Friday, September 25, 2009

Sheen's "Inner Rabbit"

Michael Sheen, who plays the role of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, recently had an interview with Collider, in which he discussed his upcoming projects. Here's the segment on Alice:

How do you find your inner white rabbit?

Michael Sheen: Everyone has an inner white fluffy animal. It’s such an iconic character that I didn’t feel like I should break the mold too much. I sort of just went with it. It’s a great character and a great story. “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan”were the first stories growing up that had a huge impact on me and have stayed with me ever since. So to be part of Tim Burton’s version is just a dream come true.

Since those lines are so classic, did you approach it like you would a “Hamlet”?

Michael Sheen: As a sort of cultural iconography, you know you are sort of treading that path. But Tim’s version of the story is not the original version. It’s everything you’d want in an “Alice in Wonderland” but it’s slightly off kilter as Tim Burton is one to do. It’s not like I was doing the same thing as has been done before.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tim Burton's Fashion Shoot

In recognition of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Tim Burton has designed some new looks for Harper's Bazaar Halloween photoshoot. The images include a few references to some of Burton's films and art (and Tim faces his fears wearing the body of a cartoon clown. He's also dressed as Sandy Claws). Photographs by Tim Walker:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Burton Appears in Upcoming Documentary

Don Hahn's upcoming documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty, is about the story of the so-called Disney "animation renaissance" that took place between 1984 and 1994. Many stars of the modern world of animation are featured in the documentary: John Lasseter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, John Musker, Glen Keane, Don Bluth, Roy Disney, Michael Eisner, and Tim Burton -- who appears briefly as a young animator miserably working on The Fox and the Hound.

You can see 11 video clips of the upcoming documentary at this link at (Burton is in the second clip for a few seconds at a rather amusing event.) No release date is announced yet, but it was most likely be released in theaters in 2010. The film is rated PG and is 86 minutes long.

Don Hahn, a producer at Disney, directed this documentary, and helped bring The Nightmare Before Christmas back to theaters in a new 3D presentation. Currently, he is an executive producer on the upcoming animated version of Frankenweenie.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Alive! "Frankenweenie" Rises from the Dead!

Tim Burton's stop-motion animated, feature-length adaptation of his 1984 live-action short Frankenweenie is coming! And executive producer Don Hahn has provided some details at Disney's D23 Expo to SciFi Wire:

1. It will be in black and white. An animated movie in black and white? Was this not a hard sell? "It was and it wasn't," Hahn said. "I think now, with Tim working at the top of his craft, the top of his game, on movies like Alice in Wonderland, I think Dick Cook really felt like if you're going to take a risk on anybody, why can't it be Tim Burton? A Tim Burton movie in black and white based on Frankenstein, how cool is that? Dick was very supportive of it." [Dick Cook was the chairman of the Walt Disney Co. until a few days ago. It is unclear whether his abrupt departure from the company will affect the film.]

Don Hahn has been in the animation industry for a while.

2. The new script will include more Frankenstein and more of the dog. And the screenplay is finished, Hahn confirmed at the press conference. "It's Frankenstein mixed with a boy-and-his-dog story, very much like the original one," Hahn said in an exclusive interview after the conference. "What's great is Tim grew up in Southern California, in Burbank, and the movie itself kind of takes that California suburban look at a monster movie story. I think that's what we're trying to do."

3. The Frankenstein family tree is growing. Bigger movie means more characters. "There are a lot of great new characters in it, really great new characters," Hahn said in the exclusive interview. But who will be among the cast? "It's the ensemble. It's the Tim Burton ensemble." Many of the actors from Burton's 1984 short film are still alive, such as Shelley Duvall, but which collaborators of Burton's may be on board? "The neat thing about Tim is he can pretty much call up anybody he needs and they'll be happy to work with him," Hahn said.

