Alice in Wonderland: FAQ
Table of Contents
1: "What is this movie this whole page is all about? What is Alice in Wonderland?"
This page, to be as blunt and straight-forward as possible, is about Alice in Wonderland, the 1999 NBC television event movie (hence the title of the page). On this page, I provide as much information as I know on and about this movie, and anything relating to it. Period. this happens to be a lot, as I've pretty much memorized the movie (see About Me for why) and have looked up extensive information on nearly everything about it, technically and much about it in the media. On this page, along with written information I've included pictures, sounds and movies, a review on the movie by myself, as well as media coverage and reviews (here), the teleplay, and links to elsewhere. Once this site receives some age, it should be especially extensive. Alice in Wonderland is a movie based on the classic stories Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll. More specific information can be found scattered literally everywhere throughout this page. Look around!
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2: "Who makes up the main cast?"
Robbie Coltrane, a very highly-praised actor who's roots are from the United Kingdom, plays Tweedledum in the film. He was born on the 30th of March, 1950. He has both acting and directing experience in his past. He directed the television series The Comic Strip Presents and also made several appearances on it. Coltrane appeared in 1993's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well the the mega-smash blockbuster James Bond movie Goldeneye in 1995. In late 1999, he will return as Valentin Zukovsky in James Bond film The World is Not Enough.
Whoopi Goldberg is a very famous and wonderful actress who plays the role of the Cheshire Cat in the movie. She's been divorced and has a daughter and a granddaughter, and her real name is Caryn Johnson. She's won multiple Awards, including the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Ghost, three People's Choice Awards, two Golden Globes (one for her performance in The Color Purple and one for Ghost), and even a Grammy. Goldberg was also nominated for another Academy Award and Golden Globe, as well as two Emmy Awards. She was the first woman in history to host the Academy Awards; this occured in 1994. She has also hosted in 1996 and earlier this year in 1999. She hates to fly, so when playing the part of the Cheshire Cat, she didn't even have to leave the U.S. Only her face was used in the final picture; her body was created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Ben Kingsley, yet another British actor, was born as Krishna Banji in 1943 on December 31st. H was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. In the movie, he plays the stiff-backed Major Caterpillar. Kingsley has starred in a good deal of acclaimed and well-knows films, such as 1995's Species, 1993's ultra-popular and hard-hitting Schindler's List, and in 1982's Gandhi, which he is most-likely best-known for. Kingsley is the title role in the film, for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1983. He's been nominated for an Emmy as well as a Golden Globe (two of which he's won). Kinsley has 3 children, and has been married at least twice. Kingsley was the son of a GP and was educated at Manchester Grammer School. He's also acted on stage.
Christopher Lloyd has acted in many, many movies in his lifetime. The actor was born on October 22, 1938 in Stamford, Connecticut and is currently married to Jane Walker Wood. Lloyd has been in all three of the Back to the Future movies, The Pagemaster, Camp Nowhere, My Favorite Martian, Angels in the Outfield, Dennis the Menace, Clue, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest just to name a few! He's appeared on the shows Cheers, Spin City, and Avonlea as a guest and starred in the show Taxi from 1979 to 1983. He won two Emmy Awards, one in 1982 and one in 1983, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Variety, or Music Series. He's been in the infamous "10-10-220" long-distance TV commercials as well. In Alice in Wonderland, Lloys portrays the White Knight.
Pete Postlethwaite, born February 7, 1945 (the same day and month as Tina Majorino), is another actor from the U.K., he from Warrington, Cheshire, England, to be more specific. Postlethwaite has been featured in the U.K. magazine Empire twice. The actor has starred in 1997's The Lost World Jurassic Park and Amistad, 1996's Dragonheart, James and the Ginat Peach, and Romeo + Juliet, Alien 3 in 1992, and finally, A Private Function from 1985 (which he starred in with Liz Smith). He was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1994 for In the Name of the Father. In Alice in Wonderland, Postlethwaite plays the part of the Carpenter.
Miranda Richardson, born the 3rd of March, 1958, in Southport, Lancashire, England, plays the short-tempered and vulgar Queen of Hearts as well as the Society Woman in the reality of the movie. She has an excellent talent at changing her voice to sound different ways as can be seen in Alice as well as NBC'S Merlin where she plays Queen Mab alongside Martin Short. Richardson has also acted in Tom and Viv from 1994, Enchanted April in 1991, and Empire of the Sun in 1987. She's guest starred on the hit show Absolutely Fabulous as well as The Comic Strip Presents with Robbie Coltrane. Richardson has been nominated for two Oscars, three British Academy Awards (one of which she won for Fatale in the Best Supporting Actress Category), five Golden Globes (she's taken home two, for Fatherland and Enchanted April), and was critically acclaimed for her work in Merlin, though she won no awards.
Canada-born (in Hamilton, Ontario) actor Martin Short plays the Mad Hatter in this production. The actor, whose date of birth is 26 March, 1950, has become famous through his roles in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II, Saturday Night Live, Jungle2Jungle, and Merlin (which he starred in with Miranda Richardson). He also gave his voice in late 1998's The Prince of Egypt. Short at one time has his own show, and guest starred on Taxi, the children's show Reading Rainbow, and The Roseanne Show in November of 1998. Short has three children and was originally trained to be a social worker. Short has also been on Broadway, and has won a Tony for his work in Little Me and was also nominated for an Emmy in 1998 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. The nod was for his work in Merlin as Frik. Short attended McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Peter Ustinov, born in London, England in 1921 on the 16th of April, is one of the most famous actors of the 20th century. Since the 1940's, Ustinov has been acting. Along with acting, he has written, directed, and produced. In 1990, he was knighted Sir Peter Ustinov. He was once married to actress Angela Lansbury's sister. Ustinov has written books and plays for print, played King Lear at Canada's Stratford Festival, and is chancellor to Durham University in England. He's has a journal and a biography published, and appeared (like so many others) in the U.K.'s Empire magazine. He's been nominated for four Academy Awards (two he won, for Topkapi and Spartacus in the Best Supporting Actor category) and two Golden Globes (he took one home for his work in Quo Vadis? in the Best Supporting Actor category). Ustinov gets acting work with the William Morris Agency.
George Wendt was born October 17, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. He is most famous for his role as Norm on the hit series Cheers. He's also had roles in Spice World (as Jason Flemyng), Man of the House, House, The Little Rascals, and Fletch. Wendt has made guest appearances on Taxi, Wings, The Simpsons, M*A*S*H*, and Tales From The Crypt. Wendt has also been in music videos for Michael Jackson, Ray Parker, Jr., and Soul Asylum. He's also been in television commercials for Coors. Wendt was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Emmy Award every year from 1984 to 1989 for his performance in Cheers, but he never won. Wendt is somtimes billed as George R. Wendt. In Alice in Wonderland, he plays Tweedledee.
Gene Wilder is another very famous actor of the latter 20th century. He was born Jerome Silberman (you may see him billed as Jerry Silberman in some films he stars in) on June 11, 1935 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He's been at it since the 1960's and still going. Along with acting, Wilder has done writing, directing, and producing. He's starred in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, Young Frankenstein from 1974, Silver Streak from 1976, The Producers in 1968, and finally 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where he stars in the title role. It is probably Wilder's most recognized role and definitely most popular due to the family appeal. He was married to comedienne Gilda Radner from 1982 until her untimely death in 1989. Wilder has done commercials for Gillete razors (circa 1965) and was once in the U.S. Army. Gene Wilder was nominated for two Oscars in 1969 and 1975 and two Golden Globe awards in 1972 and 1977. Wilder plays the part of the Mock Turtle in the movie.
Tina Majorino is a very talented teen actress who's been in the acting business since 1994. She is currently 14 and was born on February 7, 1985. Majorino's most popular roles that have caught the most attention of critics and viewers everywhere include Molly in Corrina, Corrina and Toni in Andre from 1994, Enola in Waterworld from 1995, and young Euphemia in the mini-series True Women in 1997. In she was critically acclaimed for her impressive performaces. In her movies she has taken on different voice styles from developing a southern accent to, most recently, taking on a British accent when, in Alice in Wonderland, she plays the title role, Alice. At the time of filming, Majorino was 13.
Ken Dodd, born in Knotty Ash, England on the 8th of November in 1927, is the lecture-reading Mr. Mouse. He, as Simon Russell Beale, was in 1996's Hamlet. Dodd has also made guest appearances on Doctor Who in 1987, as well as Television's Greatest Hits in 1992. Other than that, that is about all I have on him.
Born on September 25, 1966 in the U.K., Jason Flemyng has been acting for most of the 90's. He played in the bomb Spice World, starring everybody's (once) favorite girl-group, 1998's Deep Rising (as Mulligan), the movie Indian Summer from 1997, as well as the live-action version of The Jungle Book in 1994. Flemyng has been featured in Premiere and Empire, both U.K.-based magazines. In Alice, the actor stars as Sir Jack, The Knave of Hearts (and the Cad at the tea party).
Sheila Hancock was born on the Isle or Wight in Enlgand in 1933. She's been acting on both the small and silver screens since 1960. Since then she has been in 3 Men and a Little Lady from 1990, and was in The Brighton Belles television show, the U.K.'s answer to NBC's award-winning and ever-popular The Golden Girls with Estelle Getty and Betty White. Since 1975, she's been married to John Thaw and is the mother of actress Melanie Thaw. Hancock starred on BBC Radio's game show Just a Minute as a regular panelist. Oh, and in Alice, she stars as the Cook.
