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Producer Richard Zanuck Discusses Alice in Wonderland

By Brian Gallagher — May 29th, 2010

Producer Richard Zanuck talks about the Tim Burton film

Tim Burton's blockbuster rendition of the fairytale Alice in Wonderland is arriving on DVD, Blu-ray and three-disc Blu-ray June 1st, 2010. In the seventh of a seven-part interview series, we caught up with the actors and the filmmakers behind the movie to discuss the making of this billion dollar epic. We now talk with producer Richard Zanuck, who played the title character in the film. Here is our conversation with him:

You must be hoping that Alice in Wonderland will achieve classic status?

Richard Zanuck: It is a very good picture. It's Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, 3D and Disney. And the Disney imprint on it means a lot to this type of picture. I think it will have a long and enduring life. Like many classics, this will go from generation to generation. It has all of the ingredients that would make it a classic, must-see DVD. It will have great life after the theatrical release of the movie.

This film should look amazing on Blu-ray?

Richard Zanuck: I couldn't agree more! I just saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on an amazing Blu-ray version and the difference was very noticeable. It is a whole new experience.

Disney's original version of Alice in Wonderland was in 1951 and now we have this remarkable version.

Richard Zanuck: We take a journey with this film through the mind and imagination of Tim Burton and I can't think of another film maker who would give it that quality. The wonderful thing about this picture is that it appeals to all ages. Last week in Los Angeles I brought my seen year-old grandson to see it. He had read about 50 pages of the screenplay beforehand. With him too came his five year-old sister and she was a bit concerned that it might be too dark so I brought her mother along just in case. But she was absolutely riveted. The seven year-old, who knew what was coming, loved every second and the five year-old took her 3D glasses off for a few seconds, here and there. After the film was over she said she wanted to see the film again. To get that reaction from someone that age! This appeals to the broadest possible audience.

It must make you pleased that Alice In Wonderland is something that can be enjoyed by the entire family?

Richard Zanuck: It's very reassuring and gratifying. I have made every kind of film. Looking at my career you can't really say that I make a specific kind of picture. My career covers every subject imaginable. But there is nothing more gratifying than coming up with a film when you get young and old to watch...and then they want to see it again. That is the test of true success when you get repeat business. I have seen Alice in Wonderland more than a dozen times and every time I see it, I start to concentrate not on the characters but all the stuff that's going on in the background. The detail is like no other film I have ever seen. And it is all out of Tim's imagination. He is a genius and this gives us a glimpse into his world. When he told me that he was very interested in this subject I thought that of all the people that I would like to journey with into Wonderland, the one I'd like to go with is Tim Burton. More so than anybody else.

The film has a great cast but the amazing discovery is Mia as Alice. She must have been crucial?

Richard Zanuck: Everybody, young and old, wanted to be Alice. We wanted a fresh face that nobody had seen before and so we went on a massive hunt around the globe. We kept narrowing it down. Mia made three trips from Australia to London to meet Tim. She finally won out. There is a freshness, a purity and resolve about her that is quite extraordinary. She has all the qualities and she is extraordinary.

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and three-disc Blu-ray June 1st.

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