4. Now Tim Burton can do what he wants.
Disney wasn't very happy with the original Frankenweenie, deeming it too scary for children. But now, with Burton's bankability, Disney is letting the creative filmmaker unleashed (relatively speaking). "Unlike Tim's recent stop-motion movies, he's designing the characters himself," Hahn said in this exclusive interview. "So you really get kind of the hand of the artist in it and get to see Tim's work itself. It's Tim Burton at his best. I think that's why he leapt at it, because when he started out making movies, it was his first choice for a live-action movie. I think he felt like, 'Gee, I wish I could've made a feature back then.' So now to come back and revisit the material is pretty fun for him, I think." Indeed, Burton has been wanting to make a feature version of Frankenweenie for 25 years -- a quarter of a century.

5. It has begun. And it's set for a 2011 release. "I'm not sure it's a 90-minute film," Hahn said. Burton and his team have already built maquettes. "We're underway on it, and I think the most important thing is it has to be a good movie," Hahn said. "So if it's not ready for 2011, then we'll let it drift into the next year, but we're up and running already." Like Corpse Bride before it, Frankenweenie is entering production in London. "The primary reason to go there is Tim lives there, and there's a great group of talent over there also that is really into stop-motion animation," Hahn said. (So a 2012 release date is not unrealistic.)

More exciting news to come in the future! Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Burton Makes Special Appearance

Tim Burton made a special appearance at Disney's D23 Expo on September 11th, promoting Alice in Wonderland. See more pictures here. He briefly mentioned Alice in Wonderland and gave a bit of official news on Frankenweenie...

Tim Burton and Dick Cook, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios

When Burton was asked why he wanted to make an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice, Burton replied, right in front of Disney big cheese Cook, "I never saw one... I know you already made one... that did justice to the material."

Tim Burton and fellow director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Christmas Carol)

Burton confirmed that a stop-motion, feature-length adaptation of his 1984 short film was in the making, and is currently set to be released in 2012.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Burton on His Films and Art

The Wrap's Eric Kohn recently interviewed Tim Burton. The director discussed a myriad of topics, including his greatly anticipated Alice in Wonderland and feature-length Frankenweenie, the forthcoming exhibition of his artwork at the Museum of Modern Art, issues with the studio system, and his past classics:

The trailer for Alice in Wonderland leaked online a day early. How did you feel about that?

I didn't like that. Somebody f---ed that one up. It just shows you how easy … it's like, "Oh, sorry, I just pushed that nuke button." That's the problem. All this stuff is so available. I still come from the olden days where you like to see a movie and be surprised. Then you want to know something about it -- as opposed to getting everything front-loaded. A movie just loses its whole mystique.

The art of the trailer has become an entirely separate creative process.

Well, yeah. I've always had my theories, and my theories are always different from the marketing people.

At any rate, the trailer indicates an appropriately vibrant take on the story. Is this a palate-cleanser after the grimness of Sweeney Todd?
Yeah, it's a different palate. Also, the Alice imagery has been around. For me, it wasn't so much the books. I was aware of it from other aspects of popular culture, whether it was in music or other images. It was just about trying to tell it in a way so it's not a series of weird events, like in the book.

Are you staying away from the acid subtext?

No, no, not so much that. I'm just trying to keep away from the structure that the other [interpretations] suffer from, the episodic stuff. A passive little girl wandering around thinking everything is weird.

It's weird talking about Alice when I have so much left to do on it. It's a bit creepy.

Audiences tend to bring a certain baggage to the theater when the movie involves a familiar brand, which many of your movies do.

They're harder to do for that reason. Everybody looks at the white rabbit or the Cheshire Cat or the Mad Hatter and has an idea of what they should be. With known icons, you're always going to piss off somebody.

Like with Watchmen?
That's the thing: You never know what you're going to get. With something like Watchmen, it's known on one level. It's like a great novel. You have to leave something out, somebody's favorite part. Somebody will think the essence has been sucked out of it. That's just the nature of tackling something known.

Sweeney Todd was a quintessential example of your darker side. Why didn't it do better business?
I didn't know what kind of response it would get. It seemed to do OK. I don't really know. I never know. Every movie I've ever done, I never could predict a response.

