Powered by i.TV
October 4, 2015

Going through the looking glass with Syfy's Alice

by Mike Moody, posted Nov 20th 2009 6:02PM
alice syfyThe producers of Tin Man, Syfy's dark and splashy spin on The Wizard of Oz, are back with Alice, a twisted take on Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In a conference call with reporters, Alice director Nick Willing and star Caterina Scorsone talked flying flamingos, Tweedledee and Tweedledum's torture tactics, and what Wonderland would look like 150 years after Alice's original adventure.

We'll have an advance review of Alice soon, but for now you can head after the jump for an inside look at the miniseries, premiering December 6 on Syfy. Spoilers follow.

A modern Wonderland

Thsyfy alice castis isn't director Willing's first trip to Wonderland. He helmed a somewhat more faithful adaptation of Carrol's book in 1999 for NBC. Willing said he had a tough time adapting the source material into a film the first time around. After his success directing Tin Man, he wanted to reinvent another fantasy-based classic and saw an opportunity to make his "own kind of groovy version" of Alice.

The story takes place 150 years after the events of Carroll's book. Wonderland has transformed into a modern dystopia with a slightly kitschy art deco look and feel (think 1985's Return to Oz). The Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates) rules by keeping her subjects sedated with elixirs, or teas, that offer instant human emotions like ecstasy and passion. Willing likens this to our own obsession with instant gratification through technology. The emotions are drained from humans who are kidnapped by the "White Rabbit" organization. The humans are kept in a surreal casino complete with blackjack tables and burlesque dancers.

Wonderland's pink flamingos have turned into flying machines, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum are now torturers who invade Alice's nightmares. "I always saw Tweedledee and Teweedledum as tortures of her. They are nasty schoolboys who wanted to pull the wings off flies and torture little girls, " Willing said.

Alice teams up with the Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts ), a carpetbagger with the heart of a revolutionary, to find her missing love and to undermine the Queen's rule.

This Alice is a black belt

Alice is a very passive character in Lewis Carrol's books. She's a young girl exploring a rich and fascinating world, but she's not very fascinating herself, Scorsone, who plays the title character, said. The new Alice is an independent and assertive young woman. She teaches martial arts and doesn't pull any punches when its time to fight herself out of a sticky situation.

Scorsone's Alice enters Wonderland with a purpose and goes through an emotional journey to find her lost boyfriend and to explore hidden aspects of her own personality. And she's also a brunette, a deliberate choice to let viewers know that they're "in for a different kind of ride," said Scorsone.

Star power

syfy alice batesScorsone's co-stars include Primeval's Andrew Lee Potts as Hatter and Hollywood vets like Tim Curry as Dodo, Harry Dean Stanton as Caterpillar, Matt Frewer as The White Knight and Kathy Bates as The Queen of Hearts.

Willing said Bates jumped at the chance to play a more complex version of the Queen, whose thirst for instant gratification has transformed her kingdom into a darker place.

Will you watch?

I wasn't a big fan of Tin Man. It seemed to drag and offered little more than a darker and quirkier look at the original's story and characters. Wiling and crew seem to have invented an entirely new story for Alice that, of course, offers homage to Carrol's books. I like that Alice is intended to work as a sequel of sorts to the books and isn't just a warped re-telling of the classic story. I only hope the story is good enough to hold my interest for two nights.

Are you looking forward to seeing a stronger and more driven Alice fall through the looking glass?

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Agree with these comments about the dark side of Tin Man and how it got bore-o. Love Alice series (don't recall '85 one, be neat if they ran it now). Like the cast of this one and the way it looks like they are handling the concept.
Will give it a shot w/ crossed fingers. Thanks guys.

November 20 2009 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"she's not very fascinating herself"

Hmm, I'd have to disagree with the actress playing Alice regarding the Carroll original. Alice was pretty spunky. She challenged the reigning monarch, despite threats of beheading. She pushed over the monarch's guards. She mouthed off to the rabbit. I remember my iterative surprise at Alice's spunk as a child (& adult) everytime I re-read it.

I'm looking forward to Alice, but I don't have high hopes. I wasn't impressed with Tin Man. Although the first ep started off dark, the final 2 eps were more fairytale oriented with CGI bits thrown in and, in the promos, the new Alice seems a repeat of that. I'll still watch. But, I doubt it'll get as dark as the '85 Return to Oz (which still gives me nightmares).

November 20 2009 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners