Page last updated at 19:57 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 20:57 UK

City 'wonders' over Disney film

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Plymouth will feature in the new Alice in Wonderland film

The Disney studio is to shoot scenes for a blockbuster film in and around Plymouth next month.

Casting director Ilenka Jelowicki has confirmed the studio is looking for 250 local people to play extras.

But she refused to confirm the film is the remake of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, with Hollywood A-lister Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

It was set in Victorian England and female extras should have long hair while men should be bearded, she said.

The Mad Dog casting director said Disney would be filming in and around Plymouth for two weeks but said she could not confirm the name of the movie.

Special effects

"It's a period movie, set in Victorian England, so we're very specific about the look we need," Ms Jelowicki said.

"In an ideal world, out of the 125 women we need, they would all have long, naturally coloured hair.

"We'd love men with beards or facial hair - lamb chops or big sideburns - that sort of thing."

Barbican cobbles
The Barbican's cobbled streets would complement Lewis Carrol's Victorian tale

The historic cobbled streets of the city's Barbican area fit in with Lewis Carrol's Victorian tale, which was written in 1865 and may have been a factor in the studio's location decision.

Auditions will take place at the New Continental Hotel in Plymouth on 6 and 7 August, between 1000 and 1800 BST.

"Most of the people chosen would be required for almost the full two week duration, so we need people who have some flexibility in their work or time to allow that to happen," Ms Jelowicki said.

A young Alice

Despite the casting director's reluctance to name the film, the Theatre Royal's director of creative learning Victoria Allen told BBC News they were helping look for a young Alice for a Tim Burton production.

The animated version of Alice in Wonderland was made by Walt Disney in 1951.

The new version, a mix of live action and special effects, is due to be released in 2010 and is being directed by Burton.

He has previously directed Johnny Depp in seven films, including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, most recently, Sweeney Todd.


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