Green screen work on ALICE was “exhausting,” Johnny Depp tells Mark Salisbury

Writer Mark Salisbury was one of the few journalists allowed behind-the-scenes access to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland while it was filiming; he shares some of his cast interviews in a lengthy feature article in today’s U.K. Telegraph. The Alice shoot marked the first time director Burton has used green screen (to accomodate digital effects) rather than physical sets. “The green itself is a bilious shade, bordering on the fluorescent,” notes Salisbury. “The film’s Oscar-winning producer, Richard Zanuck, says that sickness and lethargy have been a constant problem among cast and crew. Burton has even had special lavender lenses fitted into his glasses to combat the effect.”

When Salisbury asks Johnny Depp to comment on acting in the green-screen environment, Johnny replies: “The novelty of the green wears off very quickly [. . .]. It’s exhausting, actually. I mean, I like an obstacle–I don’t mind having to spew dialogue while having to step over dolly track while some guy is holding a card and I’m talking to a piece of tape. But the green beats you up. You’re kind of befuddled at the end of the day.”

On the other hand, Johnny has only positive things to say about the experience of working with Tim Burton. “He leaves you such room to play, to mess around. That’s the opportunity you dream of as an actor, to say, ‘Look I’d like to try something. It might be absolute crap, but I’d like to see if it works.’ If you don’t try to push a little harder or go a little bit outside, what’s the point? And if it doesn’t work, he’ll just say, ‘All right, you tried it, now try this.’ But when it pays off, and I hear that cackle off screen, that’s when I know I’ve hit something on the nose, for Tim.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Mark Salisbury article; you can read it on the Zone’s News & Views forum, or HERE. Mr. Salisbury is the author of Disney: Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, a lavishly illustrated book due in bookstores in March.

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