ALICE IS BACK — AND FORWARD — IN THE LOOKING GLASS
T’S BEEN SIX years since Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland became a billion dollargrossing sensation. Surprisingly, in this era of instant sequels, it’s taken that long for Disney to press the button on a follow-up — but it’s finally here in the shape of Alice Through The Looking Glass, inspired by, rather than slavishly based on, the Lewis Carroll book of the same name.
“The book is fantastic in its own right,” says James Bobin, the British director ( The Muppets, Flight Of The Conchords) who’s calling the shots now the previous incumbent has gone for a Burton. “But it’s largely based around the game of chess. And Alice meets various people, none of whom have cause and effect, and therefore it doesn’t make a great narrative for a film.”
Bobin’s solution: replace a Tim with a Time, in the shape of Sacha Baron Cohen. “Time has this great sense of self-importance,” says Bobin of the movie’s new villain. “Sacha is very good at the comedic trope of the confident idiot.” Cohen’s Time drives the plot of this brain-bending presequel, as Alice (Mia Wasikowska) ventures into Underland, a place where “time is a geographical construct,” says Bobin. “You have to literally move through time, backwards and forwards, to find the place you need to go.”
The reason for Alice’s quest? To save the family of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. “Johnny pushed the character emotionally,” says Bobin. Did he have to wear a Tim Burton mask in order to direct Depp, we wonder. “We all had black suits and I had Robert Smith hair,” he laughs. “No, I was just me — a British man in a suit.” Wonderful. CHRIS HEWITT
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS IS OUT