‘Harry Potter’ actors leave Hogwarts to appear in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – If you have seen even one Harry Potter film, based on the fantasy series by J. K. Rowling, but especially if you have seen all six that have been released so far, you have become accustomed to the actors in those films, right down to their voices. If you then went to see Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland recently, you might find yourself surprised to hear that some of those voices left Hogwarts to visit Underland and play with the teenaged Alice.
The most obvious double-take is with actor, Helena Bonham Carter. Ms. Carter has a larger role in Alice than she does in Potter (both in screen time and in, um, cranial size) but she plays an important evil presence in both. In Alice, of course, she is the evil Red Queen–the monarch with the large skull who has taken the crown from her sister, the White Queen, and made a mess of Underland in the process.
There are several other Potter actors in the film, too; however, most will have to be recognized purely through their voices, if at all.
Perhaps the most striking of these is the Blue Caterpillar. Smoking in front of Alice and making her cough, his sly slippery voice oozes out from behind large spectacles. Whose voice is that? Where have we heard it before? It sounds just like….Professor Snape! And indeed it is. Alan Rickman plays the role of the Blue Caterpillar who offers wisdom to Alice with just as much controlled power as he does with the snide remarks made by the potions master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. What Harry Potter viewer can ever forget that voice?
There is another actor who visited the Alice set from Hogwarts and performed for the movie. Who might that be? Certainly, it’s not Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, or Rupert Grint? No. He plays the voice of Bayard the Bloodhound, the enslaved dog sent on a mission by the Red Queen who does her deeds only for the welfare of his “wife and pups.” Bayard goes along with the Mad Hatter’s protection of Alice in the teapot and does not reveal that she is there.
But whose voice is Bayard’s? Audiences may not recognize it, but Bayard is played by Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films. Many viewers will prefer him as the lovable Bayard much more than the sneaky, deceitful rat turned Pettigrew.
Another actor many Potter viewers may recognize playing live action in the Alice film is Frances La Tour, who plays the confused Aunt Imogene in Alice. Viewers may remember her scaled up to a larger size as Hagrid’s date for the Yule Ball–Ms. La Tour plays Madame Olympe Maxime in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Another voice talent in Alice speaks as the flowers. This voice belongs to Imelda Staunton whom Harry Potter fans will know as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies.
There is at least one other connection between Alice in Wonderland and the Harry Potter films in terms of actors and voices. Though he is not in the films, Stephen Fry has voiced the many characters of the British audio editions of the Harry Potter books for many years. Did you recognize his new voice incarnation in Alice in Wonderland? Perhaps not. Fry plays the Cheshire Cat, the character that fades in and fades out with great ease and whose long, slim smile just happens to be the same shape as the crescent moon.
If you’re into fantasy book-to-film franchises, you might also note another actor in Alice from another such franchise. Michael Sheen, who plays Aro in The Twilight Saga: New Moon plays the voice of the friendly yet skittish White Rabbit.
If you haven’t seen Alice, but you are a Harry Potter fan, or if you have seen Alice in Wonderland, but missed these connections the first time, you might enjoy seeing the movie to watch and listen for these actors’ performances.
Alice is #1 movie at the box office for the third weekend in a row and stars Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter; Mia Wasikowska as Alice; and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen.
[Photo, bottom: Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix LeStrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Photo: Warner Bros.)].
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Young Adult Pop Culture Examiner
Connie Ann Kirk is the author of 10 books and has a Ph.D. in English. She is currently at work on a novel and a screenplay. Check out all of her Arts & Entertainment columns: National Literature; National Books on Film and National Young Adult Pop Culture. Feel free any time to visit Connie’s website.
Email Connie at: ConnieAnnKirkOnExaminer@gmail.com.