10 Facts About Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland That Are Fairly Bonkers


Alice in Wonderland didn’t need Tim Burton to turn the story into a bonkers trip down the rabbit hole. That’s how it popped out of Lewis Carroll‘s head when he wrote the story 155 years ago.

But Burton, naturally, put his signature stamp on the part-live-action, part-CGI’d-to-the-nines film, an eye-popping confection that directly employs more of the humor-tinged terror found in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland than the animated Disney film that came out in 1951 (though, really, the cartoon has its terrifying moments, too), as well as characters from his 1871 follow-up, Through the Looking-Glass (many of whom returned for the 2016 sequel directed by James Bobin).

Burton got the merry band from his 2007 adaptation of Sweeney Todd back together for Alice, namely Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carteras the Red Queen, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar and Timothy Spall as Bayard (the pet dog of Crispin Glover‘s Knave of Hearts, inspired by the Puppy mentioned in the Carroll tale), as well as costume designer Colleen Atwood, and ended up with a visual feast—if not exactly a well-balanced meal, as far as most critics were concerned.  

Nevertheless, audiences found Alice’s level of muchness perfectly up to snuff, and the film made over a billion dollars worldwide.

Of course, a lavish production like this one, at least 90 percent of which was shot in front of a green screen, doesn’t come together overnight—or even within the preset parameters of a studio schedule, for that matter. 

So in honor of the 10th anniversary of the quirky blockbuster, here are 10 things to know about the making of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland:

Mia Wasikowska, Alice In Wonderland, 2010


Johnny Depp, Alice In Wonderland, Johnny Depp Best Roles


Alice in Wonderland


Tim Burton, Mia Wasikowska, Alice In Wonderland, 2010

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Alan Rickman, The Caterpillar, Alice In Wonderland, 2010


Stephen Fry, Cheshire Cat, Alice In Wonderland, 2010


Michael Sheen, The Rabbit, Alice In Wonderland, 2010


Anne Hathaway, Alice in Wonderland

Walt Disney Studios

Matt Lucas, Alice in Wonderland, Twins

Disney Pictures

Alice in Wonderland, Mia Wasikowska


“Alice was an experiment,” Burton explained to The Guardian once the film was finally in the can. “We didn’t know what the movie was till the very end. It was exciting and scary. Working on the CG just got more and more and more intense. The intensity peaked last week, when we had to stop.” He raised his voice. “We had to stop! STOP! I never consider a film finished and this was no different…Finishing a film is like a death in some way.”

He agreed that it could also be compared to a birth, adding, “Of course it’s a birth. But something definitely dies, too. It’s an unnerving feeling that takes time to get over.”

At least Burton’s painstaking efforts were worth it in the end. Alice in Wonderland was the second-highest grossing film of 2010, behind only Toy Story 3, and it helped launch the live-action remake renaissance that’s all the rage at Disney now.

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