Alice’s Andrew-Lee Potts – Hat Trick

Andrew-Lee Potts as Hatter in Alice. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

When you are in a strange place it helps to make friends, and not many places are stranger than the setting for the new Syfy Channel miniseries Alice. Innocent people from our world are being taken and brought to a parallel universe known as Wonderland. Once there, their memories are forcibly erased and they become prisoners in a casino where people never lose. The resulting emotional “high” helps sustain Wonderland’s residents, most importantly its ruler, The Queen of Hearts, and her husband, The King of Hearts. 

When Alice Hamilton arrives there in search of her kidnapped fiance Jack, she turns to come of the locals for help, including a slightly shady character called Hatter. Having not long finished his third season battling dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures as Connor Temple in the hit British TV series Primeval, actor Andrew-Lee Potts was excited about the idea of a potential trip across the pond to work in Wonderland and play Hatter. 

“When I first got a call from my agent to go in and read for Alice I thought, ‘Oh, wicked! That sounds fantastic and right up my alley,” enthuses Potts. “Then I found out that it was for the character of the Hatter, and straightaway everything felt right for me, and even more so when I eventually received the script and discovered it was written using the type of humor that I often use in my work. 

“So I taped my audition with the British casting director and I just did my thing. [Director/writer] Nick Willing wasn’t there in the room; it was just me and the casting director. And sometimes with that type of situation, especially when you’re doing overseas casting, things can get lost in the translation – i.e. how you should be playing the part. 

Alice (Caterina Scorsone) and Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts). Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“And it’s funny because I went into the audition and played the role as I thought it appeared to me, and was more sarcastically comedic as well as a bit eccentric. Hatter is a hero of sorts in the story, and the casting lady suggested, ‘Maybe you should try being a little more sexy?’ and I [jokingly] said to her, ‘What do you mean? Am I not being sexy?’ So I tried that, and later on when I met Nick, he told me, ‘Your first reading of the role was perfect, but then you did something really strange and went all serious.’ So although I’m glad I did it both ways so that he could see either interpretation, I’m really pleased that my initial take was what Nick was looking for and that I eventually got the job.” 

A week after Potts received word that he had been cast, he was on his way to Vancouver, British Columbia to start shooting Alice. “We actually had a few days rehearsal before filming began, and that was really interesting for me,” recalls the actor. “I haven’t done that many plays and things of that nature, so I’ve tended not to rehearse a lot of the parts I’ve played in the past. I like to keep my performance as fresh as possible because I never quite know what I’m going to do with the material. That’s something I began doing during Primeval, and as a result they [the producers] allowed me to be a lot freer with the dialogue and to try, I suppose, to get the humour and keep things really lively. 

“On my first day of work on Alice, I actually shot my final scene as Hatter, and then went on to do my first scene, which was something like seven or eight pages long. It was just me being the Hatter in his teashop, so I had to gt into the swing of things straightaway. I was a bit nervous, but at the same time really excited. I was playing the character the way I wanted to, and it was a relief to see that Nick looked happy when he came out from behind the monitor after the first few takes. 

“I suppose as an actor you always think, ‘I hope I’m doing the right thing and they’re not going to recast me.’ I remember we started out filming in this abandoned mental institution up in Kamloops. It was hot and the Hatter wears a leather jacket throughout the whole story. Being British, I’m not used to the heat,” he says with a chuckle, “but I survived and it was a lot of fun. Both Nick and I hit the ground running with the character and we carried on having a good time with it.” 

A brief moment of respite for Hatter. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

In this telling of Alice, the Hatter is part of a resistence force led by Dodo (Tim Curry) and The White Knight (Matt Frewer), whose goal is to overthrow the Queen’s (Kathy Bates) tyrannical reign. While eager to take on his character’s re-imagined role, Potts also wanted to imbue his performance with some of The Mad Hatter’s original personality. 

