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Johnny Depp Goes "Mad" for New Role

In their seventh collaboration, Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have teamed up again to bring Lewis Carroll's colorful characters back to life in an adaptation of the children's classic, "Alice in Wonderland."

The film is seen through the eyes of a 19-year-old Alice, who returns to a Wonderland she doesn't remember with the aim of freeing the world from the tyrannical reign of the Queen of Hearts.

Actor Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton have worked together on seven films over 20 years. Recently British TV personality Amanda Holden sat down with the pair for "The Early Show" to discuss their movie-making history and their latest fantasy film.

Photos: Wonderland Transformations
Photos: Johnny Depp

From their first film together, "Edward Scissorhands" in 1990, Burton and Johnny Depp have brought to life a collection of eccentric and unsettling characters.

Burton said of Depp, who sat beside him, "This guy from the get-go from 'Scissorhands' on, he's always resisting the image of what Hollywood wanted him to be."

He continued, "For me has always been exciting to see somebody transform and become a new character, willing to do it."

Burton pointed out that Depp hates watching his own movies, and has never seen one that the two have made together.

In their newest film, Depp plays the Mad Hatter who has been waiting 13 years for Alice to come back to Wonderland.

But is the film suitable for children?

Depp said his children have seen it.

Holden asked," Did they love it? My daughter's four and I was wondering if she was a bit young -- do yours?"

Depp said, "My boy's 7 and my daughter's 10, and they both went crazy. Loved it.""

Burton said he's going to show his son, but said he's gotten an added burden - seeing his mother, Burton's wife, Helen Bonham Carter, as the Queen of Hearts with a five-foot head.

Holden joked, "Maybe that's how she first looked when he was a baby."

Burton replied, "That's right, so that would be just fine. Just like home."

Holden remarked that most of Burton's films kind of celebrate eccentricity or oddness.

Burton said he's passionate about being odd. He says he's always fought against categorization in life.

"Once you're treated as a weirdo, you can be happy have a family everything, but you always retain that thing that you felt when you were younger," he said. "You're weird. I never felt I was weird but by the time I was 10, society (said) I was a definitive weirdo."

As for Depp, he says he was also dealt the "weirdo card" growing up, but he got into acting not as a result of being weird, but "by mistake."

Some of Depp's acting preparations, some could consider odd. He plays special mixes of music to get into a certain character. He's even hired a music mixer specifically for that purpose.

He said, "I get musical inspiration for the characters, and for example there was a band, Terry Gilliam turned me on to called Sunset Rubdown, and there was a few great songs on there that sort of defined the Hatter for me."

Another favorite band of Depp's is Squeeze. Holden gave him a CD of "The Best of Squeeze."

"That's very sweet," Depp told Holden.

Holden said on "The Early Show" she's still blushing from being called sweet by the star.

"It was absolutely incredible," she said.

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith asked Holden how the look of the film was established.

Holden said when Johnny was cast he painted a watercolor of how his character would look and worked with makeup and set designers to create the Wonderland world with Burton.

Depp, Holden pointed out, changes his look throughout the movie. When he is sad, for instance, his face has a dourer, grayish color and when he's happy, his skin looks more vibrant. Holden said it looks like an effect done in post-production.

As for the Mad Hatter role, Holden says Depp is the only one who can create that eccentricity.

"He has a real vulnerability, Johnny Depp," she said. "Every character he plays is a little bit mad, but he has that sort of vulnerability that makes you want to hold them and hug them."

She added Depp researched real-life hatters and discovered that many of them were actually insane due to the mercury in the materials they used to make hats.

She said, "So actually they all were a bit barking -- a bit mad."

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