| PASADENA, California
PASADENA, California Move over Johnny Depp. There's an even more outlandish version of "Alice in Wonderland" on the horizon that could radically change the book's status as a classic children's fairy tale.
"Alice" -- a four-hour live action adventure of the 1865 Lewis Carroll story -- is headed for the SyFy television channel in what British director Nick Willing on Wednesday called a "much racier, tougher, sexier" version.
"Our show is very different from faithful adaptations of 'Alice in Wonderland'. We drew on the surreal aspects of that world ... and wove a very powerful love story throughout," Willing told TV reporters gathered at an event showcasing the upcoming broadcast season.
In Willing's version, Alice Hamilton is an independent 20-something in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos run by a Queen of Hearts played by Kathy Bates and where Carroll's flamingos are turned into a cross between motorbikes and biplanes.
"Alice" will be broadcast in December on the SyFy channel, which changed its name in July from the Sci Fi channel in a bid to draw in new audiences -- particularly women -- to its brand of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal programing. SyFy is a division of NBC Universal.
Actress Caterina Scorsone, who plays Alice, said the time felt right for a crazy version of an already surreal book.
"It seems like there is something in the zeitgeist. Politically and economically, we are in this topsy turvy time where things don't look how they are supposed to look. It is really timely," Scorsone said.
Depp will be playing the Mad Hatter in an upcoming movie version of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by Tim Burton and due to be released in March 2010.
"Johnny Depp will be fantastic, but that is his version," said the TV show's executive producer Robert Halmi. "It is time that adults have as much fun with (the story) as kids used to do."
SyFy is owned by the NBC Universal media wing of General Electric Co..
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)