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Alice Through the Looking Glass Actors Anne Hathaway & Mia Wasikowska

May 24, 2016

By: Lynn Barker

In Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has captained her own ship and sailed the world for two years when she gets word from Wonderland that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in danger. It all has to do with Time (personified in the film by wacky Sacha Baron Cohen) through which we will also get to see how The Red (Helena Bonham Carter) and White (Anne Hathaway) sister Queens parted ways long ago.

White Queen hopes Alice can helpWhite Queen hopes Alice can help

We found out that both Anne and Mia have a lot to say about female empowerment in films and how this and other movies are changing to enable that. The actors talk their strange costumes, youthful introductions to the world of Alice, Anne talks her “The Princess Diaries” days and more.

Q: Mia, Alice returns after being captain of her ship and everyone is counting on her to help the Hatter. How was it returning to the character and how do you feel about Alice being that strong, kick-ass character?

  • Mia: At the beginning of this film she’s been traveling around the world for the last two years and was captain of her own ship so she’s coming from a very powerful place. I just love that she has a really strong sense of who she is and despite the fact that expectations of her are really low when she returns to England, she’s able to hold onto that sense that she’s worth more as a person.

Hatter made Alice a new bonnetHatter made Alice a new bonnet

Q: Anne, you’re coming back as the White Queen and we get to see the backstory of the divide between the sisters. Was it fun to go back in time and play that younger character with Helena (as the Red Queen)?

  • Anne: Yeah. It was fun to learn that she’s not perfect. I think she’s sort of lovely in the first one but a bit oppressively good so it’s nice to know that, like everyone, she’s got a past and she has regrets and she feels shame, she feels guilt and that you forgive her these things so I actually was really thrilled that we were trying to see what the emotions were about this character who looks so fantastical but then feels so believable.

Helena as the Red QueenHelena as the Red Queen

Q: Can you both talk a little bit about the wild costumes in the film?

  • Mia: Coleen Atwood was the designer and is obviously such a genius but also quite evil because they are very uncomfortable costumes but, in this one, I got to wear lots of trousers and things that were a lot more accessible. Alice is really active so everything felt a little bit more (flexible).  I had a (captain’s uniform) suit at the beginning and the end and even that Oriental sort of skirt I wear is padded so that was really great.
  • Anne: I wore no trousers. I loved it, actually. I thought that Colleen’s costume probably created my character. I had certain ideas about who she was and as soon as I put on the dress, it was like “Oh, she’s there”. I also started to think about the relationship between her and Helena and I thought if you have a family member who has a very large personality, has a lot of emotions, you compensate by taking up less space. I thought here’s somebody who is literally turning herself into almost weightlessness and yet it is still so ornamented so I just thought it was very rich and very airy for my airhead character.

Mia as Alice in Oriental outfitMia as Alice in Oriental outfit

Q: What was your initiation to Lewis Carroll’s books and what do you appreciate more now that you’ve looked closer through these movies?

  • Anne: I first read “Alice in Wonderland” when I was 19 and in college so I think being nineteen and fairly dramatic I focused so much on how well Lewis Carroll described madness, just the idea that you see the world just a little bit off and I remember feeling very connected to that at that time. And, as you feel when you encounter people who champion that way of living, I felt a kinship and at home and was very pleased with it.
  • Mia: I think I first came to like an animated version of the film when I was younger I think my mom showed us the stop motion version of the film and then I read the books I don’t know when the first time but I also read them for the first film and that’s how I was introduced to Alice.

Time (Sacha Baron Cohen)Time (Sacha Baron Cohen)

Q: Mia, your career pretty much started with the first “Alice” so what was it like to come back doing the sequel?

  • Mia: It was really unexpected. I didn’t think it was going to happen and then I was really surprised when Disney started talking about it again but it was nice. Six years had passed and I had been in the world a little bit more and having done the first film and worked with the cast and a lot of the creative team, I knew what I was stepping into the second time around. It was really good because of that.