But if anyone could turn such a morose story into a massive commercial property, you're the guy.

Yeah, but if you look at the “Harry Potter” movies, they've gotten darker. For 20 years, I’ve had to fight against the whole "dark" issue. Now it's the "norm." I've tried to keep my stuff in there.

Do you feel like studios try to dumb down your ideas?

That's always the case, especially when you're dealing with a bigger budget. That's fair enough from the studios’ point of view. It's a big investment. I don't try to pay too much attention to that. It's a bit abstract anyway.

You'll have a huge exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Does seeing your entire career surveyed make it seem as though you've achieved your creative potential?
I hope not. We'll see. Am I going to go back and remake Pee-Wee's Big Adventure? I don't think so. I feel like I've been pretty pure about that. There's been a lot of pressure to do, like, a sequel to Nightmare Before Christmas. I'm just not going to do it.

But you've talked about turning your early short film Frankenweenie into a feature.
I might do a low-budget, stop-motion movie. Something I couldn't do in the short. It would be nice to capture the spirit of my original drawings.

Like Corpse Bride?
No, less than that. I'd do it in black and white.

What about all those Broadway musical rumors?

Yeah, I got approached to do a Broadway version of Batman. I couldn't quite bring myself to do that, either.

So, how did you find the time to help out as a producer on 9?
This was a few years ago. I got involved after I saw the short film [which was nominated for an Oscar in 2005]. I felt close to his design sensibility. It's different from mine, but I related to the characters and the world. Since I've been through the experience of making animated films, I just felt like I could help him keep all the outside evils away.

Do you still watch a lot of animated shorts?

When I was first in animation, it was like a dying art form. But if you're an animator, there are more opportunities now than ever. Also, it’s using all the media.

A few years ago, they declared cel animation dead again, but now I'm hearing about some cel-animated films. I think that whole thing, "Oh, now we're only going to do computers, or we're only going to do this or that"... those barriers have been broken through.

D23 Reveals More of "Wonderland"

Day One at Disney's D23 Expo has already revealed numerous props, stand-ins, and promos from Alice in Wonderland. Images courtesy of and

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"9" Opens Today

9 is in theaters today. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Shane Acker Talks "9"

The animated science-fiction epic 9 is hitting theaters on Wednesday. (I saw it a few days ago at a special pre-release screening, and I'd definitely recommend it.) In recognition of the film's release, director Shane Acker talks about his first feature, his influences, and what his next projects might be with Animation World Network's Bill Desowitz:

A new era in animated storytelling begins with the release of 9 on 9/9/09 (from Focus Features). Shane Acker, the celebrated UCLA alum, whose imaginative 9 short was nominated for an Oscar, has been hard at work for the last four years or so making his post-apocalyptic CG adventure into a feature. How 9 got set up is fascinating. It was first shepherded by producer Jim Lemley (Wanted), who got the short to super agent Mike Simpson, who then approached Tim Burton, who helped set it up at Focus. Then Lemley approached his directing partner, Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch), who was helpful with, among other things, recutting. Acker tells us in this exclusive interview about his experience making his feature debut with Starz Animation Toronto, as well as his recent artist in resident gig at The Gnomon School and two upcoming features he's trying to set up.

Elijah Wood (left) and Shane Acker

Bill Desowitz: How did you first approach making 9 into a feature?

Shane Acker: When I made the short, I really didn't have a longer form script or idea, but I did have a lot of ideas about the world and the backstory to help me design the short and the characters. We just kind of started there, relooking at all those ideas I had behind the short and how those characters came to be and what happened to the humans. And then started cracking the door open a little wider and tried to piece together a story from that. But this was my way of diving back into another four years of a project that had already taken me four-and-a-half, with the possibility of who these other characters are, who the other numbers are. They are just suggested in the short.

BD: So you got to unlock a lot of doors.

