Monday, May 30, 2016

A chat with the Alice Through the Looking Glass Producer Suzanne Todd to find out what goes into making an amazing movie. ‪#‎ThroughTheLookingGlassEvent

**Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this event, all opinions are 100% my own **

What is it like making Alice Through the Looking Glass? Well no one would know better than the producer of this great family film, the person who supervises the making of the film from start to finish, from having input on who is cast, to what the direction the film will go in, the producer plays an essential role in getting the best movie out to the audience. 
We were very fortunate to have a sit down chat with Producer Suzanne Todd Producer, of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. She is one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. Her films include the Austin Powers films, G.I. Jane, Memento, Across the Universe and the upcoming film Bad Moms.

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer / 

At the Disney Media Moms Conference earlier this month, I got a back stage look of the making of Alice Through The Looking Glass,  while we were there, Suzanne Todd, gave us a look into the new movie. It is amazing how much is special effects. We got to see a scene as it was filmed, before the special effects are added. It was neat, you may not appreciate all that goes into making of a film. It may seem like they just film and add a special effect here and there but a good deal of the film is digitally added after production. 
Before we start off on what the interview entailed, I have to tell you a little bit about the moments before the interview, Suzanne told us a story about a wonderful charity Maria Shriver's Move for Minds. This is a charity that supports the research of women’s brains and Alzheimer’s disease, that Suzanne was raising money for. Friends and family donated and someone she did not know and had never met also donated, in honor of her grandma. This happened to be a blogger in our group.. Suzanne was so touched, she brought this blogger a gift some amazing Alice shoes.

These were the shoes Suzanne wore at the Disney Media Moms Conference and the crowd loved them, and so did Suzanne, telling us at the conference how hard it was it get the shoes and how much she adored them. But because Suzanne was so touched at the donation she gave these shoes to Kerry, from She Saved. This was such a sweet gesture from a genuine person who really wanted to thank Kerry for the donation that warmed her heart.  This gesture got most of us a little teary eyed. What a way to start an interview! 
Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

What did Suzanne have to tell us in this interview about this movie?  She shared her struggles being a female producer in the entertainment business and some behind the scene tidbits about the great actors in the film. Here are some of my favorite questions from this fun and inspirational interview.

What is it like to be a top female producer in Hollywood? Have you ever had to deal with that type of discrimination being a female in the business? 

Do you mean yet today?? Because for sure it happened yesterday!  Like every day! It's just part of working in Hollywood.  Unfortunately you look at these dismal numbers of, female directors and female producers.  I've been doing it literally 30 years now, and it hasn't really changed very much.  I wish that it had changed more.  It’s certainly taken small steps forward, but it's not like it's hugely different.  It is, it is very difficult.  I'd like to lie and say oh, no, that's not true at all, but that's true.  It's harder as a woman”.

Do you work with other females in the industry then to help mentor them and help them succeed?  

I do, I went to film school at USC, so I always had a mentee every year from there, a girl, and then I always have a mentee every year from the producer's guild, which is another group that I'm affiliated with.  I was on the board of a girl’s school here called the Archer School for girls, for six years.  I work with those girls also.  I love spending time around, young people, because they have so much more energy than I do. I'm old and tired, and you spend time around like your mentee, a young person, you get so much inspiration from them”.

How hard it is being a working mom with such a top profile job?

As a single mom, how are you making all this work?  According to Suzanne, “ I have my kids 100 percent, I found over the years that it's important to have time for the three of them together with me, family time, but also to have individual time with them.  It is important to carve out time for each of them, because they're all, different and unique in their one way.  My schedule is always crazy.  I use Google calendar.  Everybody has a color and I always joke and say it's like a war operation of like moving people around, you know how it is. It's just a little bit of craziness”. I have to agree with Suzanne, I need my Google Calendar as well, it helps me organize my hectic life too!
Was Alice Through the Looking Glass easier or tougher than the first movie? 

In a way harder because the response to the first film was so kind of unexpected and overwhelming.  There's all this pressure, you want to do something always with movies that will be commercially viable, because that's why you get to make more movies, but you also want to do something that says something that's important to you.  For me with the three kids, the older I get, the less I want to ever do a movie that doesn't feed my soul.  You don't want to do those movies that you're just kind of doing because you need to, if you don't have to.  

We built big sets on the second one, and getting the cast together was much harder on the second one because they've all continued to have flourishing, amazing careers, and have won an Oscar since then and how they've done so many amazing things and Johnny's always booked. It probably took us almost another year to really get started, to get all the actors when they could work at the same time.  And even then, you talk about the, scheduling with the three kids, imagine with the actors because it wasn't like we have all the actors for the three months we need them.  We have Johnny for these days here and we have Anthony's days here.  We have Sasha for these days, when he's finishing the other movie.  And it's all like a very complicated jigsaw puzzle”.  
Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

In this movie Alice, has so many wonderful scenes, but do you have one that you like the most or is more special to you? 

