk.

12:11: "How did you work with actors to get them into character?" "Kept it as lively as possible and as fast as possible. green screen starts to freak you out after a while, you don't know who you are or where you are. You just try to keep moving and grooving."

12:12: His favorite films. Bits of all of them but Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood are special.

12:14: "What was the most difficult thing to do in this movie?"

12:15: WAIT!!!! Johnny Depp is here...

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton

12:17: Johnny Depp came out, got a HUGE standing ovation, said “Tim Burton!” everyone cheered and he left. also reported that Tim Burton confirmed his next film after Alice in Wonderland: a feature adaptation of the Dan Curtis television drama Dark Shadows. Johnny Depp will star as Barnabas Collins. (No word on the feature-length animated version of Frankenweenie, that we know of...)

Johnny Depp makes a surprise appearance at Comic-Con