August 2, 2008

It’s Plymouth in Wonderland

It is one of the best-known and most-loved works of fiction in the English language, which has charmed generations of adults and children alike. Alice in Wonderland, and its cast of weird and wonderful characters like the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit, have captured the imaginations of millions since the Lewis Carroll classic was first published in 1865. Now Plymouth is set to be the backdrop for some of the scenes in a blockbusting new Disney version of the film, which is set to enchant a whole new audience - giving our city a fantastic boost.

Our exclusive revelation today that part of this multi-million- pound film is to be shot here by internationally-acclaimed director Tim Burton is exciting enough. That screen heartthrob Johnny Depp is being tipped to feature in it as the Mad Hatter is even better, particularly for his army of female fans in Plymouth. But it is the fact that so many city residents could get the chance to feature in the film as extras, opening up all sorts of exciting possibilities, which will really set pulses racing. Up to 250 Plymouth people could be featured in what will surely become a worldwide hit, given Tim Burton's reputation and Disney's global reach. In addition, it will give audiences in every continent the chance to get a glimpse of our wonderful city through the locations which will be featured.

What an opportunity, and what a wonderful way for Plymouth to advertise itself in an exciting, fun and highly watchable way. This will not be the first time that Plymouth has featured in big budget movies. The filming of Sense and Sensibility at Saltram House in 1995 shone the spotlight on one of our most treasured assets. Similarly, 2003 saw celebrities like Christian Slater and Neve Campbell descend on the city as Churchill - the Hollywood Years was filmed at the Royal William Yard in Stonehouse. But the involvement of A-list icons like Tim Burton, and hopefully Johnny Depp, means this enterprise will dwarf anything that has gone before. We cannot wait to welcome the film crew to our city, and hope that this film projects Plymouth and its people into the publicity stratosphere.

Who would ever have thought our city could play such an important role in a high-profile Hollywood project like this? As Alice herself might say, "Curiouser and curiouser".

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