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Frank Beddor
Jared Hoffman
October 18, 2023

A Modern Recast of Alice 1999

Allow me to take you back to the year 1999. It was a wonderful year. The Euro was introduced into Europe, Bill Clinton was impeached for that thing he did, the space shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS, and I was two years old. Yes, it was a fantastical year that I remember fondly. With all the amazing things that happened that year, there is one thing always missing from every article I read, which I’m quite surprised wasn’t talked about constantly. I’m, of course, talking about the 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV movie.

What’s that? You don’t remember this movie? You know, the Alice in Wonderland TV movie with the cast consisting of but not limited to Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Lloyd, Ben Kingsley, Martin Short, Gene Wilder, and Miranda Richardson. Not ringing a bell? Well, don’t worry, I recently watched this movie for the first time, and let me tell you, it sure is something.

 Combining Lewis Carroll’s two books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. This retelling of the famous story feels like a fever dream. It might be from the bad CGI of Whoopi’s face onto the Cheshire cat’s body, the stiff special effects makeup of the time, or the scene with the giant baby that will forever haunt my dreams. This movie makes every other Alice in Wonderland retelling feel grounded.

The thing is, the story’s not bad, and the performances are top-notch. While I am the first to be anti-reboot, I think that this movie would actually be good if it were rebooted. The new technology we have in film would help this movie escape its uncanny valley look and allow the story to shine through. Since some of the actors who starred in this movie have unfortunately passed away and others have aged out of the roles, I’m going to take it upon myself to recast this film for today. Buckle up because I have some opinions, and you’re going to read them.

Cheshire Cat:

Image of the Chesire Cat, as portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1999 made-for-TV-movie: Alice In Wonderland.
Image of American actor: Gary Busey with his mouth open. Looking crazy as always, he would be a good fit to cast as the Chesire Cat in a remake of the Alice in Wonderland TV movie.

Yes, this is a real photo from the movie. I’m starting off with the Cheshire Cat because this one was the most uncanny valley. Whoopi brought a lot of fun and mischievous energy, but I didn’t notice it until my second watch-through of this movie because I was watching the bad CGI. We have learned from the remake of CATS that CGing actors into giant cats is a terrible idea.

I think in this imaginary remake, the cat should be completely CGI. Whoopi could actually play this character again but as a voice role. If, for whatever reason, CATS wasn’t a warning enough, and they decide to do Cheshire Cat-like they did in the original 1999 movie, there is only one face I want to see digitally plastered onto a giant cat. That face being Gary Busey. No explanation needed.

Mad Hatter:

Image of Martin Short as the Mad Hatter, from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, a made-for-TV movie, released in 1999.

The ever-popular character of the Mad Hatter was portrayed by the consistently hilarious Martin Short. I don’t really want to recast him either as he is just awesome. But, if I must recast the Mad Hatter, it has to be someone with a lot of energy and an affinity toward absurdism.

So with that, I think the recast Mad Hatter should be Eric Andre. His popular Adult Swim show, The Eric Andre Show, is a masterclass in absurdism, and if he were to bring that wild energy to this role, people wouldn’t be able to tear their eyes off the screen.

Image of American comedian and actor, Eric Andre with curly hair, smiling for a portrait. He would make a great version of the Mad Hatter for a remake of the TV movie, Alice in Wonderland, originally aired in 1999.
Photo by Corey Nickols

Mock Turtle:

Image of Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - a 1999 made-for-TV movie that was incredibly weird.

Portrayed by the incomparable Gene Wilder, the Mock Turtle scene in this movie was probably my favorite. Gene’s fantastic delivery of Lewis Carroll’s puns regarding Victorian society sucked me back into the movie. Finding someone to portray any role that was previously played by Gene Wilder is tough. One thing I can say for certain though, the most incorrect answer is Timothée Chalamet. In what world is he Wonka!?

Sorry, I digress. After much searching and deliberating, I think the actor who would bring a fantastic performance to the Mock Turtle is Ryan Gosling. After his show-stealing performance in the Barbie Movie, Ryan fits the role of the pun-filled Mock Turtle who is prone to melancholy. I can see him delivering the line, “We called him tortoise because he taught us!” perfectly.

Image of Ryan Gosling with a beard, from The Barbie Movie fame, at a recent Hollywood event.

White Knight:

Image of Christoper Lloyd as the White Knight  in the 1999 TV movie: Alice in Wonderland.
Image of American actor and comedian, Charlie Day in a yellow suit and white hat, portraying the character: Day Man at SDCC. Could he be the White Knight in Alice in Wonderland?

Christopher Lloyd brought his signature goofy excitability to the White Knight that he is known for. Therefore, the actor that would be recast for the role must be able to keep that fun energy tenfold. I think that a great recast would be Charlie Day.

Charlie’s voice stands out like Lloyd’s, which I’m sure was one of the reasons he was cast in the first place. Along with this, Charlie has shown he is at his strongest when the jokes are at his character’s expense. This makes him the perfect person to take over the role.

Queen of Hearts:

Image of Miranda Richardson as the Queen of Hearts, from the 1999 TV movie: Alice in Wonderland.

Miranda Richardson brought annoyed boredom to the Queen of Hearts, which was a refreshing take compared to the usual “hot-headed” renditions of the Queen most often portrayed on the screen.

I believe Lena Headey would be fantastic in the recast version of this. Playing badass and cool-headed characters is what she does, from Sarah Connor to Cersei Lannister, she definitely has the chops to make this Queen of Hearts shine.

Image of American Actress, Cersei Lannister, with dark hair wearing earrings and a black dress. Could she be the Queen of Hearts in a remake of 1999's Alice in Wonderland?


Tina Majorino brought a balanced performance to the titular Alice in this version of Wonderland. While Alice always asks many questions throughout the films, this Alice was curious and aware of the absurdism while being slightly nervous. This made the moments of fun Alice had in Wonderland that much more enjoyable.

To replace her, I think the best choice would be Bella Ramsey. Her performance in The Last of Us popped off the screen. She has shown the talent and ability to disappear into any role she plays and I think would make a perfect Alice.

Image of Tina Majorino from the 1999 TV film: Alice in Wonderland.
Image of Bella Ramsey, from The Last of Us and Game of Thrones fame. Here, she is smiling at the camera on the red carpet from a recent Hollywood premiere, wearing a red jacket with black collar and white floral pattern.

So, there you have it everybody. This is my recasting of the main characters of the 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV movie. If you haven’t seen the movie already, you definitely should; it’s weird. Weird for an Alice in Wonderland movie. Do you agree with my casting choices? Is there anyone who you would rather take the roles in this strange movie? Let me know below.

Meet The Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

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