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?

Following Hollywood’s White Rabbit Into Wonderland: Curtis Clark

Curtis Clark, one of my Wonderverse collaborators that helped write the Hatter Madigan graphic novels, reflected on the early days of his career in this thoughtful blog. His charming origin story shed light on the fact that unbeknownst to me, I played a bigger role in his journey than I ever knew. We both agreed it would be perfect to share his wonderful words as inspiration for other young writers forging down the same twisty path of breaking into Hollywood & making it big.

It certainly wasn’t Wonderland. It was a bowling alley. A friggin’ bowling alley.

I worked there. One of those just moved to Hollywood jobs. I needed money. Knew nobody. Most days I would bang away on my laptop while seated at the bowling shoe desk. I was the sentry of the stinking soles. I got used to writing through pins scattering, bowling balls clacking, and shoe spray coating my fingers.

One shift, I was red-penning a printed copy of a screenplay I had written. Which, was a very, very cliché Hollywood thing to be doing. I assure you, though, I was actually working on it, not just trying to look like I was working on it. I had somehow finagled getting that script into ICM for script coverage. I was confident it was going to give me my start in the industry as an aspiring author & writer. Which, spoiler, it did not. 

A few hours into the grind, a customer walked in for his kid’s birthday party and saw me marking up my script. He took some small notice of me diligently writing, probably because I was less diligently setting up for his kid’s party. The name on the party sheet read: Frank Beddor.

I had no idea who Frank Beddor was. I didn’t know he had written the best-selling Looking Glass Wars trilogy or that he had produced There’s Something About Mary. Had I known those things, maybe I would have tried to drum up conversation. After all, that is why most people in Hollywood do cliché things like work on a script in public — for those mythological “chance” encounters. Me? I guess I was oblivious. I didn’t even google Frank’s name or anything.

So, not for one second did I imagine that the so-bad-I-can’t-go-back-and-read-it script I was working on would not be my start in the industry, but that this Frank Beddor, and his twist on Alice in Wonderland, actually would. 

When Frank finished bowling, I was still editing away. He asked me what I was working on? During my early days, imposter syndrome dictated I try and sound like a legit writer to just about everybody. So, too-cool-for-school, I filled him in on my momentous, impending script coverage. Which, almost certainly made me sound green as grass. 

Frank told me he was also a writer, but I had never heard of his books. Which wasn’t surprising because at that time I hadn’t even read Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (I have several times since). Our conversation seemed destined to peter out as pleasantry, until, serendipitously, Frank asked if I liked comic books, or had written any? What he had no way of knowing was that I had a collection of comics twice the size of the shoe wall I stood in front of.

And, at that time, I also just so happened to be writing a comic book for a guy I met playing basketball, because, you know, the Hollywood hustle sometimes works in weird ways. I showed Frank a few pages of art from that comic, and it was enough to earn his business card.

Back then, for me, a business card was a magical thing. You could feel it, put in your wallet, keep it in a drawer. They were tangible things, whereas most things in Hollywood seemed to evaporate the second you turned around. The industry can be so hard to navigate, especially early, that I took getting a business card as a sign I was at least doing something right.

Me during a “Director Moment” after I collected enough business cards

Maybe, if I collected enough of them I would, I don’t know, level up? That would have probably made more sense than how the business actually works. 

Frank told me to send him a copy of the comic I was working on when it was done. His office address was on the card. I had an address! On a business card! And a writer producer who wanted to read this comic! I would be done working at this bowling alley in no time! Spoiler again, that would not be the case.

A few weeks later, I hand delivered a copy of said comic book, hoping for another face-to-face chat to build off of. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, Frank’s office was closed that day. So, I slipped my comic under the door with a note, and assumed he’d get it. And then I heard nothing. For weeks. 

Wait, did he get it? How would I even know? Talk about driving yourself mad.

I followed up via email a few times, and didn’t get a response. That familiar early-days sinking feeling was happening, where I got excited by an opportunity, only for it to slip away as nothing materialized. I was a young, nobody writer who handed this guy crusty shoes, and he was a busy writer producer with young kids and a burgeoning brand. Could I be angry at this guy, who I had met once, for not having time for a twenty something kid whose comic he may or may not have found slid under his office door?

Um, yes. I was 100% angry Frank wasn’t getting back to me in a manner that suited my unrealistic career timeline. That said, now-a-days, I understand why someone like me, back then, wasn’t exactly his priority number one.  

After weeks of nothing, I decided to email him one last time. No BS, it was going to be my last follow up. I’m sure I rolled my eyes or jabbed the return key passive aggressively when I hit send on that email. I had run hard and fast into quite a few dead ends at that point. 

However, after months of nothing, Frank got back to me within minutes. He sent a very brief email that read something to the effect of, “I read your comic. Come to my office. I might have a job for you.” 


