Tim Burton says hello kitty: ‘The Cheshire Cat taps into…my hatred of cats’

Feb. 15, 2010 | 6:01 p.m.


Are you ready for a trip down the rabbit hole? Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Disney are adding a strange new chapter to the Lewis Carroll classic with their “Alice in Wonderland,” a film that presents a young woman who finds herself in the world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen. She is welcomed as a returning visitor — but is she, in fact, the same Alice who roamed the trippy realm as a child? Time will tell. Here at the Hero Complex, we’re counting down to the film’s March 5 release with daily coverage. Today, Burton talks about his version of the Cheshire Cat.

Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Early on in the making of Alice in Wonderland,” director Tim Burton had very strong feelings about one of the characters — and it wasn’t what you would call a good feeling.

Stephen Fry

“The Cheshire Cat was a character I had a very specific image of and it’s because I just have this thing about cats,” Burton said. “The Cheshire Cat taps into what you might call my hatred of cats.”

Actor Stephen Fry (“V for Vendetta,” “Bones“) handles the character in the film and Burton praised him for capturing the unsettling mien of a feline.

“Stephen Fry did a great job of getting that creepy quality. You know, this weird kind of floaty, too-focused, creepy — he did it great. He has this thing of getting up close and just sitting there and staring at you, you know, like a cat. It just kind of sits there.”

Burton made a noise, not unlike a tabby struggling with a hairball. “I have this thing with cats. And with Cheshire Cat it’s a love-hate relationship. You can, uh, hear it in my voice can’t you?”

Why yes, yes we can.

— Geoff Boucher


Alice in Wonderland poster

Burton says “Alice” has a “national treasure” in actress Windsor

Burton and stars will be at “Alice” fan event in L.A. on Feb. 19

“Alice” screenwriter is ready for the haters

Red Queen = Leona Helmsley? Maybe so, says Burton

Burton took a “Shining” to Tweedledee and Tweedledum

“Alice in Wonderland” as silent film, musical and … porn?

Mia Wasikowska on Depp: “He’s so brave and smart”

“Alice” star says “Wonderland” is a sequel, not remake

Danny Elfman searches for the sound of “Wonderland”

Johnny Depp picks his poison for “Alice”

Burton on “Alice” films: “There wasn’t anything underneath”

Tim Burton on working with Depp on a darker “Alice”

Top, Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland.” (Walt Disney Studios). Middle, actor Stephen Fry (handout publicity photo). Bottom, promotional poster for “Alice.”

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24 Responses to Tim Burton says hello kitty: ‘The Cheshire Cat taps into…my hatred of cats’

  1. John from the Westsi says:

    What are you, a full time PR person for Tim Burton and this movie?

  2. Charlie Lesoine says:

    No we can't Tim, this is written article not and audio interview. Burton hates cats? More proof that he's an idiot.

  3. Solidus says:

    Funny, Most of Tim Burton's movies manage to capture the essence of what I would call my hatred of Tim Burton. :)

  4. Charlie Lesoine says:

    So why exactly does Tim Burton hate cats?

  5. Jo Jackson says:

    Wow, this is some MAJOR cool stuff dude.
    Jess <a href="http://www.isp-logging.net.tc” target=”_blank”>www.isp-logging.net.tc

  6. Wayne says:

    This film, like all of Burton's films, will suck.

  7. Cat Lover says:

    Facts be known, all of the people whom I have ever known that hate kitty cats are dominating "need to be in control" types. They want to control people and animals and everyone around. Cat haters tend to like dogs. Dogs are always at thier beckon and call, and do everything they want.
    Cats are independent. They do thier own thing, and you have to accept that. If you grab a cat and try to force it to do something it does not want … it will scratch you, but if you "negotiate" with kitty cats they will be your friend and love you very much. BUT…… If you are a forceful to dominatant person who requires everyone to fall in line, well, sorry, aint gonna happen.
    If you feed and love doggys, they will think you ar a king.
    If you feed and love kitty cats, they will think they are a king.

  8. Alex M says:

    Lots of angry cat ladies in this thread.

  9. alyssa says:

    i love tim burtons work!!!!! all of his movies relate to me 100% he is not an idiot!!! i really hate cats ro..they stink!!!

  10. king urkel says:

    omg omg omg i hate cats too!