Simon Russell Beale has just recently begun acting in television and movies. Along with playing the King of Hearts (or the Society Man in Alice's reality) in Alice in Wonderland, Beale has performed in 1996's Hamlet and was the Earl of Moray in Orlando from 1992. In 1997, he played Iago in the National Theatre's production of Othello. Before becoming an actor, Beale'd been a trained choir boy. He was also a first class English graduatefrom Gonville and Caius in the U.K. (Cambridge).
I know very little about Liz Smith. Smith plays Miss Lory in the picture, and has a filmography that dates back to the 1960's. She's had many guest appearances on television shows, however. Liz has also won a British Academy Award. She won the award in 1985 and received it for being the Best Supporting Actress in A Private Function.
Elizabeth Spriggs, born in 1929, plays the Duchess. Her filmography dates back to the 1960's. However, Spriggs has only recently starred in more well-known films. She has lent her talents to the 1995 film Sense and Sensiblity and 1997's Paradise Road. Elizabeth Spriggs has also been credited as Elisabeth Spriggs. The actress has also been a guest star on the television series Doctor Who. Spriggs was nominated in 1996 for a British Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress as Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility.
Donald Sinden has been acting ever since the 1940's, and currently he still is at it. Sinden was born in 1923 on October 9th. Another British-born actor (he in Devon), Sinden has worked in a great number of films, many of them originating from his home country. In Alice, Donald Sinden plays the voice of The Gryphon. In the past, he has also lent his voice as "Doc" in the 1995 animated feature Balto.
Joanna Lumley, a more or less famous actress, gives her voice to the Jim Henson Creture Shop-created Tiger Lily. She was born in India on May 1, 1946. Along with writing a few books, Lumley also has written an autobiography under the title Stare Back and Smile. Along with being featured on the cover of the April 1999 issue of the U.K. magazine Harpers & Queen, Joanna Lumley was also nominated for a British Academy Award in 1999 for her Best Actress for her performance in the television movie A Rather English Marriage.
3: "Who makes up the supporting cast?"
Below I have listed the actors and actresses who act in the roles of minor importance, and which role they actually play. I've decided to restricted the mini-biographies to only the major cast. Note that some of the creatures in the movie were animatronic puppets and required more than one person to bring them to life. Information comes from the movie credits and the soundtrack booklet.
|The White Rabbit||Richard Coombs|
Kiran Shah (also voice)
|The March Hare||Francis Wright|
Adrian Getley (also voice)
|The Dormouse||Nigel Plaskitt|
David Alan Barclay
|The Gryphon||Robert Tygner|
David Alan Barclay
|Mr. Dodo||Peter Bayliss|
|Mr. Eaglet||Heathcote Williams|
|Mr. Duck||Ken Campbell|
|Pat the Gardener||Jason Byrne|
|Bill the Assistant/Gardener||Paddy Joyce|
|Ace of Clubs/Chief Executioner||Murray Melvin|
|1st Soldier/Three of Hearts||Tim Potter|
|2nd Soldier/Four of Hearts||Angus Barnett|
|Six of Hearts/Soldier||Richard Strange|
|Eight of Hearts/Soldier||Toby Ross-Bryant|
|Mr. Two/Royal Gardener #1||Johnathan Broadbent|
|Mr. Five/Royal Gardener #2||Matthew Sim|
|Mr. Seven/Royal Gardener #3||Christopher Ryan|
|Frogface Footman/Waiter||Peter Eyre|
|Fishface Footman/Waiter||Hugh Lloyd|
|Red Bishop||John Owens|
|White Castle||Christopher Greet|
|Red Knight (originally unbilled)||Gerard Naprous|
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4: "Who worked in the basic crew positions?"
Here you are, a chart listing all the people who did major work for the film, as listed in the beginning credits of the film.
|Visual Effects Supervisor||David Booth|
|Creature Effects||Jim Henson's Creature Shop|
|Music Composer||Richard Hartley|
|Costume Designer||Charles Knode|
|Production Designer||Roger Hall|
|Director of Photography||Giles Nuttgens|
|Line Producer||Chris Thompson|
|Executive Producers||Robert Halmi Sr.|
Robert Halmi Jr.
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5: "How can I see Alice? When did it originally air?"
