HOLLYWOOD — Inarguably one of the greatest director/actor pairings of all time, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are celebrating their 20th anniversary together this year — and doing it with their seventh film, the eagerly anticipated “Alice in Wonderland,” in theaters March 5.
From their beginnings with “Edward Scissorhands” through “Ed Wood,” “The Corpse Bride,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the rest, they’ve made hundreds of decisions together. From which films to make, to which roles Depp should play, to how he should do any given line-reading, fans have delighted to many of their choices. But when we caught up with the duo on Friday (February 19), we had to mix it up a bit and ask: What is the worst idea either one has ever brought to the other?
“Maybe just any time I’ve called him,” Burton grinned, looking over at his frequent leading man.
“I remember one morning on ’Sleepy Hollow,’ ” Depp began, referring to the 1999 hit that had him playing Ichabod Crane. “I came in to block a scene, getting a cup of coffee — you’re only half awake. Tim was there, giggling a little bit.
“I said, ’OK, what’s the scene?’ ” Depp continued. “And he said, ’Well, this is where we’re going to strap you to this large metal thing — which is attached to these giant horses — and then we’ll drag you across two soundstages for the entire day.”
Added his director with a smile, “That was on Christmas Eve, I believe.”
“Yeah, it was on Christmas Eve!” Depp agreed. “And the horses … well, I suspect they might have gone for curry not long before I was strapped in.”
“Both of them,” Burton said with no hint of apology. “He was dragged around for a couple hours by these flatulating horses.”
These days, the duo are making a stink in a far different way — taking a fresh look at Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale in a 3-D version of “Alice in Wonderland” that has Depp playing the Mad Hatter. And with all these classics that Depp and Burton have been revisiting (Wonka, Alice, etc.), the director revealed that Depp’s most awful idea is the ’70s Saturday morning TV show he keeps wanting them to remake.
At this point in the interview, we were pretty sure that Depp and Burton were kidding — but just then, the world’s biggest superstar unleashed a pitch-perfect imitation of Sid & Marty Krofft’s talking flute character.
“Jimmy! Jimmy!” Depp screeched in a tiny, high-pitched squeak.
“Look, he’s got the voice down!” Burton beamed with approval. “Perfect!”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Alice In Wonderland.”
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