How Tim Burton Is Influencing Alice Through The Looking Glass

After helming 2010’s Alice In Wonderland, Tim Burton made the decision not to return for its sequel, Alice Through The Looking Glass. Instead, the reins of the growing fantasy franchise were handed off to The Muppets director James Bobin – but that doesn’t mean that Burton’s presence wasn’t felt in the making of the movie. While seemingly not overly hands on, the stylish filmmaker did have a part to play in the production as both the eye that originally created the vision for the world, and a cautionary tale for just how hard the endeavor would be for those involved.

James Bobin himself revealed the specific influence of Tim Burton earlier this month while participating in a roundtable interview during an early press day for Alice Through The Looking Glass. Asked about the involvement of the Big Eyes director, Bobin first explained that the world that the filmmaker created with Alice In Wonderland was obviously huge in the development of the sequel – but he also added that he found opportunity to adjust the look and have it better resemble the work of illustrator John Tenniel. Said the filmmaker,

I hope the film is a combination of Tim’s great work in the first one, in terms of creating the universe and look to a degree, but also… Alice in England is a huge deal, I mean, obviously everyone in England has that book. Your grandparents have it, your parents have it, you have it. Everyone has it. You know it really well. And so, my experience of that was far more from the book in terms of the illustrations by John Tenniel, so I also knew of that world. I want to bring a bit of that to it.

As you would imagine, part of making Alice Through The Looking Glass also included some face time between James Bobin and Tim Burton – and what’s funny is that what stands out in the English filmmaker’s memory was the warning that he received about taking on the project. That being said, what was intended as a warning actually wound up making the sequel director more excited for the production. He explained,

The first thing I did was go to talk to him about it, because obviously I thought he’d done it before and I wanted to know what I was getting myself in for honestly. And he was very honest. He said, ‘It’s not easy. It’s incredibly hard.’ And I thought, ‘That’s a good thing for me,’ because as a director you work so intensely, it takes you away from your family for a long period, so you’d better bloody like it otherwise you shouldn’t do it.

Would you have preferred to see Tim Burton take more of a hands-on approach to the making of Alice Through The Looking Glass, or do you think it’s a good thing that James Bobin was able to take it more in his own creative direction? Hit the comments below with your thoughts, and look for the film in theaters on May 27th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.