Friday, February 05, 2010

Alison in Wonderland Concept Sketches
Here are those sketches for Alison in Wonderland I first showed off in Evening with J.L. Carrozza five. I did them in January.
How I see Alison as a character. Young, cute, naive and full of youthful fantasy but also brighter than most and inquisitive enough to solve her problems instead of being defeated by them. I see a lovely but also Earthly looking brunette or strawberry blonde playing her.Derek, Alison's obnoxiously sociopathic rocker (soon to be ex-)boyfriend. He's skinny and suave so he gets the ladies even if he's dumb as ass and most people who aren't taken in by his charms want to break his jaw with their knuckles. Likes to go to abandoned buildings, blast Iron Maiden and urinate on things.
The character of Molly, Alison's hippie activist girlfriend who would break Derek's jaw with her fists if she was male. She eats organic vegetarian food, owns a betta fish, knows her Tarot deck like a Trekkie knows the script of Wrath of Khan and is a member of a left wing activism group that often gets in trouble for hurling tomatoes at Republicans. She was a minor character in the old script who just kind of appears out of nowhere to give Alice some comfort, now her role in the non-Wonderland stuff is fairly large.The White Rabbit, the only character that has stayed more or less unchanged from the old heals-of-Dream House Alice in Wonderland film to this version. She's a girl in a Playboy Bunny costume like in the anime Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, but this time I want a very attractive blond girl to play her to complete the Playboy look, so she's as much a jab at sexuality in America as a homage to a Japanese cartoon.The Caterpillar, who is a total stoner who doesn't do anything except sit in his mushroom patch and smoke loads of a ganja-like substance. For his look, I basically envisioned him as a larval Mothra if she decided to give up fighting Godzilla and spinning her cocoon and smoke loads of pot. I'm strongly considering going further with the Toho references in that scene and surrounding him with an enormous, misty patch of Matango-like mushrooms.
The Cheshire Cat, who I basically see as being David Bowie in feline form. I wish I could use a real cat and CG a pair of lips on him, but that's too tough and real animals are a nightmare to wrangle so instead I'm going for a double exposed puppet. He's a pretentious, crazy but ultimately well meaning spectral feline sprite. I may ask *somebody special* to do his voice that isn't as famous as David Bowie. I don't know why Tim Burton didn't have Bowie voice the Cat in his version.
The Mad Hatter, who as I've said will be a real standout of the film. I've talked about him enough, but as said he's part Heath Ledger's Joker, one part Willy Wonka, one part Dieter Hellstrom, the Gestapo officer who rains on everybody's bar room parade in Inglourious Basterds. He's one scary son of a bitch and his house will include everything from live rats and calfskin rugs to children's film posters and sex toys of all shapes and sizes.
The March Hare, the Hatter's very creepy yet tragically pitiful gay sex slave. Whether his bunny head is his true face or a mere mask that he cannot take off thanks to the Hatter's years of torture and psychological abuse is something you'll never know.The Red Queen, Wonderland's voluptuous, despotic lady monarch. I based her dress off a mix of medieval, baroque and classical German and French fashions. In most adaptations and envisionings of Alice in Wonderland, the Queen is depicted as being quite ugly and around middle aged. I see her as being quite seductively beautiful, fairly young (late 20s-to early 30s) and full figured with flesh spilling out of her corset. She is like Elizabeth Bathory or Vlad the Impaler mixed with George W. Bush, she is sadistic, a spoiled child of privilege and utterly callous and apathetic: powdering her face, applying red lipstick and sucking on heart-shaped lolly-pops as she has her dissidents decapitated. The Two of Hearts, one of the Queen's card guard warriors. No longer are they just people in silly card costumes. I've gone for an Earthier look ala the real life Knights Templar, they're Knight-like servants, henchmen, warriors and bodyguards that serve their Queen with a unyielding loyalty. The Ace of Hearts, the leader and commander of the Card Guards.
The Castle of Hearts, home of the Red Queen, with the very Vlad the Impaler-like piked heads outside. As opposed to the samurai film thing I was going to do last time around, here's it's all based in gothic Medieval European stylings, the scenes are going to be like a Lord of the Rings film done on a shoestring with copious gore, like if Peter Jackson had done his trilogy in the 80s instead of the double-oughts. Other influences will include John Boorman's wonderful Excalibur and Kinji Fukasaku's Makai Tensho and Legend of the Eight Samurai (Satomi Hakkenden), the latter two owing more to the Western fantasy epics being made at the same time than to their Japanese kin. The castle will be a miniature that I'm gonna hire someone to build and do loads of blue screen work with, probably gonna use Barbie and Ken doll heads as the piked trophies.Sid, the Queen's bloodthirsty, tattooed decapitator who likes to feel his axe break the spines of his victims like celery stalks and drink goblets of Celtic malt beverages. His design is not based off anybody I know.

Well, with these videos done and work resuming on Conversations with T.F. Mou you'll probably not hear that much from me for a little while. I look forward to bringing more soon though.


Crocodile said...

Do you heavily storyboard your films, or do you lean away from such strict formalism, preferring instead a more naturalistic, improvised visual sense?

J.L. Carrozza said...

I typically don't draw storyboards. I just do those doodles beforehand mostly to get the look of the movie solidified in my head a bit.

I do like to know what I want before I shoot, however, so what I do is I write my shots out in detail using the script as a guide. If I or someone else thinks of something better during the shoot, however or some weird circumstance comes along, I am quite flexible.