Johnny Depp Says Making 'Alice In Wonderland' Was 'A Gas'

Director Tim Burton has 'gone to new heights,' actor says.

Under a steady rain and with screaming fans surrounding them, Johnny Depp and the cast of "Alice in Wonderland" arrived Thursday night at London's Odeon Leicester Square for the world premiere of Tim Burton's 3-D reimagining of Lewis Carroll's beloved children's tale.

Joining Depp in the soggy yet festive environment were co-stars Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska and Michael Sheen, as well as Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam, Lily Cole and Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. Arriving in U.S. theaters on March 5, Burton's film tells the story of Alice years after her original trip down the rabbit hole as she once again tumbles unknowingly into the bizarre land of talking rabbits, grinning cats and hookah-puffing caterpillars. "Alice" represents Depp and Burton's seventh big-screen collaboration over 20 years, and as Depp told reporters on the red carpet, the duo still have a blast on set.

"I had a ball," he said. "Tim called me and asked if I wanted to play the character [of the Mad Hatter] and I immediately said yes. I wanted to find a way to do something I thought was a bit different, maybe hadn't been done before. It was a great challenge. It was a gas. For me, it was just a ball. But anytime I get to work with Tim is always the best pleasure there is."

Following genre-bending work on pictures like "Edward Scissorhands," "Corpse Bride" and "Sweeney Todd," Depp said that "Alice" is unlike any of their previous efforts. "In terms of cinema itself, Tim has gone beyond any place he's ever traveled before," he explained. "He's gone far above anything he's done before. He's really gone to new heights."

Burton soared so high creatively that Hathaway admitted she often had no clue what the director was up to. "I've been very curious for so long," the actress said. "Tim would try and explain it and I would really not know what he was talking about most of the time. It's exciting to finally get to see."

For Burton, though, the attraction to "Alice" was not so much a need to outdo himself but the chance to explore classic literary stories. "They're iconic characters that have been around for so long, and the opportunity to deal with them and play with them was really fun," he said.

Check out everything we've got on "Alice in Wonderland."

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