What do Gollum, Kong, The Silver Surfer, the Polar Express, Beowulf and Benjamin Button have in common? They all utilized the innovative technique of 'performance capture" where an actor's movements and expressions are electronically tracked and translated into computer generated imagery (CGI) to make the real-life actor resonate in a hybrid world of animation. With the anticipated release of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, that technique will be taken to its next level as Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter and other characters from the beloved Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" come to life.
Mark Zoradi, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, said, "If ever there was a film that cried out to be presented in Disney Digital 3-D and the premium IMAX 3D format, Tim Burton's fantastic interpretation of Alice in Wonderland is that film. This is going to be an eye-popping cinematic experience as Tim takes moviegoers down the rabbit hole and into the dimensional world filled with incredible characters, sly humor and wild adventures."
Multiple cameras shoot live actors and "captures" them in 3-D inside the computer, where the director and cinematographer pick shots and camera moves that are then edited into a final cut. Performance capture merges the best of both worlds: the details and subtleties of live human acting with and the magic of animation. It blends reality with fantasy in a dream-like form of alchemy. Although it is still in its infancy, it will be exciting to anticipate what lies ahead for this technology when Tim Burton adds his genius to the process.
This sneak preview will provide you with a glimpse of the work in progress...
Alice in Wonderland’s stars Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Michael Sheen, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, and Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas among others. The film is slated to hit theaters on March 5, 2010.
Anne HathawayHelena Bonham CarterMatt Lucas
Johnny Depp ’s possessed portrayal of the Mad Hatter is guaranteed to be a show stopper while Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and Matt Lucas as both Tweedledee and Twiddledum as evidenced by these photos are also going to captivate moviegoers.
Alice will be played by the ‘unknown’ 19-year old Australian Mia Wasikowska. Although she is being Mia Wasikowskacalled an ‘unknown’, she’s been working since 2004 and you may recognize her as the trouble Sophie from HBO’s “In Treatment”.
The film is actually a sequel to the original story, and follows Alice, now 17 years old, as she escapes from a snooty party and follows a white rabbit down a hole, back to Wonderland. The White Rabbit is convinced that he has the right girl, the one who had visited the magical land ten years prior. But Alice doesn’t remember her past visit. The creatures of this eery new world are ready to revolt and are hoping and waiting for Alice to help them out... but will she? Can she? Only Tim Burton has the answers to those questions.
Performance capture is performance art in the hands of the master. And Tim Burton couldn't have chosen better subject matter than Lewis Carroll's classic. See you down the rabbit hole next March!