Alice in Wonderland is set in the world of Underland (not Wonderland), which is now under rule of Iracebeth, the Red Queen. The Red Queen had taken over the White Queen’s throne and is creating mass destruction and terror in the world. With all creatures in fear, it’s up to Alice to save their world. The Red Queen and the White Queen are sisters and have more in common than you think. I recently got the chance to sit down with the cast of Alice In Wonderland for an exclusive interview. Here’s an inside look at Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway’s characters.
“The thing that struck me the most was the thing that I like most about the Red Queen, was her vulnerability. And the thing I liked most about the White Queen was how sinister she was. So that worked brilliantly for me.” – Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit
The Red Queen or “the queen of hearts” has a familiar feel as with the first Alice in Wonderland. Except her head is much bigger, and her hair and temper are much more extravagant. She is the tyrannical monarch of Underland and her fiery temper has heads rolling. Yet to all the anger, there is a certain vulnerability to her character. “She’s got emotional problems.” Says Bonham Carter. Reining through fear can be transparent, as deep down you can slowly see that she’s deeply a jealous and hurt woman. In the end you’ll be feeling sorry for her and realize she just wants to be loved. The sibling rivalry between the sisters is what fuels The Red Queen’s emotionless rule over Underland. Through this, she rules through terror and her solution to every problem is: “off with their head!” Don’t be fooled though, her character is nasty in a baby-doll kind of way. Tragically her character is lost in difficult place.
“It is better to be feared than loved.” – Red Queen
The Red Queen 7 the White Queen’s makeup was also something to be proud of. Done by Valli O’Reily, she gave The Red Queen a Victorian look and it wasn’t fast and easy. Helena Bonham Carter’s thoughts on how long the makeup process took:
“ It wasn’t that long, I just said hours for the sympathy effect, but it was only 2 and a half hours. But to put a bald cap on, they had to get rid of my hairline, so that takes about two and a half hours, and then they have to paint it, and then they put my beauty makeup on, that took some time, and my huge wig. They didn’t blow my head up every morning, they did that on camera. There are two cameras in the world that do this and they just blow your heads up, and I had this huge camera dedicated to me, which is fine by me.”
Don’t expect the innocent sweetheart Anne Hathaway to be an angel as the white queen. Anne had a fun time playing this role. Transforming into a gorgeous delicate blonde, Hathaway dominates as Mirana, the White Queen. As the younger sister of the Red Queen, she appears to be full of sweetness and clarity. The one thing to remember is she comes from the same gene pool as the Red Queen. “She really likes the dark side, but she’s so scared of going too far into it that she’s made everything light and happy. But she’s living in that place out of fear that she won’t be able to control herself.” Says Hathaway.
Anne was given the freedom by Director Tim Burton, to explore the relationship of the two characters, because they come from the same place. “So I thought, oh how fun if my character has sort of hidden psychosis.” The White Queen’s dark genetics aren’t extremely obvious in the film, but you can tell her motives aren’t completely altruistic. Hathaway’s interpretation of the White Queen and her relationship with the Red Queen:
“(She’s) interested in knives and things of that like, and is adorable on the outside and has tried very hard to become this good, almost over the top positive creature. But underneath she kind of has a murderous streak and it comes out when she’s around weaponry. It wasn’t necessarily that they were opposites; they were just sisters who were different.”
The two sisters have a huge rivalry in the film and it’s full of wit and mystery. Both the Red Queen and the White Queen will spark your interest and lost in intrigue. Something that wasn’t expected was how much emotion you’ll feel for each character, and these two magnificent actresses get a huge BRAVO for their performances.
Alice in Wonderland comes out in amazing 3D March 5th