Richard D. Zanuck

EXCLUSIVE: Richard D. Zanuck Goes Down the Rabbit Hole with ‘Alice and Wonderland’

Lately it seems like the word legend is thrown around pretty frequently but never has it been more perfectly apt then when used to describe Hollywood producer Richard D. Zanuck. Born into a show business dynasty as the son of former head of 20th Century Fox, Daryl Zanuck, he made a name for himself in 1975 when he collaborated with director Steven Spielberg to essentially create the summer blockbuster with the film Jaws. Since then Zanuck has produced some of the most beloved and critically acclaimed films of his generation including The Verdict, Cocoon and Road To Perdition but it was '1989s Driving Miss Daisy, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture. Recently Zanuck has stayed very busy producing hit films like Yes Man, The Book of Eli and Clash of the Titans, but it his relationship with visionary director Tim Burton that excites the seventy-five year old producer the most.

Richard D. Zanuck: Well I actually want to get involved in everything that Tim is doing because it is, particularly at this point in my career, it's very stimulating for me to watch his imagination run wild with these tales. When I say wild I don't mean undisciplined it's just he has such incredible vision and the way he puts everything a little off center, its just fascinating to watch and I've enjoyed these last five pictures with him. It's been a wonderful experience. But the secret to Alice in Wonderland, and what attracted both of us actually was the product of the writer Linda Woolverton who wrote this and had the basic concept. The secret to it was making Alice an older girl, a young lady and that provided, and I hate to use the word arc but for lack of a better word it provided that character to start off in one place, experience a whole different set of experiences and then come back at the end a different, stronger personality.

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Producer Richard Zanuck Discusses ‘Alice in Wonderland’

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.

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EXCLUSIVE: Producer Richard Zanuck Talks ‘Dark Shadows’ Delays Visionary director Tim Burton and two-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp have collaborated together to make some of the most interesting and beloved films of their generation including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow. In fact, the two are considered by many to be one of the best director and actor teams of all-time, so it should be no surprise that after their latest outing, Alice in Wonderland, grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide that the two would consider taking on the classic '60s soap opera, Dark Shadows as their next project. The series ran from 1966-1971 and was basically a soap opera that incorporated werewolves, zombies, monsters, witches, ghosts, time-travel, parallel-universes, and featured a vampire named Barnabas Collins in the lead role. Both Burton and Depp have gone on the record as saying that they were huge fans of the show growing up and Depp has even stated that he was obsessed with the character of Barnabas Collins as a child. At one point production on the film was scheduled to start as early as this summer with Burton directing and Depp playing the role of Barnabas Collins himself, however post-production on Alice in Wonderland and Depp's commitment to other projects seems to have delayed the production from beginning for now.

One man that knows both Burton and Depp very well is legendary Hollywood producer Richard D. Zanuck (Driving Miss Daisy, Jaws). Zanuck has produced three of the six live-action films that the director and the actor have collaborated on, which include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd and most recently Alice in Wonderland, which will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 1st. Zanuck is set to reunite with Burton and Depp again on Dark Shadows and we recently had a chance to speak with the producer about the upcoming project. "That is still in the works but it's been delayed a bit," Zanuck confirmed. "We expected to do it much earlier, actually before Alice was finished. We must have been intoxicated when we thought that Tim could direct this picture while he was doing the post-production of Alice. Most of the post-production on Alice was done on computers and there were months and months of down time. At one point we thought that we could make it then and then we realized right away that Tim couldn't do it. Then that put it behind a couple of pictures that Johnny had lined up and right now we're waiting for him to finish The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and then he is going to take some time off and then do Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides next," explained Zanuck.

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