Thursday, February 18, 2010

Burton on Spall, the Bloodhound

While the title is familiar, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is aiming to be quite different from previous cinematic adaptations. One example of this is the presence of a character that never appeared in the two "Alice" books by Lewis Carroll: the Bloodhound.

The canine character is voiced by Timothy Spall, who previously worked with Burton on his last feature, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, playing the Beadle Bamford. Spall is no stranger to fantastical films, having acted in Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Enchanted.

"Timothy Spall is amazing," Burton said. "I love him. He's exciting because he's always doing something different, he's always working and doing some interesting project. He does all sorts of cool things."

The bloodhound's presence may be "a reaction against the Cheshire Cat" in the film, says Burton, who is no fan of felines. "The film felt a bit feline- and rodent-heavy, perhaps, and I think the Bloodhound adds a certain little gravity to it. When you see all of the characters, the animal ones, together, he added a little balance to it."

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton explains her creation of the bloodhound character in this Los Angeles Times article, which does include a few SPOILERS.

Although much of the film is animated, Burton, a notorious dog-lover, really wanted to go for realism for the bloodhound character -- aside from the obvious talking bit.

"We were trying to find with this character and the other talking-animal characters the right kind of animation and the goal was to keep it naturalistic and to fit into that world in the background," Burton said. "The movement of the animals is really what I'm referring to, in some animation the characters don't move the way animals do and we wanted to go the direction of being naturalistic."

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