SA: Yes, exactly. And that's a lot of fun, both in designing the characters but then trying to figure out who they are, and their personalities and who their maker was: a Geppetto/Oppenheimer-like character connected to the downfall of humanity and how they represent a new beginning and vessels for the human spirit to carry on in this world. And that they're all facets of that one individual personality/identity. They're all inclined in different ways, so they all have different strengths and weaknesses. And through this coming together, they form the whole -- they put together the individual once again.

BD: And where did you set up your animation initially?

SA: You must know the story: It was Attitude Studio, which had a studio in Paris, but we set up in Luxembourg. And so we worked on the film for about seven months over there in Luxembourg before it became really apparent to us that we were never going to get the movie done with that studio. I mean, they have a lot of talented and dedicated artists, but the pipeline was just not set up [for our needs]. They were adapting a motion capture pipeline into a character pipeline; we sort of discovered through the process that we just didn't have the tools and wouldn't be able to get the tools together in time…

BD: So how did you end up at Starz?

SA: Yeah, so the thing was set up as a negative pick up, and when we had to go to the studio and tell them that we wouldn't be able to guarantee that we could get this movie done on time, then the bond company came in and did a whole audit. And, as part of that audit, they brought in Jinko Gotoh, who is an animation producer. She worked on Finding Nemo and a bunch of Disney projects, so she became a champion for the project. She wanted to find a way to keep it going, even though it meant setting it somewhere else and spending more money. So I really credit her for keeping the project alive and finding a new home for it at Starz Toronto, which turned out to be a wonderful experience with a really great team. And really smart artists who understood the vision and were really collaborative in finding ways to make it work and get the most bang for the buck on screen for a really modest budget. They come from experience where they're working with big studios, but they're up in Canada and finding ways to cut corners and tweaking and refining their pipeline all down the line.

BD: And obviously it stepped them up and prepared them to handle bigger features.

And we took a creative team there and just kind of vetted and bonded with the artists… and there's something about the material and the world that inspired the artists. They got to flex [new] muscles and that helped push the quality of the film.

BD: Talk about developing the look of the characters and the world -- the "Stitchpunk" that borrows from stop-motion.

When I was doing the short, what I felt was lacking in a lot of the CG projects out there were a real texture and grit, as well as a cinematic approach to the storytelling. And I was finding that in stop-motion films, whether it was the Brothers Quay or Jan Svanmajer. I drew a lot of inspiration from them. There's a kind of believability because they had to mechanically work the puppets and armatures that they created for their stop-motion characters. So there was a truth through materials and a grit and grime and texture on the world.

BD: Very tactile.

SA: Yes, very tactile, that drew you in and you believed it.

BD: And how did you make this work in CG?

SA: When I was first doing the short, I was thinking that I would do it as a stop-motion film, but found that it was very limiting in what you could do with the camera to tell the story visually, So I decided to take this sensibility, this interest, this design idea and bring it into the CG world where I can move the camera any way that I want. But at the same time, adhering to the cinematic language of how you move a camera, which, I think, is what Pixar has done.

BD: And the environments, which have a very Eastern European painterly influence?

SA: We wanted it to work on lots of different levels. So when you get close to the characters, there will always be more detail revealed to you. We knew that we would be spending a lot of time with our characters and so we put a lot of detail and texture into them, which make them believable. And then on the environments, we were able to take other liberties with them, based upon the camera and things like that. We did a lot of painterly things with that. But somehow it works because when you're close, the characters feel believable and tactile, and then when you're in the vista, it feels like they're moving through these paintings so it feels more romantic, lyrical, like a fable. It is this alternate reality world, this ruined "Stitchpunk" world, and it becomes a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic fairy tale. Plus you'll get there so much quicker by doing a painting then by putting all the details in for one rendering.

BD: And what was it like having Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov shepherding your movie?

SA: Tim Burton coming on the project when he did and validating it and putting his name out there and supporting the vision that we had, as well as finding the writer [Pamela Pettler] and getting the studio, too, to buy it. And then as we went, just having that support team there, where whenever we got a big mouth done or we got a new cut of the film, we would present it to them and they had this critical distance from the film, because I had been in the trenches for so long and could see it with fresh eyes and talk about the larger ideas or the big picture notes. This allowed me to step back and see it through their eyes and strategize and go back into the trenches and to know how to push from the inside out.

