Harry Dean Stanton and Kathy Bates Take Us Down the Rabbit Hole, Again
For those of you who can't wait until spring of 2010 to get your Lewis Carroll fix, look no further than Syfy's two night Alice event in December. It won't be Tim Burton's richly funky interpretation featuring a gingery Johnny Depp, but it will co-star Kathy Bates as a modern day Queen of Hearts and Harry Dean Stanton as Caterpillar. At today's panel, the cast, executive producer and director discussed how their "modern day take" will differ from Tim Burton's project (think "rougher, tougher, sexier" and way lower budget).
Alice Writer/Director Nick Willing and Executive Producer Robert Halmi, Sr. call the multi-episodic television movie "a funky sequel to Tin Man," their similarly formatted Syfy (back then it was Sci Fi) program starring Zooey Deschanel. Halmi acknowleged that "Alice in Wonderland has been done a hundred times and will be done a hundred more times," but they want to "demystify the fairy tale" with their current day, fantastical remake.
Although the title star, Caterina Scorsone, was present for the panel, most questions were directed towards Kathy Bates and Harry Dean Stanton - when he could be awakened from his fugue state. (Wearing what appeared to be women's suede boots, he muttered to himself at one point, "What the hell was that?")
Kathy Bates explained why she wanted to participate Syfy's Alice:
"I guess I've always wanted to play the Queen of Hearts. I've always been a fan of the original books and the queen is a character I've always been interested in playing. And after talking to Nick on the phone, who I really took a liking to, I liked his approach. [...] This queen has the same evil streak as the queen in the original."
Harry Dean Stanton responded (kind of) to a question about his take on Caterpillar:
"An actor got interviewed once, and they asked him, 'When do you do your best work?' and he said 'When we've wrapped and we're riding home."
"I just stuck to the script. I got a copy of Alice in Wonderland. I just felt the material, it's well-written, articulate, it's a well-defined acid trip."
Strange, "articulate and well-defined acid trip" is exactly what the NBC brass said about Fallon's show.