“In the back of your mind you’ve got the original story where you know The Mad Hatter as being eccentric, crazy and all that kind of stuff,” explains the actor. “However, in Alice, we don’t have The Mad Hatter, we have the Mad March [Geoff Redknap], who was originally The [Mad] March Hare. So my character is supposed to be the sane one, but what I tried to do the first time you see the Hatter is go with a little bit of his eccentricity because I thought that might be enjoyable to the audience. 

“We tip our hat to every single character in Alice in Wonderland. With Hatter I wanted to keep an element of fun and spontaneity of the original. You never quite know what’s going on with him. Sometimes he goes really fast and other times he slows down and tries to take control. The first time Hatter meets Alice [Caterina Scorsone] it’s an assault of information on her, and from there he tries to take control. He’s a hustler and a very conniving one, and I wanted to play him slightly dangerous at the start as well. We have no idea what Hatter is capable of, and as the story unfolds, he does things that constantly surprise you. 

“At one point I had to do a hat trick, so I had to have a lesson and learn a bunch of tricks. That was cool, but, unfortunately, the hat I wore was really lightweight and the guy who came in to teach me the tricks was struggling because of that. They usually use a weighted hat, so I had to try to work around that. My character uses his hat as a bit of a distraction tool, especially in fight situations, which was quite fun and interesting. I’m quite handy with my fists in this, as opposed to Connor in Primeval, who couldn’t throw a punch to save his life, but Hatter is the complete opposite. 

The Hatter and Alice discover their budding friendship. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“The stunts were neat to do, too, and quite challenging as well because I did nearly everything myself. That included learning how to ride a horse, which I had never done before. I’d never even sat on a horse before. So I went to horse training, which was brilliant. I loved galloping as fast as I could on top of a ridge in the middle of nowhere and thinking, ‘I hope I can stop,'” he says with a laugh. 

Although Hatter’s relationship with Alice starts out as a purely selfish one, it becomes more of a friendship as the story unfolds. “In the beginning, he sees her as a money-making tool,” says Potts. “Alice is initially useful to the Hatter in very different ways to the ways that she’s useful to him at the end. I think my character finds her absolutely fascinating because she is very headstrong and sure of herself. Even though she’s been flung into this incredibly strange world of Wonderland, where the things she sees would instantly blow away most peoples’ minds, she manages to keep her feet on the ground and continue searching for what she’s come to Wonderland for. 

“Again, Hatter finds that attractive in a way, but I don’t think he understands exactly why. Like I said, he’s a player. He’s used to having many women in his life, but not really connecting with any of them. In a weird kind of way, his and Alice’s heads work in a very similar fashion. They’re equally matched intelligence-wise, which furthers his challenges with her, and they spend a great deal of their time arguing, which leads to some very amusing situations for us to play. Alice has a lot of trust issues and she finds it incredibly hard to trust anybody. At the start, I don’t think anyone would trust Hatter, and that’s something else I tried to explore with the character. I wanted to make the audience go, ‘He’s just plain mean,’ and that’s the fun with Hatter. You’re supposed to expect the unexpected with how I played him.” 

Potts relished the opportunity to work with Nick Willing in developing the many levels of the Hatter that viewers are introduced to. “One of the brilliant things about Nick is that, yes, he has his own ideas, but he doesn’t trap you inside them,” notes the actor. “He likes to throw everything up in the air and see where it lands. I always feel that that’s what makes a better show. Going back to Primeval, I think one of the reasons why my character worked so well is that the producers had the same way of working as Nick does. Connor was supposed to be your typical nerd who liked Star Wars and that sort of thing. He’s quite cliché in the original script, but then we did something completely different with him, which was to make him eccentric and more of an accidental hero as well. 