And in the end, they were both making films, but then Timur finished Wanted, so I got to spend more time with him, which was an amazing experience.

BD: What was he like?

SA: He's like this unedited stream of crazy and inventive ideas, so he's like this endless well, where, if you have a problem, and he'll constantly come up with ideas. Some work, some don't. But while some may seem crazy, when you step back, you realize there's something to it. And so it was fun having that crazy spirit. And then doing recuts with him, seeing how even in editing if you massage it a certain way, you can change the perception of the characters, you can make them stronger, you can make them more vulnerable as well as upping the ante and the excitement of the film.

BD: So, let's switch gears and talk about your becoming an artist in residence at Gnomon.

SA: Yeah, well Alex Alvarez and I have had a loose connection for a while and he approached me before I started 9 about being an artist in residence at The Gnomon School and developing short films with the students there, which I thought was an amazing opportunity. And then when 9 was wrapping up, I called Alex and said, "Hey, do you still have that position over there?" Because there's something very liberating and you always want to keep developing stuff and broadening your horizons as an artist. These feature films take years and years and they also take a lot of time to set up, so the opportunity to go and make a little short where the stakes aren't as high and you can take more risks and explore and push yourself as an artist was really appealing to me. So when he said that the position was still open, I leapt at the opportunity. You know, you always have these stories rolling around in your head and spending four years on 9, I certainly have a backlog of ideas for shorts. And I had one ready-made that I pitched, which fits the aesthetic of the school, so it felt like it was right up their alley.

A storyboard of 3 and 4 drawn by Acker himself.

BD: What can you tell me about it?

SA: Well, it's really short: I think it's going to be three or three-and-a-half minutes. And, again, it's returning to my roots as a non-verbal storyteller. It's real character-based. Gnomon is sort of known for their visual design and effects work but not so much for character animation, so it's bringing something new into the school. But it's this tale that takes place above the planes of hell in like this Dante's Inferno world. There are these two demons that are biding their time and they're caught in a struggle of miscommunication; they're both missing vital pieces of themselves, important for communication, but they each contain the piece in their possession that will complete the other. But somehow, because they can't communicate, it just turns into this terrible battle that ultimately leads to their fate, and you get the sense that this is something repeats endlessly, and that's their place in hell. It's a pretty neat little story with some interesting character designs, so I'm excited about working on it.

BD: And you get to collaborate with the students.

SA: Yeah, which is great, because I spent time as a teacher all through my education. At UCLA, I was a teaching assistant and I really love working with artists in general, especially young artists, and see what they bring to the table and how excited they are to learn and be a part of it. And, again, looking for this unfettered imagination that is not tarnished at all by production experience and all these kinds of things that can bog you down after a while and limit your vision.

BD: So, when do you start?

SA: It's happening now: I've storyboarded it and we've been cutting it and I think the end of September we'll start producing it.

BD: And what about any potential features in the works?

SA: There are two projects: a live-action that hasn't been announced that we're trying to get a development deal on, kind of a fantasy world, based on a young-adult novel series out of the U.K., which will be a lot of fun because it has this very interesting core of characters. And then there's an animated film that we're pitching to the studios right now that's based on a graphic novel -- a kind of Secret of NIMH meets Dark Crystal meets Lord of the Rings. It's all told deep in the unforeseen forest and it's a dark, dramatic, epic adventure film.

Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN and VFXWorld.

