Casting auditions for 250 extras were held in the British city of Plymouth on 6th and 7th August 2008. Requirements were for people with a 'Victorian look' and for applicants to have no visible tattoos, piercings or dyed hair.
Actress Mia Wasikowska beat out several candidates for the role of Alice, including Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan, who lobbied for the role.
This film marks the 7th time Johnny Depp has worked under the direction of Tim Burton and the 6th time for Helena Bonham Carter.
Principal photography of this movie took 40 days.
Despite the fact that there have been many other Alice in Wonderland films, Tim Burton has said he never felt a emotional connection to it and always thought it was a series of some girl wondering around from one crazy character to another. (In fact, the original books are part of a once-popular fantasy genre in which the character does nothing except wander around from one crazy encounter to another. Those films which replicated this were being true to the spirit of the original books.) So with this, he attempted to create a framework, an emotional grounding, which he felt he never really had seen in any version before. Tim said that was the challenge for him - to make Alice feel like a story as opposed to a series of events.
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp worked hard to give the Mad Hatter more depth and presence than in past portrayals. In fact, the pair swapped sketches and themes for the character prior to creating this new version.
According to Tim Burton, it was Mia Wasikowska's gravity that won her the role.
This marks the 3rd time Michael Gough has come out of retirement to appear in a film by Tim Burton. This also marks his 5th film under Burton's direction.
Johnny Depp, who says that he likes "an obstacle" whilst filming, admitted that he found the process of filming on a green screen "exhausting", and that he felt "befuddled by the end of the day".
Danny Elfman scored the film to green screen footage.
In the trailer, it is visible that the Mad Hatter has mismatched pupils. The right one is dilated and the left one is not. Medically speaking, that implies serious brain injury.
The Los Angeles Times reports that film director Tim Burton based the White Queen on TV cook and cookbook author Nigella Lawson. The character in the movie is played by Anne Hathaway. "There's this very beautiful cooking show host in England named Nigella Lawson and I quietly had her as my image for this character," Burton said. "She's really beautiful and she does all this cooking, but then there's this glint in her eye and when you see it you go, 'Oh, whoa, she's like really ... nuts.' I mean in a good way. Well, maybe. I don't know."
Helena Bonham Carter stated on a February 17, 2010 "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (2005) show that two weeks before its premiere, Tim Burton was still working on the movie.
Before Tim Burton was involved with the project, Anne Hathaway was offered the titular role of Alice, but she turned it down because it was too similar to other roles she had previously played. However, she was keen to work with Burton, so was pleased to be cast as the White Witch. She shot all her scenes in two weeks.
The first Tim Burton film not to have opening credits.
The name of Alice's father in the movie, Charles, is an homage to the author of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass", Lewis Carroll also known as Charles Dodgson.
Michael Sheen was originally cast as the Cheshire Cat, but backed out due to scheduling conflicts.
Dwayne Johnson and David Walliams were considered for the role of The Mad Hatter.
In the scene where the Hatter is making hats, there are two pictures next to the door where the Knave of Hearts enters. One picture is the Mock Turtle from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and the other is the Walrus from "Through the Looking-Glass".
The Mad Hatter asks Alice several times, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" This is directly from the Lewis Carroll books. Carroll admits that there never was an answer to the question, he made it up without an answer. Some people have claimed the answer is because Edgar Allan Poe worked on both.
The battle scene at the end resembles a chess scene from afar to pay tribute to the chess game that Alice is playing all throughout the original text, "Through the Looking Glass".
Emmy Rossum was considered to play the White Queen, but Tim Burton felt she was too young.
One of Alice's ships at the end is named the "Wonder." This being a Disney film, it is a reference to Disney Cruise Line's "Wonder" ship.
Director Trademark: [Tim Burton] [Black and white stripes] Tweedledum and Tweedledee's shirts.
Johnny Depp watched the Scottish comedy show "Rab C. Nesbitt" (1990) to perfect his character's Glaswegian voice.
Charles Kingsley, the name of Alice's father in this film, is also the name of a famous British Victorian fantasy author. Kingsley's most famous book is Water Babies, which has several similarities to the film.
In the opening minutes of the film, there is a shot of the moon, on which the Cheshire Cat's face is briefly visible.
Aside from his odd color, Absolem the Caterpillar is modeled after the larva of the Monarch butterfly (which are striped in white, yellow and black). When we see Absolem as a butterfly by the end of the film, the pattern on his wings is that of a Monarch, save again for the coloration (Monarch butterflies have orange wings).
At one point when the Dormouse is searching for the Hatter in the Red Queen's castle, she looks in a vacant room. A caricature of Henry VIII can be seen on the far wall.
The Red Queen asks Stayne at one point whether it is better to be feared than loved, if not of both, he affirms, as she does later, that it is better to be feared than loved. This is a reference to a famous quote from Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, where he asks the same question, and answers: "It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved."
Although Helena Bonham Carter's character is named the Red Queen, and has a rivalry with the White Queen as does the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass, the character is in fact in all other ways based on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, incorporating her anger management issues, decapitation mania, and fondness for flamingo-and-hedgehog croquet. This is why while the White Queen's army is chess-themed, the Red Queen's army is playing-card themed.
Alice surname is given as Kingsley, which means her father is Charles Kingsley. This is a reference to the novelist of the same name, whose views on Christian Socialism 'Lewis Caroll' had read and admired. Kingsley's most famous work, The Water Babies, follows a similar narrative to Alice and could have inspired Caroll's Alice books