Thousands of hopefuls queue in Plymouth for a chance to be extras in ALICE IN WONDERLAND

The photo at left shows a small fraction of the crowd that queued up in Plymouth, England for the chance to appear as extras in Disney’s new film of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic ALICE IN WONDERLAND, to be directed by Tim Burton (and rumored to include Johnny Depp in the cast as the Mad Hatter). According to the Plymouth Herald, more than 3,000 Plymothians stood in line on August 6th and 7th, hoping to be chosen; of these, more than 1,200 thespians made it through to further consideration. From this group, approximately 250 will be selected to appear in ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Those chosen will have two weeks of shooting, currently scheduled for the last two weeks in September at undisclosed locations around Plymouth.

Casting director Ilenka Jelowicki told the Plymouth Herald, “This is the biggest casting I’ve done–normally about 600 turn up, but today [August 6th, the first day] there has been over a thousand.” Her task grew even more complex on the second day, when twice as many would-be extras arrived. “It’s been amazing here,” Ms. Jelowicki said. “Everyone is so friendly, enthusiastic and very understanding.”

According to the Plymouth Herald, the first person in the queue, Andrew Lessiter, lined up at 2 a.m. and waited eight hours for the doors to open. “It was a very simple process,” said Lessiter. “About 100 people at a time went in and sat down, and were met by the casting director and the hair and make-up lady, who said yes or no. If it was ‘yes,’we went on to be photographed and measured, and were asked to fill in an application form. We were told we would be informed by phone within two weeks whether we had been chosen.”

An extra’s life is more tedium and discomfort than glamor–15-hour days with “a lot of waiting around” in heavy, uncomfortable Victorian costumes–but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those who were chosen. “Three girls went crazy, jumping up and down, madly screaming when I said ‘yes,'” said Ilenka Jelowicki. “I felt like I was on X-factor.”

The Zone thanks Emma for the report; you can read more about the Plymouth casting calls on the Zone’s News & Views forum in the thread on ALICE IN WONDERLAND. –Part-Time Poet