Marilyn Manson, who's getting ready to marry burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, is about to take another kind of plunge — down the rabbit hole. Manson will play the Queen of Hearts in a cinematic re-imagining of "Alice in Wonderland" called "Living in Neon Dreams."
It won't be too much of a stretch, as Manson played a drag queen in "Party Monster," but he said this role requires a bit more commitment, since it's less of a caricature, however campy the film's looking-glass world might appear to be.
"I'm not just playing a drag queen, I'm playing a woman," Manson explained. "There's a big difference, and there's more work to do on that. So I'm studying early Joan Crawford, and I've been kind of watching the lady at home, picking up some characteristics. She can teach me how to put my stockings on straight, though I think I've already mastered that."
Also in the movie are Alan Cumming (playing the King of Hearts), Nia Vardalos, Daryl Hannah, Tim Roth and Jonathan Pryce. The film will start shooting next month in Berlin and Cape Town, South Africa, and it's projected to come out next year.
As is Manson's next movie — one he's already wrapped: a low-budget adaptation of J.T. LeRoy's book "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" (see "Marilyn Manson A Beer-Swilling Lowlife ... In Film"). The film finished shooting in November and is still making the film festival circuit (its U.S. premiere will be November 8 at the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival). In it, Manson plays a small role as Jackson, one of the many boyfriends of Sarah, the mother of the central character, Jeremiah. Since Sarah dresses her 11-year-old son in her Victoria's Secret underwear, a drunken Jackson gets confused and mistakes the boy for a girl.
"I thought it would be more of a despicable character," Manson said. "I mean, it still is ultimately someone who ends up molesting his girlfriend's son. But [LeRoy] said, 'No, no, he's not a villain, he's real pathetic, and he's a victim by way of circumstance.' So I don't play a real evil, mean character. I haven't seen it yet, but people will be really surprised, because it's not anything like me."
For one thing, his character has more hair. "I had to grow out some eyebrows," he said, "and a week's unshaven look." But he embraced the opportunity to play someone very much unlike himself, he said, for the opportunity to grow as an actor. "It was a good experience," he said. "It was easy to be something else. I've always been theatrical."
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