Friday, June 3, 2016

There will be no Bobin and weaving these questions, an interview with Alice Through the Looking Glass Director James Bobin. #‎ThroughTheLookingGlassEvent

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

Have you had the chance to take a journey with Alice through the Looking Glass yet? This whimsical movie is great for the whole family. Alice Through the Looking Glass is currently playing in theaters everywhere! To celebrate the release of this spectacular film, I recently had a chat with the Director  of Alice Through the Looking Glass, James Bobin. 

                                     Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Mr. James Bobin is a talented writer and director most known for his work as the Director of The Muppets and The Muppets Most Wanted and as a writer for Da Ali G Show. He took time from his busy whirlwind press tour where he traveled from England and Madrid, New York and then finally to California to speak with us about his newest project Alice Through the Looking Glass.  
I did not realize how many years it takes to bring a project like this to life, and to make it to the big screen! James started working on Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2013. For a director it seems like you eat breathe and live the life of the movie you are making. According to James Bobin,  “it’s nice for me to sort of show the film to people because I lived with it for a very long time by myself in a small room in Burbank. So it's very nice to get to show it to people because it's a funny thing where you live with it for so long, it's so a part of you. And to kind of let it go and just show people the thing you’ve been doing all this time”. And we were excited to hear about it too!
Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

How did you get attached to the project?

James Bobin:  “I was working for Disney, I made some Muppets movies for them back in the day. And that was really fun.  I remember being on set, with my executive Kristen Burr, she mentioned the word Alice to me. Of course I jumped at that because, I grew up in England. Alice is part of your life. She's  someone who you know really well,  she's just part of your makeup. My parents read it to me, I read it as a kid. I did the same with my children. We love Alice in our family. When I found out I was really excited because, when you know something it's a quite good way for starting it. You think you have a clear idea of who she's gonna be in the film. Who I felt Alice was to me growing up. When I read Lewis Carroll as a kid he used to make me laugh. He has a very witty way of writing”.
"I think comedy is often about the specificity of language. For me, all my life so far I've been making jokes and comedy.  It felt like a very natural thing to do is try and use that in this world because obviously Tim’s thing is so beautiful and so beautifully constructed. That was a really good foundation to start from. I thought if I came on that I could kind of bring some of that British comedy back a bit. So it's a bit different. I mean it needed to be different. I think sequels need to be different. It's nice to, pay tribute and make sure you respect the origins of the story and the characters. But people want to see generally something which is a progression or something new or if it has a different sight, feel or tone”.

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

You worked with Sacha Baron Cohen in the past with the Ali G Show. Was he your immediate first choice for the character of Time?

James Bobin:  “Yeah, I mean obviously when you work with someone as brilliant as Sacha you always try to think of ways of getting him back involved in things you're doing. So, he and I worked years ago on Borat and Ali G and Bruno. To do that job you have to create characters that live in the real world. And people aren't gonna say to you I don't believe who you say you are.
To his great credit they never, ever did. I mean people throw us out of stuff for all sorts of different reasons but never because they didn't believe who he was. And so I knew that if you're going to create a new character for this world particularly whereby you have iconic characters like the Mad Hatter and Alice and the Red Queen.

We needed to create a character, which is Time. And then Time of course is Lewis Carroll’s idea. It's not my idea. I only borrowed it from him. Lewis Carroll talks about time as a person in the book Alice in Wonderland. Hatter says, when he very first meets Alice at the tea party, he's kind of stuck, I've been stuck here since last month where Time and I quarreled. I thought that is a brilliant idea for a character. Sacha’s very good at playing the sort of over confident idiot. That was a very good character choice for him”.
What was the most challenging aspect of this movie for you?

James Bobin: “For me, the story is challenging because it's not the story of the book. I realized that it's quite an unusual because Lewis Carroll wasn’t that concerned with narrative. He liked imagery, ideas. And the book kind of falls in on itself deliberately. Things happen, and then other things happen. They seem very consequential. It's only cause and effect. I knew for a film would make an interesting avante guarde movie. I'm not sure I could do that in this situation. I knew the story would be a new story. I knew Linda had an idea about the time travel movie based on the characters from before. But at the same time I wanted to pay tribute to the book.

I wanted to take elements of the book like the backwards room and obviously the looking glass and the characters and the spirit of Lewis Carroll. That was a challenge to try and make a story, which is complex and interesting but not overly so in a way which would be distracting for children”.
What was the transition like going from directing live action and Muppets to a lot of CGI characters?

James Bobin:  “It’s kind of why I did this film because it's so different. The Muppets I dearly loved and was really fun. With the Muppets you shoot where you shoot, you make it the edit becomes, footage you have. With this what I found was you had much more flexibility because you can basically keep pursuing ideas way longer than you would be able to in live action because it's animated. You could have an idea almost like a year later and put that into the animated creature’s mouth, which is fun.

It means you can be very creative for a long time. One of my major objectives was to try and create a world where you’d be happy to spend an hour and a half of your time because there's very few things in the world these days you do for an hour and a half. There aren't many things you do for that long.  I really wanted to make sure everyone was very happy and you sure must be sad to leave at the end. It's the feeling I wanted to convey. I hope I succeeded in that”.
The feel of the original classic is here in this version. In Alice Through the Looking Glass there are even tributes to the classic Lewis Carroll book. The chess match is in the original looking glass book, the chess game in progress in the book is the same chess game in progress in the backwards room.

The mantel piece clock in the room is the same mantel piece clock that John Tenniel drew in 1871. For James Bobbin those little touches in this movie meant a lot to him. Being the director of 2 Muppets films, what Alice character did James Bobin think would be a good fit for Miss Piggy? Well the Red Queen of course!  “She’d have a gigantic pig head. It would be so great!” Ha ha, yes I would have to agree with him there… 
Now that is a movie I would love to see, a Muppets Alice movie! A fun fact that we learned about Helena Bonham Carter’s character the Red Queen… The amazing costume was designed by Collen Atwood.. designed down to even the smallest detail.. the bloomers that Helena wore had hearts sewn into them!

 Only Helena knew about them, it is pretty great to go through that much detail for a character, even though no one will be able to see it. It goes to show how much was given to detail in this fantastic film. Alice Through the Looking Glass is playing in theaters everywhere! Why not take the family this weekend and go on an amazing journey through the looking glass! 

Be sure to stay social with Alice Through the Looking Glass:
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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 .


Jenny @cookeatgo said...

My daughter and I are so excited to go see this movie!!! What an amazing opportunity to be able to interview people from the movie.

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for sharing this interview. I LOVED the first movie, and I'm looking forward to what they'll be doing this time around.

Jennifer said...

I am so totally excited to see this movie. I love all the actors and characters, and Alice has always been one of my favorite literary worlds.

Allie D. said...

It is so awesome that you got to meet the writer and director of the movie! I can't wait to watch it this weekend!

Allison said...

Alice in Wonderland has always been a favorite movie in our family. We can't wait to watch Through the Looking Glass. So cool you got to meet the writer and director.

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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.