Alice at a society functionAlice at a society function

Q: Anne, you have been in some family-oriented films like The Princess Diaries films.  Now that you are a young mom, do you think “This is something that my son can watch”?

  • Anne: You give me a lot of credit as a mom. When I was seventeen years old, I thought “My kids are gonna watch this someday”.  I didn’t think about that when I did The Princess Diaries and I got questions about being a role model. It never occurred to me that actors should be role models for a multitude of reasons but, that’s not what I’m interested in so I don’t make films for that reason. If they happen to work out that way sure, I’m thrilled.
  • I’ve now been in a lot of films where you can have a date night in a theater with your family or you can sit down on the couch in sweat pants and become a human amoeba and just chill out together and feel warm and connected and I’m proud of that in my body of work are stories that allow families to experience them together. I can’t say that I’m going to continue to make them because I have a child now. I just will hopefully continue to make them because I respond to them and seek challenges as an actress.

Anne as White QueenAnne as White Queen

Q: The stunt work seems to be bigger and bolder in this. Can you talk about that and what it was like doing your stunts?

  • Anne: I’ll go first but my stunt got cut. It might be on the DVD extras.
  • Mia: That’s where our great stunt lady comes in. I did a couple of very minor things

(Note: Mia’s director talks about how cold it was shooting at night in England in November. Mia was in the 19th century blue frock coat. He said she was blue from the cold.

  • Mia: Yes, everybody enjoyed throwing water on me that night.

Alice back home after two yearsAlice back home after two years

Q: How do you each relate to scenes in the movie about time being against you and females being put in a box?

  • Mia: There are so many messages in this film that I think are great. Just with the message of time, there were always things we wish were different in the past and the best way to have peace with it is to accept it and move forward and not try to change things. As for the female empowerment message, I guess it’s an anomaly to have a big summer blockbuster that has a female lead. I think it’s strange and that’s unusual. Hopefully that will become normal.
  • Anne: There was one scene in which I was surprised to find myself really crying during and it was the scene where Alice wakes up and she’s in a mental institution and the reasons that she was committed were for being excitable and imaginative. They tried to inject her with a drug that would dull her and to make her less herself and more controllable and she fights back and turns it around and winds up injecting him (the doctor) with it.

Q: Good for her!

  • Anne: That part really moved me.. And, in terms of time, I invite all of us to stop saying that women lose power as they get older. I don’t feel trapped as I get older. I’m becoming way more powerful. It’s going to take everybody to stop using that kind of language and take the (story for women) back the way that Alice does.

Alice and The White Queen PostersAlice and The White Queen Posters

Q: Very cool! Growing up were you told you can’t do certain things because you were a woman?

  • Anne: I was really lucky. My parents were very smart and they never said “You can do anything because you’re a girl”. They just said “You can do anything”. And, they said the same to my brothers and I believed them because I loved them and I trusted them. I’m really grateful they didn’t tell me it was going to be harder because I think when you say to someone that it’s going to be harder for you because of x,y or z, you believe it so, you start off a little bit defeated. I think I was really lucky and, as I’ve gotten older, I learned what the challenges are but I’m really happy that my parents gave me that beautiful gust of wind to take off with.

White Queen in dangerWhite Queen in danger

Q: Anne, what kind of relationship did you have with Helena on the days of shooting? Did you discuss the scene together?

  • Anne: I think Helena is one of my favorite people on the planet. I think the world is better because she is on it. She’s so inventive and fresh, literally all the definitions of fresh. She’s got a wonderfully fresh mouth and she’s fearless and vulnerable and open and friendly and I admire her so much so it was really exciting for me to have more scenes with her this time around. Yes, I got to work with an incredible actor but also because I got to talk to her between scenes which I love. I think we had a really nice time crafting a sisterly relationship together and trying to find something that felt true to us and that people would understand.

Alice Through the Looking Glass PosterAlice Through the Looking Glass PosterCourtesy of Disney

Alice Through the Looking Glass is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Do you enjoy the tales of Alice? Are you into the cast of characters and the fantasy in the films? Let everyone know and leave a comment.