Alice in Wonderland is available on VHS video and DVD by Artisan and Hallmark, released May 25, 1999 to the public. The VHS is available in a sleeve as well as clamshell casing. The VHS covers are also a bit different from the DVD's design. Right after the initial airing, NBC home video also sold (and currently still sells) Alice from NBC Home Video on VHS in a different, black video sleeve that does not feature closed-captioning when played. It was/is available at NBC's Official Website (see links section) as well as by phone, and shipped with the book from the movie (see question 8 for pics of all) for about $30. Oh, and the movie aired from 8 to 11 PM EST with nearly an extra hour of commercials as NBC's Sunday Night Movie on February 28, 1999. For more, see question 7. For future television airings, the new channel Odyssey owns the rights.
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6: "How does the movie differ from the book?"
What a question. Well, there are quite a few ways, some more important than others. The most obvious is the frame story of Alice's stage fright and the guests at her parents' tea party appear in her dream to encourage her. The looking glass was not in the passage of the little door in the hall, and the hall was not round. Alice was originally a bit younger, but this actually takes a turn for the better. Bill and Pat were animals, Bill a lizard and Pat a guinea pig. The Caterpillar was made Major Caterpillar to account for his short sentences, and originally Alice's neck stretched above the trees after eating the mushroom and she encountered a pigeon. She shrank and grew a few more times (this is of minor importance) to get places. The Caucus Race was orignally on an actual beach, not in a library, and there were more animals involved. The Rabbit's house was not in a pop-up book (but who cares, I personally like it better!). The role of Alice's sister is eliminated from the movie, and the house of cards did not originally crumble on her, but the Queen's soldiers. There was no giant hedge maze to get lost in (but that was cool too, even though borrowed from Disney). Alice didn't travel into giant books or listen to trees (but those too displayed great uses of effects). The glass table in the hall was writen to be three-legged, not four. That's literally almost everything different. If you'd like to add anything, just drop me a line.
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7: "What are some of the statistics on the movie?"
All right, sure. Alice in Wonderland runs two hours and nine minutes and was originally three hours long with commercials. It was at first planned to be a mini-series and was once planned to air May 23rd during May sweeps instead of February sweeps. The budget was a whopping 21 million and received mixed reviews. It was critically acclaimed my almost all, however, for it's dazzling special effects (of which there are more than 800, twice as many as Merlin, which was an hour longer). Ten performances of nine songs are scattered throughout the film, nearly all originally written by Lewis Carroll and taken from his famous books. The story remains faithful through some changes, but none too drastic. It was filmed in England on location beginning August 10, 1998. The picture is nearly flaw-proof; the only mistakes are the position of Alice's hair over and behind her shoulders throughout and some positioning near the beginnning. Aspect ratio was regular television, 1.33 : 1. Alice was probably most acclaimed by TV Guide magazine. The original rating on television was TV-PG: on video it's not rated.
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8: "What Alice movie merchandise exists?"
A couple of things have been released to promote/go along with the release of 1999's Alice. In fact, for a television movie, it may have spawned the most merchandise so far, compared to the very few goodies released with others such as Merlin. To date, this is all the merchandise I know of:
See the Pictures section for pictures of most of these items.
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9: "I know I've seen something else much in the style of Alice, but I can't put my finger on what it was. Can you help me?"
Well, this is quite probable, and it's probably not your imagination thinking things either. In the past few years, Robert Halmi Sr. has released quite a few "event" television specials such as Alice, and most if not all had Hallmark Entertainment tacked on the end as the production company. These recent productions which you've probably been thinking similar to Alice in Wonderland in style include 1998's ever-popular Merlin (which also happens to star Miranda Richardson as Queen Mab and Martin Short as Frick), 1997's The Odyssey starring Vanessa Williams, 1996's smash Gulliver's Travels, and most recently, 1999's May sweep mini-series Cleopatra, just to name a few. You may also be reminded of the awful 1985 mini-series of Lewis Carroll's famous tales (see question 12).
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10: "Will we see a Through the Looking Glass?"
The answer to this is an almost definite "no." Too much of the plot in this story was taped on near the end of the original production, and although many would love to see one, there is no way. The frame story that was added on to Alice also contradicts with the making of a sequel. Maybe they should've included all of the second half and made a mini-series instead of a three-hour event...
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11: "What awards has the movie won/been nominated for?"
As of this writing, this Alice in Wonderland has been nominated for six awards. All of the award nominations are for the Emmy Awards. They are as follows:
The Golden Globes aren't until January of 2000. This fact also applies for many of the less major awards in the fact that they are later on. Stay tuned!
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12: "Do you have information on any other Alice movies?"
Although this page is only fully dedicated to the 1999 production, I do have some information on other Alice films though I'll keep it to a minimum. However, I will not post for the Disney picture; I suggest you visit Lenny DeRooy's Disney page for information on that. ALso note that I've only seen some of these listed, so don't count on completely accurate information.
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