If you’re twitching with anticipation & pacing the floor waiting for the March 2010 release of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, you may want to tune in to The SciFi Channel* this December to see Alice as imagined by Nick Willing, creator of the Emmy award winning, Oz inspired mini-series, Tin Man. Willing‘s reimagining finds Wonderland nearly a century and a half older & far more evolved.
Says Willing, “The White Rabbit is very different. It’s not just one character; it’s a secret organization that works for the Queen of Hearts and abducts people from our [real-world] land, so they can gamble in the Queen’s casino. The ‘oysters,’ as these human beings are called, are put to play there so their emotions can be drained by the Queen. That is the currency of Wonderland. You can feel whatever you want when you want to feel it. Just take a sip of lust or euphoria.”
SciFi Channel promo for Alice
When reinventing the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll, writer/director Nick Willing did strive to stay true to the original spirit of the stories. “It’s got to be funny. The original is very funny. It’s still very fresh. It’s got to be full of surprises. It’s got to have a very, very strong visual flair. These are all touchstones that drove me when I was developing the show.”
Alice will reintroduce several classic Wonderland characters & features an impressive cast including Tim Curry (Legend) as the Dodo, Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) as the White Knight, Caterina Scorsone (1-800-Missing) as Alice, Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval) as the Mad Hatter, Kathy Bates (Dolores Claiborne) as the Queen of Hearts, Harry Dean Stanton (Pretty In Pink) as the Caterpillar, and Colm Meaney (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the King of Hearts.
While the character names may be familiar, they too have been updated to suit Willing‘s modernized vision of Wonderland. Willing describes the new Alice character as, “…not a little girl. She’s a woman with all the kind of female problems that come from falling in and out of love. So that’s one very different character.” He goes on to say that the revamped Mad Hatter is “…a little nuts, but he’s pretty solid, too. He’s a ducker and diver, as we say in England. He’s got a lot of street cred. He’s the guy that helps Alice try to find the man she loves, who’s been abducted by the White Rabbit.”
Matt Frewer described his character, the White Knight, as “…a cross between Don Quixote, Baron von Munchausen and the Cowardly Lion. He’s mad as a box of frogs, as Nick [Willing] wrote, and there’s a kind of a gap between who he is and who he pretends to be. Therein lies his madness.” “He’s a knight of old, and the knights in this version have died off. He’s the one remaining crusader who will champion Alice‘s cause. That’s the idea. He’s actually gone mad, as a result of too much time on his own. He’s basically a sort of separate case that is wandering about and looking for a fight. Alice provides it.”
* = I just can’t bring myself to call The SciFi Channel by their new name. SyFy just looks like a bad typo. I’d rant about it for awhile, but there are already plenty of other nerds up in arms & raising hell about the recent SciFi channel name change.
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