----------------- lists the release dates of 9 per country:

France 19 August 2009
Canada 9 September 2009
Cyprus 9 September 2009
Czech Republic 9 September 2009
Estonia 9 September 2009
Greece 9 September 2009
Netherlands 9 September 2009
Russia 9 September 2009
Singapore 9 September 2009
South Korea 9 September 2009
USA 9 September 2009
Ukraine 10 September 2009
Belgium 16 September 2009
Brazil 18 September 2009
Poland 18 September 2009
Finland 27 September 2009 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
Iceland 9 October 2009
Portugal 29 October 2009
UK 30 October 2009
Argentina 5 November 2009
Spain 1 January 2010
Taiwan 19 March 2010
Australia 21 September 2010

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Win a Special Edition "9" Movie Book

Animation World Network has a contest for you to win a special edition of the 9 movie book. Focus Features only made 999 of these special edition books, and you could win one for free. Just enter your information on the website. If you are one of the nine lucky winners, you will be informed and will receive the book encased in a uniquely numbered burlap bag. The book features a special foreward by Ray Kurzweil, behind-the-scenes art, an extensive collection of stills from the film, commentary from director Shane Acker and producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, and a DVD of the original short film by Shane Acker which inspired the full-length feature 9.

All legal residents of the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) who are located in the United States at the time the participate, and residents of Canada who are of legal age of majority in the province or territory in which they reside at the time they participate, are eligible to enter. The Sweepstakes runs through Sept 15th, 2009.
Void where prohibited by law.

Disney Previews "Wonderland" Fashion Line

Disney Consumer Products (DCP) has shown a preview of its high-end fashion line based upon the forthcoming Alice in Wonderland movie and designed by Tom Binns. (See a photo gallery of the preview here.)

Disney has said that Binns, a jewelry designer and a Council of Fashion Designers of America winner, will be the first of several fashion designers to add their aesthetic twist to the Wonderland-themed fashion lineup.

See a runway preview
, which could best be described as "curioser and curioser":

You can see more videos at the Disney Lifestyle YouTube channel.

National Jeweler Network provides more information

"The "Tom Binns for Walt Disney Signature" line will offer a limited-edition collection of six jewelry pieces designed in Binns' over-the-top runway style. The collection will be available through luxury retailers and fine boutiques, with pieces ranging in price from $1,000 to $3,000.

"Meanwhile, "Tom Binns for Disney Couture" will offer 35 pieces featuring Binns' unique style in collaboration with Lucas Designer International. Retail prices will range from $50 to $250, with pieces incorporating photo inlay with lace accents and Swarovski crystal details. The collection will be available at department stores and specialty boutiques."

The six jewelry pieces will be based upon several characters from the film, including the Mad Hatter, Red Queen, White Rabbit, and others.

"This timeless story of Lewis Caroll married with the wonderful world of Disney and Tim Burton's interpretation offers so much philosophical fantasy and peculiar surreal imagination," Binns said of the collaboration in a media release. "It opens up a labyrinth of doors for my particular way of seeing the world, allowing me to express my fashion experience with my interest in art and cinema. Alice is the perfect story to release that creativity, and I cannot imagine a better story to cultivate my relationship with Disney."

"Disney fashion continues to be at the forefront of trends," Pam Lifford, DCP executive vice president, global fashion and home, said. "Drawing inspiration from such creative works of art as Alice in Wonderland and collaborating with top designers like Tom Binns keeps Disney and our characters relevant with tastemakers and serves up an aspirational halo effect with consumers and Disney fans of all ages."

The marketing lineup to promote the film is not limited to fashion. Many other interpretive collections based on Alice in Wonderland will be released, including character-themed toys, home decor, jewelery, hair and beauty products, and stationary.

The fashion line's retail release and much more will coincide with the theatrical debut of Alice in Wonderland in early March 2010.

You can learn more about DCP here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Q&A with Tim Burton

Metromix covers a lot in their Q&A with filmmaker Tim Burton. In the interview, Burton talks about the various films that he's working on (and even mentions the status of the stop-motion adaptation of Frankenweenie), his thoughts on the Oscars, the current state of animation in the film industry, and much more:

You came aboard 9 as producer after Shane Acker had made his short film. How'd that process work out?

I liked his short film, and he had a certain sensibility that I felt close to. Because I had gone through the process and made animated films…I always know what I wished I'd had, which was somebody to bounce things off of: first cut, the first draft of the script, some design notes.

What drew you to the story?
I liked the short film. It just seemed like a piece of a larger picture. It just needed to be fleshed out. The thing about a short is, you can keep the kind of mystery and the kind of personal quality to it. And I think the key was to keep that feeling, but on a bigger scale. You see a lot of personal films, but you don't see a lot of personal animated films.

Well, the number of Oscar nominees for Best Picture has now been bumped up to 10…


Wonder why they did that? I had heard talk of it but didn't know they actually did it. Wow.

With more nominees this year, people are predicting that a film like Up could land a spot as the first computer-animated Best Picture nominee.
Animated films…they're films! I think it's good that now, most people are not looking at them as [just] animated. They're looking at them as films, like the Pixar people. You can categorize [animation], but it shouldn't be limited by that.

But the Best Animated Film category is still there. Do you think that ghettoizes these movies?
Maybe it does. But at the same time, most people recognize—certainly the studios recognize—the economic potential of animated films. Family films, animated films—[they're] much more of a sure thing than any type of film at the moment.

What's your favorite animated film?

[Long pause] I'd have to pick something that had a lot of impact, which was Jason and the Argonauts [by] Ray Harryhausen. That really had an impact on me. The stop-motion animation and the kind of reality and scale of it at the time when I saw it was really amazing.

Would you ever want to remake that film? They're remaking Clash of the Titans.
[Chuckles] I know. Nah, I think it was good.

How are things coming along with Dark Shadows?
I haven't really started that at all. I still have to finish Alice. So that's a big job ahead of me. It's way too early. [Laughs] Probably in a year's time.

Any ideas that you've already been thinking up for it?
Well, just to try to capture the tone. It was a strange show, it has a strange vibe to it. And that's, I think, key to it.

Alice has been all over the place, with photos and trailers and you guys at Comic-Con.

Usually I don't talk about something before it's done. So it's been an odd situation because I [still] have so much work to do. I'm not scared of [all the special effects], per se, but I'm a bit daunted by the time and the unknown quality of it. But that makes it exciting as well.

What about Frankenweenie?

Still early. Like I said, the focus I have is Alice. It's hard to think of anything else that requires a large amount of work.

But that's on the table.
Oh yeah, afterward, yeah. Exactly. Slowly get started.

I saw the latest "Harry Potter" last night, which stars your partner, Helena Bonham Carter. She makes a pretty mean baddie.
[Jokes] Yeah, she's a good witch. She had a lot of practice. She's good at that.

Does she ever come to you for tips on how to channel all that darkness?

No, she keeps it all personal. She keeps it all for her own uses, yeah. Witchcraft uses. [Laughs]

New York's Museum of Modern Art is doing an exhibit on you later this year. That was a little unexpected.
I feel like it's a weird dream—I'm not sure that it's real. But it's very exciting. That's probably more scary than a film, in a certain way. It feels a bit more exposing. I'm trying not to think too much about it. I'm trying to remove myself a bit from it—a bit of an out-of-body experience.

Your films have such a consistent, dark vision. Do you ever wake up wanting to do something crazy like a romantic comedy?

[Chuckles] No. Well, I thought Sweeney Todd was a romantic comedy in my mind. So, I think I've already done it. [Laughs] But not the way you're thinking, because that would be scary. But some of those are so scary, they're like horror movies anyway. They don't need my help.

Tim Burton Answers Your Questions

Remember when MTV News said they wanted the fans to submit questions for Tim Burton to answer in an exclusive video interview? Well, the video is finally online.

Burton talks about a huge variety of topics in the five clips below, including his "bromance" with Johnny Depp, his opinions on computer generated animation and stop-motion, and his upcoming movies Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows, among other topics.

An except, while discussing his abstract dialogues with Johnny Depp:

"It's very nice to have someone that you can have a completely abstract conversation with and leave the room, feel like everything's fine, and then realize that if you pick it apart, you have absolutely no idea what either of you said."

Burton continued: "That's a sign of knowing somebody and connecting with somebody. I don't pretend to know [him]. If I don't know who I am — this sounds like a bad therapy session — but I don't pretend to know anybody else. That's what keeps it all cool."