Principal photography is now underway on Walt Disney Pictures' sequel to its live-action Alice in Wonderland movie, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide in theaters back in 2010. Previously rumored to be titled Through the Looking Glass, the project's official title (unsurprisingly) is one with greater brand recognition - namely, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.
Disney's first Alice live-action installment, as directed by Tim Burton, blended elements of Lewis Caroll's two Alice novels (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There) in combination with original material that was cooked up by screenwriter Linda Woolverton. James Bobin, who served as helmsman on the last two Muppet movies, is calling the shots on the Alice sequel, with Woolverton once again on scriptwriting duties.
Story-wise, Through the Looking Glass is officially described as being "an all-new tale that travels back to Underland - and back in Time." That's not to say the film will be a prequel, mind, as Mia Wasikowska will be reprising her role as the grown-up Alice Kingsleigh, who's now "on a quest to help the Mad Hatter" - once again, brought to life by Johnny Depp - and in Burton's movie, it was suggested that Alice has only previously visited Underland as a child. Perhaps time-traveling antics are in order, for the sequel?
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) is costarring in the film as Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter's dad, so it's certainly possible that Though the Looking Glass will revolve around a journey into the Hatter's past. Meanwhile, Alice in Wonderland cast members Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter are reprising their roles as the White and Red Queen, respectively, while the voice cast once again includes Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar, and Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit.
Finally, Sacha Baron Cohen is playing a villain known as "Time" - providing additional proof that the Through the Looking Glass storyline does involve some kind of timeline disruption that Alice and the Hatter must repair.
Bobin has indicated that Through the Looking Glass will be deviating visually from Burton's movie, in part because his Alice film will be exploring "different parts of Underworld" than Burton's. Woolverton's script work for both Alice in Wonderland and this year's Maleficent represent the Mouse House's ongoing efforts to update famous fairy tales (ones previously adapted by the company in animated form) as live-action films with a modern sensibility; presumably, Through the Looking Glass will be in keeping with that trend.
Depp's box office appeal has been called into question of late (and with fair reason), but the broad appeal of the Alice property alone ought to ensure a strong turnout for Through the Looking Glass. One just hopes that Wasikowska's Alice doesn't wind up being marginalized in her own movie, seeing how the sequel's story appears to be so focused on the Mad Hatter character. Then again, Depp's Jack Sparrow was upgraded to protagonist status in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and the movie grossed $1 billion around the globe, so Disney's thinking here is fairly easy to grasp.
Moving on, here are the pivotal creative folk working behind the scenes on Through the Looking Glass, via Disney's official press release. It's an accomplished roster of artists, to say the least.
The film welcomes back several key members of the “Alice In Wonderland” team, including award-winning composer Danny Elfman (“Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Big Eyes,” Silver Linings Playbook”), three-time Oscar®-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Chicago”), who won Oscar, BAFTA and Satellite awards, among others, for her work on “Alice In Wonderland,” and five-time Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Ken Ralston (“Forrest Gump,” “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”), who won a Satellite Award for best visual effects for “Alice In Wonderland.”
Bobin’s award-winning production team also includes Oscar®-winning production designer Dan Hennah (“King Kong,” “The Hobbit” trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Oscar for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), and Stuart Dryburgh (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” Oscar nomination for “The Piano”) as director of photography. The film welcomes Oscar-winning make-up and hair designer Peter King (“Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” Oscar nominee for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”), and Oscar winner Neil Corbould (“Gravity,” “Gladiator”) is special effects supervisor. Andrew Weisblum (“Noah,” Oscar nominee “Black Swan”) is editor.
Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass opens in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures