Johnny Depp is honoured to play the Mad Hatter in 'Alice in Wonderland'.

The 46-year-old actor admits his eccentric character in Tim Burton's film, based on the classic children's novel, was a "dream" role.

He said: "To play the Mad Hatter and breathe life into Tim's vision is a dream come true.

"He's a fascinating character. He's mad. He's unpredictable."

Depp also suggests the Mad Hatter will have a great affection for the movie's protagonist, Alice, played by actress Mia Wasikowska.

He said: "They complete one another like a brother and sister do. He's very protective of her, and she's very protective of him."

Earlier this month Anne Hathaway, who plays the White Queen in the movie, admitted the original script had her playing the lead role of Alice - but she turned it down as she felt it was too close to a previous role.

She said: "The studio had the 'Alice' script a long time ago and I was approached back then for the part of Alice.

"I considered it, but felt, what with 'The Princess Diaries', that I had been there, done that sort of pretty-girl-in-a-fairy-dress role.

"I told the studio, however, that I would, however, be interested in playing the White Queen."

'Alice in Wonderland' follows a storyline different to the original story, written by Lewis Caroll, and will be released in early March.