Hatter and Alice try to talk themselves out of a tight spot. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“So they were very open-minded in Alice with how I delivered a lot of the dialogue, and also with making it suit my voice as well, being that I have such a strong Northern accent. At first they wanted an English accent, but Nick said he really liked the Yorkshire in my voice, and also up in the north of England we always enjoy a cup of tea, so it’s kind of fitting that my character should run a teashop. I love that the first time we see the Hatter, he’s drinking a cup of tea. I’m so pleased with the way he’s been written. You don’t expect Hatter to be such a strong force in the story. I know it’s Alice’s journey, but she catapults him into his own journey as well within hers. 

“Hatter has been living in Wonderland for years, unhappy with his life as well as with the system and the way things were going. He had a lot of resentment built up towards the Resistence and the Queen’s side of things. So he’d kind of been living in a no-man’s land until Alice came into his life. She opens my character’s eyes and suddenly Hatter has something to fight for, a girl, and he doesn’t even realize it, which is lovely. Hatter is a little slow on the uptake with things like that,” he jokes. “He thinks he’s fighting for himself. Up to this point, Hatter has lived his life very selfishly. One of his lines is something like, ‘I’ve lived life playing both sides of the court and trying to keep everyone happy.’ But in this story he actually does good by himself and Alice, which is terrific.” 

While there is no sign of prehistoric wildlife in Alice, Potts feels that his work on Primeval was excellent preparation for this project. “Having done a big CGI [computer-generated image] show, I actually feel qualified for the first time in my life,” says the actor. “I thought, ‘This is easy. I’ve been doing this for the past three years. I can run away from these monsters.’ So that was a blast but in a different way because it’s less about monsters in Alice and more about the CGI world that we’re in. There are a lot of extended CGI sets, which was something I wasn’t used to, and far more green screen work, too. We didn’t do much green screen on Primeval

“So every day has been fascinating and I feel extremely fortunate to have been given this role. I felt ready for it as well, though, if that makes any sense, and I don’t know if I would have had the same confidence before Primeval. A lot of the stuff I’d previously done were one-off films and projects like that where you only have a short period of time with a character. With a TV series, though, when it progresses, you have the chance to explore all these different angles of your character. And during the four hours on Alice, Hatter shows every side of himself and way of behaving. So hopefully playing Connor on Primeval has helped me in portraying Hatter.” 

The first two hours of Alice airs Sunday, December 6th from 9:00-11:-00 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel and concludes Monday, December 7th @ 9:oo p.m. 

Steve Eramo 

As noted above, all photos copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

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31 Responses to “Alice’s Andrew-Lee Potts – Hat Trick”

  1. Jennifer Johnson Says:

    Please allow me to say that I was aware of Andrews work before, however after watching Alice, I am now in love with Andrews work! The Alice film was a delight to wonder through. A fresh approach that I enjoyed even though I was looking for the original story line. I found myself waiting for the next step of this new telling. As a romantic at heart, I was pleased with the end of this story, leaving me with a wonderful feeling! Wonder-pun intended =)

  2. Amanda Says:

    He is embodying the exact definition of what I’ve always hoped to see someone do with this character. I love his character in Primeval and I’ve noticed him in a few movies over the years also. He’s a fantastic actor and I hope he gets many more opportunities to show us what he can do.

  3. Joanne Thorne Says:

    I’ve watched him as Connor on Primeval and really enjoyed his take on the character…sweet and innocent . The “deer in the headlights” act is great fun as well. It made perfect sense to cast him as Hatter. As I watched him I saw Connor but with a confidence and strength that was quite sexy. I thought my God , if the Artful Dodger ever grew up this is who he’d be! I wish Andrew and Hannah all the happiness in the world. And continued professional sucess.
    Sincerely
    Joanne

  4. Kathy Humber Says:

    I enjoyed this version of Alice. Especially Andrew’s version of the Mad Hatter. He brought an interesting, captivating, and fun version of the character. I found myself watching the movie, the ending in particular (which I loved) several times. I have not seen Primeval but will have to check it out. Andrew has been added to my “favorite actor” list.

