Helena Bonham Carter thought Tim Burton was proposing when he offered her 'Alice in Wonderland' role

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (AFP/Frederic J. Brown AFP via Getty Images)
Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton (AFP via Getty Images)

Helena Bonham Carter thought her ex-partner Tim Burton was going to propose to her when he asked her to star in his Alice in Wonderland film adaptation.

The 54-year-old actor played the Red Queen in the 2010 film version of the Lewis Carroll book and its 2016 sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass

Burton, 62, directed the first film and at the time was still in a relationship with Bonham Carter, who is the mother of his two children. 

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Writing for Harper's Bazaar UK, she shared: "Back in 2008, my ex Tim Burton asked me to have a meeting at his office. 

Tim Burton And Helena Bonham-Carter Arriving For The Royal World Premiere Of Alice In Wonderland At The Odeon, Leicester Square, London. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Tim Burton And Helena Bonham-Carter arrive for the world premiere of Alice In Wonderland. (UK Press via Getty Images)

"This was unusual, for at the time, I shared a home with him and our two young children down the other end of the road. What was so important that he couldn’t ask me over Cheerios?

“Seated at his desk, he announced quite formally: ‘I have something very important to ask you.’ At this point I thought he was going to ask me to marry him.

“‘I wonder if you would consider playing the Red Queen in my film of Alice In Wonderland?’ and before I could respond, he shoved a sketch toward me.

Helena Bonham Carter attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Helena Bonham Carter (Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

“‘Look, it’s got to be you, because I’ve drawn you without intending to.’ It was a sketch of an overly large-headed scowling queen. Frankly, this was better than a marriage proposal.”

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The pair announced they had amicably parted ways in 2014 after 13 years together.

Bonham Carter and Burton have collaborated on multiple films throughout the years but The Crown star revealed last year that they had trouble when working together on 2008's Sweeney Todd

Speaking on the Grounded With Louis Theroux podcast, she said they were both "out of our depths" as she had never sung before and he had never directed a musical so they "really didn't get on" at that time due to the stress of the project.

With additional reporting by PA.

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