Too Bad, So Sad.

Fans hoping for a glimpse of one of Hollywood’s most desirable men in Plymouth look like they will be disappointed.

Ever since the announcement some weeks ago that scenes from the new Disney film Alice in Wonderland would be filmed at Antony House near Torpoint, it’s been heavily rumoured that Johnny Depp would star in it – and arrive here for filming.

For the number of security guards at Antony House one could be forgiven for thinking a Hollywood A-lister had come to town… but sadly we’ve got news for you.

A spokeswoman for the production has told The Herald that the heart-throb won’t be filming at Antony, in Plymouth or indeed anywhere in the UK.

She added that Disney had not even confirmed he would be appearing in the film at all, although the star has long been a first choice for director Tim Burton.

It is believed the Mad Hatters’ tea party is among the scenes being shot in Antony. Mr Depp is rumoured to be playing the part of the Mad Hatter, but it is also rumoured he will be a CGI graphic. All of which means that it may be some time before we get any official confirmation of how or if Depp will actually appear in the film.

Meanwhile, at Antony House filming has started and has already been creating a buzz of activity at the historic site. For the coming weeks more than 250 extras, from Plymouth and surrounding areas, will be dressing up and acting in scenes under the expert hand of Tim Burton.

And yesterday The Herald visited the set to catch a glimpse of tinseltown’s adopted home.

Surrounded by women wearing the period costume, complete with corsets, wigs and bonnets, it was The Herald photographer and I that looked out of place in the grounds of Antony House.

Walking down the long and winding road towards Antony House you could imagine what attracted the gothic-inspired director to the setting.

Ancient oak trees overarch the stretch blocking out the sunlight.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the film set further down the road, the estate’s silence is deathly.

Upon reaching Antony House itself you immediately realise the grand scale of the production. Between 600 and 700 people, ranging from actors, extras, cameramen and production staff, are believed to be operating at the site. Hundreds of cars park in a field converted to a make-shift car park. Adjacent to them are large trailers presumably used for wardrobe fittings and catering and hospitality.

Big, burly – but nonetheless friendly – security guards line the site like a human brick wall.

Despite the disappointment over Depp, looking at the set and those involved you can see that the local economy has to be a winner in all of this. Countless taxis and catering companies are present at the site, and all the actors and production staff involved are presumably staying and dining locally.

While Disney will no doubt add its own glitz and glamour to the scenes, you have to admit Tinseltown’s visit is a great advert for what we have on our own doorstep.

Alice in Wonderland, which is due for release in 2010, will be shown in 3-D and will see Australian newcomer Mia Wasikowska play the part of Alice.