For anyone who has seen the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” trailers, it’s evident that the film has the same dazzling visuals and whimsical stylizing as the first movie. To tie in perfectly with the look of the movie, the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” Los Angeles press conference was held at the elaborate Montage Beverly Hills hotel. Tall, ornate ceilings, golden chandeliers, candelabras…it truly felt like a fantasy setting.
As I walked into the room the conference was being held, the stage was set-up impeccably, with gorgeous upholstered chaise lounges that was a perfect nod to Colleen Atwood’s costume design for the film, complete with delicate and colorful teacups, saucers, and tea time treats.
Speaking at the conference was director James Bobin, as well as producer producer Suzanne Todd, and actresses Anne Hathaway (the White Queen) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice).
James Bobin discussed how it was quite an exciting challenge to figure out the appropriate balance to pay homage to Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, and the iconic style of this film franchise that Burton created, while also making sure it was true to his own directing style. It was crucial to him for “Alice Through the Looking Glass” to feel like a separate movie from the first, yet be cohesive. He was more than willing to step up to this task, and he said with such a stellar cast and crew attached to the film, it was an honor and opportunity of a lifetime that he couldn’t pass up directing. Bobin explained that in order to achieve his vision for “Alice”, he wanted to make sure lots of attention-to-detail was paid to people, objects, and settings in the background; for audiences to be like Alice by digging deeper and focus on what’s going on in the world around you, not just what’s right in front of us. What also excited him about being a part of this franchise was his longtime love for Lewis Carol, author of the Alice in Wonderland books, which he has loved since childhood.
Whereas Bobin’s love for “Alice” came from the Lewis Carol books, producer Suzanne Todd’s introduction to the world of Wonderland was by going on the Alice in Wonderland dark ride at Disneyland as a child. Todd said making the film was quite an experience, since there are countless visual effects and every single detail in the film is very stylized, there were constantly decisions needing to be made. She said that it goes to show what a talented crew there was behind the film, as they were able to collaborate and work together to effectively make the decisions on all the aspects of the film that were needed.
Actress Mia Wasikowska had the incredible opportunity with this film to re-visit the Alice character that started her acting career, and described it as “pleasantly unexpected” and “humbling”. Like Bobin and Todd, she has been a fan of “Alice in Wonderland” since childhood, with her introduction being the Disney animated classic. Wasikowska talked about how she loves getting to play Alice since she is a strong female lead in a major motion picture, and these roles can be rare to come across. She loves that the “Alice” movies have many female lead characters.
Anne Hathaway has an impressive Disney royalty resume, having played a Disney princess twice in the both “Princess Diaries” films, and the White Queen in “Alice in Wonderland”. She was excited to be back for round 2 of her role as White Queen in “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” but with quite a different twist from the first film: she gets to play the Queen both in present day and in the past. Hathaway loved being able to explore the White Queen’s backstory with this film, as she felt it made her character deeper, and more relate able to audiences. Hathaway discussed how she is incredibly proud to be a part of the Disney family and the “Alice” films, as she finds it is very important for kids to feel like they can do, like Alice, the un-possible. And she agrees with Wasikowska, that the fact that there are strong females present in these films makes them a unique, yet important milestone in Hollywood today.
Hathaway became a fan of the Lewis Carol stories as a teenager, during a time where she felt very isolated she found kinship in his writings. She feels that the “Alice” stories help create a feeling of comfort to those who feel out of place in this world.
The cast and crew’s love for “Alice” that they shared at the press conference is clear to see illuminated on the big screen. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” was evidently full of passion and dedication for the story and characters, and having a team that contained such love for the world that Lewis Carol created made for an impeccable movie. You can check out our full length official review here. The film comes out May 27th, and is definitely one that’s not to be missed!