Thursday, 4 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland week: Helena Bonham Carter

“Everyone is mad in Alice In Wonderland. Except her,” says Helena Bonham Carter, sat in her trailer and looking like a demented version of Bette Davis’ Queen Elizabeth I with her heart-shaped red wig, bright blue eye shadow, and exceedingly high forehead in her role as the Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. “I got quite a good book called Tigger On The Couch analysing the maladies of people’s favourite children’s characters and I’m in there. I’ve got acquired situational narcissism. Johnny’s psychotic, shared psychotic disorders, shared with March Hare. I’ve got total narcissism, because everything is about me, obviously, which it is.”

Alice marks the sixth time Bonham Carter’s worked with her director-partner. “I got the script and he said will you consider playing The Red Queen,” she recalls, “and I said I’m so flattered and then… sweetly my agent said I don’t understand why they’re not considering you for the White Queen because she’s described as small and delicate and beautiful. And then I read my description: small, big head, very angry.” She laughs. “I thought, Oh great, that’s how he sees me. But I do love the part.

“I was a big fan of Alice In Wonderland,” Bonham Carter continues. “I’ve always been a fan of tiny things and people changing sizes and just certain characters really stuck in [my mind], the Duchess and the baby pig. It hasn’t got a great plot, but it’s fun. When I was child I didn’t notice it didn’t have a great plot, but as an adult you go, ‘Where’s the plot?’ And that’s what I think is so great about the script. It gives it a plot and it gives it an emotional context, it makes sense of it. Also, it’s a bit like Alice herself, I’ve been here before but everything’s a bit different.”

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