After all that time waiting, he fires a job tease email off to me in mere minutes? I had already emotionally moved on, probably deflecting Frank’s lack of interest with some self-doubt managing thought about it being his loss. I was spun.

The truth was, that email meant the world to me at that time. If I haven’t made it apparent enough by now, starting out in Hollywood can be a daunting, soul shattering endeavor, especially if you have no connections. And I didn’t know anyone in California when I moved here, let alone in the entertainment industry. 

That email is why I’m writing this blog post on FrankBeddor.com. I honestly do not know if I would have made it to my current place in my career, where I have representation and shop projects with production companies, agencies and the studios, had it not been for me following up that one last time, and Frank actually getting back to me.

I’d like to think I would have earned my shot sooner or later, probably after some much needed seasoning, but I don’t know if or when another opportunity with a legit Hollywood entity would’ve come my way.

So, after reading that email, I quickly bought the first book of The Looking Glass Wars and ripped through it in a day. Nervous, I went to Frank’s office for our meeting. The walls were covered with Card Soldiers and Jabberwocky concept art, poster sized prints of Alyss, Hatter Madigan, and Redd, set photos from There’s Something About Mary. The shelves were stacked with various US and UK printings of Frank’s books, and a few beautiful copies of Alice in Wonderland. As a wide-eyed baby writer, it was cool as hell, but I tried to act like it was all normal to me. 

I sat across from Frank in a comfy chair and we chatted. I said a bunch of young-dumb stuff about how I wanted to write all of his comic books. Honestly, I barely knew what I was talking about and was being super presumptuous. At least I was passionate, though, and had some ideas. Which, must have been enough to not turn Frank off because I left with a chance to write a short web comic for him.

From Script to Finished Page!

There were very few guidelines to the assignment. It had to be Hatter, on Earth, during the years he was looking for Alyss. It was basically a sink or swim opportunity, where I was supposed to pitch Frank an idea, and if he liked it, he’d hire me to write it. Except, instead, in something like two days, I wrote a very weirdly formatted short story and sent it to Frank. He liked it, whatever it was, and wanted to make it, but what was he going with this weird, sort of prosey, sort of scripty thing I gave him? I was a comic nerd. Why didn’t I send him a comic script?

Frank didn’t know this then. Actually, he might even be reading it for the first time here. I had read a zillion comic books, and I had “written” exactly one, but I had never really scripted one in an industry correct way. That sample issue he looked at? I “wrote it” by sitting side-by-side with the artist and drawing out the comic panels together.

Now, I wasn’t some full-blown charlatan who had lied my way into a job. I had read a few comic scripts and written in screenplay format. Still, when Frank said yes, but make it a comic script, I literally had to buy the Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel, skip to the scripting section, and follow it step-by-step. I needed to transform what I gave Frank into something that his artist — who by the way was Finnish, living in Finland — could correctly follow.

Keeping score at home: I had met the guy at a bowling alley, wasn’t familiar with his work, hadn’t read the material that inspired it, was fishing for bigger work before I had even earned his trust, and more-or-less didn’t really know how to do the job I was lucky he hired me to do, a job I went ahead and sort of did without getting his go ahead for my idea. I never thought of myself as someone who did the “fake until you make it” stuff, but yeesh… 

However! I did my research. I figured it out. And being passionate was the most important thing (and always will be). That script, once correctly formatted as a comic, ended up being the Baseball short in the Hatter M. Seeking Wonder graphic novel. And that fun, little job blossomed into working on and off with Frank for years. His Wonderverse was so broad, that I could pull from every corner of my vast nerdom.

Together, we expanded his world through two graphic novels, many other projects, and countless conversations. And I went off and built my own career, aided by the confidence those experiences gave me. Frank and I still check in regularly and talk shop. It’s been a friendship that’s lasted over a decade.

I wrote this post because it’s a fun little story, but also in hopes that if some young writer finds their way here, they can take heart in the extended meet-cute Frank and I had that helped start my career. 

It’s not some impossibly uncommon Hollywood story. Countless young writers meet their Frank Beddors. The important parts are that he and I struck up that first conversation, found a mutual passion, that I didn’t quit on the opportunity, that he then took a chance on me, and then, despite not really knowing what I was doing, that I worked, and learned, for however long it took to deliver.

The experience taught me a valuable lesson early in my career, which was not to be afraid of getting in a little (or a lot) over your head. I was lucky that first job with Frank made me embrace the unexpected and the unfamiliar in pursuit of my dreams. 

Which, how fitting is that, when you think about it? The unexpected and the unfamiliar? Aren’t those the things that cause us to wonder in the first place? 

So, always follow the glow, Wonderlanders, even if you’re not quite sure where it will lead you.


Curtis Clark

About the Author:

Curtis Clark grew up the son of a farmer in Wacousta, Michigan. He spent his youth spun up in a tornado of comics, novels, film, television and games. Eventually it spit him out in Los Angeles, where he writes, directs and produces, while also wrangling his two young children, alongside his amazing wife.