  5. Ivy Says:

    As much as I enjoyed Primeval, and Mr. Potts work with the character of Connor, I really find that the character of Hatter suits him. I didn’t know what to think of this retelling of Alice in Wonderland from the previews and teasers, but found myself very much drawn in from the begining of part one. Actually, I was very impressed by the entire project and the work of all of the actors involved. However, it must be said that Andrew shines in this role, and my appreciation for his talent has grown exponentially. I hope this strong effort opens up more opportunities for him to be seen by a wider US market…and I hope Alice is released on DVD some time in the very near future so I can dwell further upon my favorite parts.

  6. Alice Says:

    I have seen Mr. Potts in quite a few movies myself, BUT i must say Alice is my favorite movie of all. Not just of his acting, but favoirte period. I was a little iffy about the whole remake on Alice In the wonderland, but as i started to watch the show well, I just could not stop. It was very eye catching and he did a very wonderful job i might add. The hatter has been a great inspiration to me only because he relates to many people now a days. People that do not really see what is right in front of them at times. People that are as confused and lost as he was to begin with. The way he started showing his feelings for Alice really was like WOW to me and like i said, i really do LOVE that movie. Andrew is a GREAT actor..one of my favorites none the less. Wish him all the luck.
    ♥Alice♥

  7. Jess Says:

    Loved it! Andrew is now one of my top favorite actors!!! I’ll have to check out Primeval now too. Can’t wait to see more of him!

  8. Jazz Says:

    OMG! Andrew Lee Potts was sooo amazng in Alice. And really hot too!;) His acting was extravagent and tricky. But I do have to point out that when ho put the saddle on the horse, he let a piece (sinch?) fall in between the horse and the saddle. I want to see so much more of Andrew, I hope he auditions for more movies. I’d love to see his acting, looks, and humor in any upcoming shows or movies… (I LOVE YOU!) lol.
    PS. Even though the story was about Alice, it seemed to revolve around Hatter

  9. Evangelynn Says:

    This is the first time I have seen Andrew in anything, and I loved his character of Hatter. He is just unbelievably cute. I almost panicked at the end, where she goes home and leaves with him unable to tell her how he feels. I wish the movie had gone just a minute more and told us who was going to stay with whom. Is she going back? Is he staying here? Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing Andrew in other endeavors. I will looking for him name in other movies.

  10. Candace Says:

    I LOVED it!!!in my opinion, they really need to release it on DVD ASAP!!! then work on a sequel like the hatter and alice’s daughter hears all these tales and wants to go looking for it but Alice is afraid to let her daughter go or somthing and she goes and ends up hooking up with jack’s son er somthing like that…. anyway they need to get it going on DVD in the U.S, MORE SPECIFICALLY VA. And if anyone finds out about any of theses ideas please email me at w1ccanangel@yahoo.com

  11. Candace Says:

    oh yeah and i forgot to put this in the last comment… HATTER IS FREAKING HOTT!!!!!!OMG HE’S SEXY!!!!!!IF THERE EVER IS A SEQUEL HAVE HATTER AND ALICE GO IN THERE TO LOOK FOR THE DAUGHTER… KEEP THEM IN THE MOVIES….

  12. Beth Says:

    Loved the character and could not have asked for a better performance. Everyone was good but Potts knocked it out of the park. You know its great when you are still thinking about it days later!! Thank you and hoping to see you again real soon!!

  13. CYNTHIA DRAN Says:

    I really enjoyed watching ‘Alice’, Andrew Lee Potts was alot of fun, funny and cute as can be, he did a fantastic job as Hatter!! I was hoping that he and Alice were going to be together, at the end when her mother told her that David was at the door, and Alice came out, there was Hatter, I knew they were going to be together at last!! There should be a sequel where they get married and have a daughter who’s like Alice, so she goes through the looking glass and falls in love with Jack’s son! There are new enemies who find out that she’s Hatter’s daughter, so they go to the other world ( earth ) and try to find Hatter so they can bring him back to Wonderland! A wonderful, fantastic idea!!

