Tim Burton says hello kitty: ‘The Cheshire Cat taps hatred of cats’


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Are you ready for a trip down the rabbit hole? Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Disney are adding a strange new chapter to the Lewis Carroll classic with their ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ a film that presents a young woman who finds herself in the world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen. She is welcomed as a returning visitor -- but is she, in fact, the same Alice who roamed the trippy realm as a child? Time will tell. Here at the Hero Complex, we’re counting down to the film’s March 5 release with daily coverage. Today, Burton talks about his version of the Cheshire Cat.


Early on in the making of’Alice in Wonderland,’ director Tim Burton had very strong feelings about one of the characters -- and it wasn’t what you would call a good feeling.

‘The Cheshire Cat was a character I had a very specific image of and it’s because I just have this thing about cats,’ Burton said. ‘The Cheshire Cat taps into what you might call my hatred of cats.’

Actor Stephen Fry (‘V for Vendetta,’ ‘Bones’) handles the character in the film and Burton praised him for capturing the unsettling mien of a feline.

‘Stephen Fry did a great job of getting that creepy quality. You know, this weird kind of floaty, too-focused, creepy -- he did it great. He has this thing of getting up close and just sitting there and staring at you, you know, like a cat. It just kind of sits there.’

Burton made a noise, not unlike a tabby struggling with a hairball. ‘I have this thing with cats. And with Cheshire Cat it’s a love-hate relationship. You can, uh, hear it in my voice can’t you?’

Why yes, yes we can.

-- Geoff Boucher


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Top, Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ (Walt Disney Studios). Middle, actor Stephen Fry (handout publicity photo). Bottom, promotional poster for ‘Alice.’