  11. Mary Cann says:

    Was there a point to this waste of bits?

  12. Dug says:

    I just got 110% more excited to see this movie. Tim Burton is right to hate cats. Cats are evil! Compare something like the evil Cheshire Cat to the loveable Dug the Dog in Pixar's "Up." Which one would you want to be your companion? Dug!!
    (He was hiding under the porch because he loved you. Would a cat do that? No, they would be hiding under the porch . . . to KILL you!)

  13. TimBurtonsBiggestFan says:

    Cats smell bad and they piss everywhere.
    And Tim Burton isn't a moron or idiot, he's more imaginitave
    than most of the dipwads in hollywood.
    Alice in wonderland will be magnificent. And just because some of the people here have NO IMAGINATION, doesn't mean it won't.
    @cat lover…That is not entirely true. Both dogs AND cats will scratch and bite you. And some won't.
    And duh, he's a DIRECTOR.
    He's gonna tell poeple what to do.
    And most poeple who like cats are hermits and have no lives.

  14. Haha, the best thing about seeing Avatar ion 3-D was this TERRIFYING freaking cat. I swear, if I actually see this film, that cat will give me nightmares.

  15. The DA says:

    CGI Cheshire cat sucks. Tim Burton hasn't made a good film in about a decade. This "thing" of his about cats allows me to dismiss him even more easily. This film should be retitled "Burton rapes Lewis Carroll."

  16. hate is NOT kewl says:

    It is NOT kewl to HATE. I thought this was 2010 and love and peace and diversity and acceptance was the way of man. BUT NOOOO!!!! Tim Burton has to open his mouth and incite cat haters everywhere to do bad things to cats. Just yesterday I saw another story about an idiot who shot a cat with an arrow. What is wrong with people? What is wrong with Tim Burton??, he knows dang well ….. he understands that by him saying this, IT WILL CAUSE more people to abuse cats. Why is he spreading hate, telling people to hate, saying HATE IS OK??

  17. Jar says:

    What does his hate for cats have to do with his style of directing? All of you ignorant people here, makes me sick.
    Tim Burton is a brilliant man, end of story.

  18. Movies says:

    People who love dogs are needy. People who love cats don't want a drooling dog idolizing them every waking second.

  19. D.M.SF. says:

    Alyssa: So…if you identify 100% with such a film as that warped, vile and disgustingly blood- glorifying mess-" SWEENEY TODD "…then,perhaps you need to get some counseling-IMMEDIATELY.It's not the cats who should be reviled here ( and they should NEVER be ).

    • Ted says:

      I think you'd have to blame Sondheim for that rather than Tim Burton.

      (Of course if you had a functioning sense of humour you wouldn't blame either, just enjoy…)

  20. Paula says:

    Guess I won't be watching any more Tim Buron films – I love cats!

  21. Rebecca says:

    Tim hates cats? What a relief! Now I can save 12 bucks or so by not going to see this overrated pompous director's latest manic movie. I fear his oh so brilliant concept of adding a bloodhound to the story portends some awful end to the "hated" cat. I read this book as a kid and loved it. I also love cats

  22. I think its 2 weeks back, I've watched Alice in Wonderland in 3D format. Its really amazing.

  23. Adrianne Linhares says:

    Guys, you should be more careful about what you read – and believe – on people's quotes specially if it is on the internet. The press twists everything a perosn says! There are two serious publishings (books) on film and Tim Burton which you guys should read – Gothic Fantasy and Burton on Burton. Specially this last one, Tim explains exactly how he feels about dogs and cats. He loves dogs, and he doesn't hate cats – he is intrigued by them, that's why they always play a role in his films ( from Vincent, in 1982, onwards), but he relates to dogs most because he has been a dog owner since the age of three. cats are still a mystery to him, and are adored by his wife, Helena Bonham Carter. COncerning the Cheshire cat, he stated that this cat comprised everything one could hate about cats, their evasive ways and apparently egotistical distance, but ALSO their focused way of sitting there and being there when unexpected, and when one needs them the most – remember the Cheshire cat saves the day in Alice. If he was some sort of animal abuser he wouldn't even be together, since she has her cats, and he has his dogs. I am a cat lover who loves dogs too, and if he hated cats so much I would be very disappointed. This is not the real truth, whatsoever!

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