  14. CYNTHIA DRAN Says:

    Andrew Lee Potts should play Hatter in the sequel, that’ll be alot of fun!!

  15. Mary Edmonds Says:

    I watched it over and over, enjoying also Andrew’s wonderful accent. Then I put it on mute and just watched his expressions with the written dialogue. You can really get into the character this way, watching it once like this. You can see his wonderful acting abilities over and above that lovely voice. All in all, a wonderful role for him.

  16. Mrs. Hatter Says:

    I think i’m in love.

  17. Zoie Says:

    IM ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH ANDREW LEE POTTS.

  18. Terri Lynn Robertson Says:

    Loved this production and especially Hatter!

  19. Zelda A Says:

    WOW, I have to agree that Potts stole Alice from the minute that he came on screen. I have not heard of Andrew til now, but I am sure we will see more of him.I am in Love with Alice and the fact that they re-run almost every weekend ( I’m in Heaven!!). Bravo to the Co-Canadian production, Awesome work.Good Luck to all in 2010!!!!

  20. Tonya Swanson Says:

    I knew nothing of Andrew Lee Potts until watching Alice. After watching it way too many times (mostly forwarding to the Hatter parts) I rushed out to buy Primeval. Found out I also love his Connor role. I am hoping the Alice movie will open doors for him in both British and American movies; he’s a wonderful actor. Oh, and a second Alice movie for the SyFy network with lots of Hatter would be wonderful. 🙂

  21. Genna Jack Says:

    Absolutely loved the character. He is sooooooooo beautiful. Love the shaggy look.

  22. emily Says:

    Until i read this i had no idea about Hatter’s true colors.Now i know,and i think that what Hatter became after becoming friends with Alice is so cute and just the best thing you could ever dream of.

  23. emily Says:

    I love Andrew,he’s is probably the best actor of our time!…and i hope with all my heart that there’s a sequel! =)

  24. emily Says:

    And Andrew Lee Potts is H.O.T HOT!!!!!!!……Love Him

  25. emily Says:

    the sequel should be that:the queen(Kathy Bates) gets her throne back and then she sends some of her suites to go and bring Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts) back to wonderland.and Alice(Caterina Scorsone) finds out the next day that Hatter was taken.so Alice of course has alot going on in her mind:where is he?,who took him?,is he alive?…she doesn’t know.so she searched her brain thinking of places he could be,she even called the police asking them if they got any missing person alerts,but there wasn’t any.then finally when all hope seemed to be lost,she got an idea,he was taken to wonderland.strangly she seemed to remember chasing the white rabit to the looking glass.so she traced her steps carefully trying to remember where he ran off to.them she found it,so she took a few deep breaths and jumped into the looking glass.and sought out to find him…

  26. Alice Says:

    I have to say.. This is the first time i’ve ever seen Andrew act and I can’t wait to see other movies that he is in.. but for now Alice is now my favorite movie of all time! owo

  27. Erin Says:

    I agree with some of the other comments. It felt to me like “Alice” was really about Hatter and that Mr. Potts stole the show. However, I think that Mr. Potts and Ms. Scorsone both worked really well together and it really helped the whole film.

  28. J Says:

    Hatter is the main person and alice but it’s more about hatter.
    And he’s hot!

  29. Taylor Says:

    PErsonally I loved Andrew Lee Potts as a actor in general, and to have him play as my favorite Alice in Wonderland character, just makes my happiness soar. If he could see this then I would give him a right on job, as he had made a more realistic, Hatter. This being the fat, made me not want to stop watching, and become very worried when he was hurt. I believe that Potts is really a good actor, and I’m proud to say that he is my favorite.
    In everything.
    Ever since I first spotted him as Connor Temple in Primeval, and he hasn’t dissapointed me since!
    Good luck!

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