“There's sort of a running joke from the two movies, because I work sometimes with my younger sister who happens to have red hair. There is this sort of Red Queen, White Queen joke, not that the White Queen is the good one and Red Queen is the bad one.  Although you may have thought that in the first movie, certainly in the second movie, you get to see it. I love all the scenes.  There is something about that sister story line, because I have two sisters, that's very special for me.  

When you look at the young White Queen, she's not a bad person.  I think all of us, my kids for sure have behaved that way.  I behaved that way when I was a kid.  When you just make a mistake, she just did the wrong thing and in the moment, you feel like you're on the spot and she said the wrong thing.  When you see in the movie the trajectory of everything that happened because of that… I love that scene at the end where they have a little tiny bit of reconciliation, although we'll see how long that lasts, if we make another movie”. 
Have any fun stories from filming the movie  with Johnny Depp and Sasha Baron Cohen?  Do you want to share any of those with us?

“For sure!  I thought one of the funniest things was, Sasha talked about how when he's developing his character, the costume is really, really important for him.  When we got into it with our genius, talented Colleen Atwood, Sasha played so many interesting characters before that there was certain things he wanted to stay away from.  He didn't want to do anything he had done before, so then it was kind of this process of elimination. The one thing he really, really wanted to do was wear tights.  I thought was so funny, and I didn't totally understand it, but I went to the first costume fitting and I saw him in the tights.  His legs are ridiculous. 

He has like two spider legs where literally like his thigh is the same size as his ankle, which if you look closely in the movie, you'll see, but I love that Sasha understood the ridiculousness, the skinniness of his legs, and that's why he wanted those little pantaloons with the tights.  With Johnny, obviously we weren't inventing a new character, but it was so, so amazing.  It wasn't something I was thinking about the first day that Johnny was working and he came and gone through the makeup and the wig and the contacts and everything.  We were doing a scene and I remember the first time he opened his mouth and spoke, I, I got tears in my eyes, because it was like seeing the Hatter again.  It had been so many years in between,  Johnny, is so gifted bringing vulnerability to the Hatter, even behind all of the craziness.  He’s such a talented actor and it was just so sweet”. 

Do you have a special message for single moms who are in pursuit of their career that they love?

“I definitely sweat the small stuff less and I feel like in my old life, I definitely sweated it more.  Because I don't have time for it, or the energy for it, but situations, people, things that bring drama and conflict and aren't productive moving forward things, I really stay away from or avoid or I will cross the street to get away from. I'm very, very focused on what I think will be a positive outcome, and it's something I actually talk about a lot with my kids, you know, and stuff that comes up for them, because, I always think the best advice I can ever give myself is the advice I tell my kids, because I'm much better at telling my kids what to do usually than I am at telling myself.  

If I pause and think about what I would tell them, then I usually do a better job, but that idea of trying to avoid the stuff that actually isn't helping you get where you need to go, having negative thoughts inside or telling yourself that something is harder than it really is, because it's not really helping you".
The theme of Alice Through the Looking Glass was you can learn from the past and you can’t change it, it is the theme of life really, enjoy the time you have and learn from the time that has past. According to Suzanne. “ You really have no choice, because you can’t go back.  Looking backward is in some ways, just a waste of time”. Difficult to do at times, but so true! 

Suzanne Todd was such a professional and an infectiously happy person, she seemed to genuinely love what she does. She is just a busy working mom, who shows she can do it all raise a family and produce amazing movies. Suzanne is such an inspiration, to working moms like me and to mompreneurs everywhere. Be sure to go out and see her amazing work Alice Through the Looking Glass, in theaters everywhere!
Be sure to stay social with Alice Through the Looking Glass:
Visit the official Alice Through the Looking Glass site here:
Like Alice Through the Looking Glass on Facebook:
Follow Alice Through the Looking Glass on Instagram:
Follow Walt Disney Studios on Twitter: 

Stay Social with Suzanne Todd and follow on Twitter @TeamSuz 

If you would like to donate be sure to visit the website: Maria Shriver's Move for Minds!

Alice Through the Looking Glass is playing in theaters everywhere!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


Debi@The Spring Mount 6 Pack said...

I love reading behind the scenes like this. I watched this movie the other day and we loved it. I loved all of the characters.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All said...

The classic Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite animated movies ever. I am curious to see how this one turned out.

Kristi said...

What a fun event and fabulous interview opportunity as well. Those them, and what fun colors.

Turning the Clock Back said...

My daughter really wants to see this movie. Looks like you had a fun time!

Olivia Douglass said...

I cannot wait to see this movie!! What a great interview, Suzanne looks like she was a fun interview.

Jerry Marquardt said...

I would love to see this movie. I think that it is perfect and has a very interesting plot.

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Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.