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Anne Hathaway on Alice in Wonderland

Published March 3, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Walt Disney Pictures
Alice in Wonderland Alice in Wonderland

In Alice in Wonderland, all Anne Hathaway had to do was play the White Queen. With the Red Queen wreaking havoc, she only had to be a counterpart force of peace. However, Hathaway couldn’t resist adding more to her character.

Anne Hathaway is White Queen in Alice in Wonderland


“That was one of the most fun parts about my character was this freedom that Tim [Burton] gave me,” she said. “The first conversation we had, he said, ‘In Wonderland, I don’t want anything to be all good or all bad, so I don’t want it to be the Red Queen is the bad one and you’re like the nice benevolent one who’s all good.’ So he said, ‘Have fun exploring the relationship between the two of them. They come from the same place.’”

Immediately, Hathaway came up with disturbing character quirks. “I thought, oh how fun if my character has sort of hidden psychosis and is dangerous and is interested in knives and things like that and is kind of adorable on the outside and has tried very hard to become this good, almost over the top, positive creature, but underneath she kind of has a murderous streak that comes out when she’s around weaponry. So, it wasn’t necessarily that they were opposites. They were just sisters who were different.”



Hathaway went further to define backstory that you probably won’t notice on screen. “Let’s start off with the punk rock vegan pacifist thing. The pacifist thing was in the script. My character has taken a vow of non-violence. But, it was also in the script that when she talks about that, she hits a bug and is like [happy about it]. So I thought about it. That kind of gave me the idea that she’s taken this vow against her will, that she recognizes that her sister is sick and believes that a means to an end is cutting people’s heads off and it’s kind of her default setting, like I don’t want her to be in charge so I guess I have to be in charge. But, I like the idea that my character probably, left to her own devices, might not have wanted to be Queen.”

Then came more backstory of Hathaway’s own invention. “So then I started to think about who she was in her ‘off-Queen’ time and then I realized she spends a lot of time in the kitchen and the non-violence thing and her being a vegan and then I just imagined her in mosh pits, not really punching anyone but really butting against people very hard. Then I thought, I like Blondie so I thought she’s blonde so that was kind of obvious. I still wanted her to have a regal thing so I watched a Greta Garbo movie. I watched a lot of her silent films because I still think no one has ever quite moved on film the way she did. I mean, her whole body just looks like it’s breathing and it was a time where acting was very stylized to kind of be very over the top and she’s utterly real in it. She arrives on a train and she’s beautiful.”

Alice in Wonderland opens to theaters on March 5th.

For stills, trailers, posters and more movie info, go to the Alice in Wonderland Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Walt Disney Pictures
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