Saturday, July 24, 2010

Elfman Announces Box Set Commemorating 25 Years with Burton

At his first Comic-Con appearance, composer Danny Elfman announced that a collectible box set commemorating his 25 years of working with director Tim Burton will be coming out soon, says Gamespot. The box set will include a DVD, 14 CDs (presumably of the soundtracks from the various Burton films that Elfman has scored), a book with interviews of both Elfman and Burton, and artwork from the director. Retail price and release date for the box set have yet to be announced, but it is supposed to be released round Christmas this yet.

You can sign up at to receive official updates regarding this limited edition box set.

One of the first questions that the moderator first asked Danny Elfman was how this legendary partnership began. Elfman joked that he was likely the only composer that Burton had a cell phone number for, and that he kept losing the numbers to other potential candidates.

“I’m not sure why he kept calling back,” said Elfman, who mentioned earlier that he was embarrassed and had a fear of public speaking. (He also has a fear of tidal waves, apparently.)

Elfman said that one of the most difficult projects that he ever worked on was Batman. Not only was the score to be a huge, grandiose one, but the producer, studio, and basically ever other than Tim Burton wanted Elfman to score the film. Elfman also said that two of his most rewarding composing experiences was on Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas, because no one was looming over his back.

He said that Nightmare was also the most fun film to score, because there was no script yet. Instead, Burton would come by every three days or so and tell him a little bit of the story. When he was done, Elfman would compose a piece for that scene, and Burton would return in three days time and they would repeat the process for a month. No project has ever been that organic or easy since then, said Elfman, including Alice in Wonderland.

In fact, Alice in Wonderland was especially stressful for Danny Elfman. It was the first time that the composer was watching a film that was mostly shot on green screen, and so he had to compose the music with little knowledge as to how the film would ultimately look.

Elfman's music had to keep the film grounded because the crazier the movie got, the more Burton wanted the score to keep everything anchored.

At the end of the day, Elfman aspires to do a bit of everything.

"I had many opportunities to express myself with Tim," he said. "Everything in my career was defined by him. Every one of his films allowed me access to everything…do what I needed to do, which is hopefully get to the point to where I can write any kind of score."

When asked what his favorite song that he had composed was he replied with, "I hate every song I've written and I never want to hear them again.” But if he did have to pick one, it would be "Jack’s Lament."

Click this link to read more of what Elfman had to say, including why he did not score The Simpsons Movie, why he's happy that he hasn't won an Oscar yet, and why there are no plans to do an Oingo Boingo reunion.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tim Burton's 5 Favorite Films

RottenTomatoes asked Tim Burton what five of his favorite films are. Here was his answer:

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

"It was a great year for films. [laughs] Seeing that movie is one of the reasons I wanted to move to London, because it's quite swinging -- it's like this weird mixture of a Hammer horror film and swinging London. There's a scene where they cut from, I don't know, 1569 or whatever, and it cuts to rock music and a jet airplane, so there's a weird juxtaposition of things. I've gotten to know Christopher Lee over the years and I know that he would not say that this was one of his favorite films. I think it was Hammer on the decline and they thought, 'Hey, let's get hip,' which was a mistake. But I enjoy mistakes sometimes."

The Wicker Man (1974)

"It's like a weird musical. That is actually one of Christopher's favorite movies that he did, unlike the last one. It was not a very successful movie when it came out but it's really quite a hypnotic and amazing film I think. It's like a weird dream. Some of these films I can't kind of watch over, because they play in your mind like a dream. It reminds me of growing up in Burbank. Things are quite normal on the surface but underneath they're not quite what they seem. I found this film to be such a strange mixture; the elements are very odd."

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

"Ray Harryhausen is another inspiration to me. He did it all himself, too, you know, in the days when it was difficult to do that. In his characters -- even the things that had no character -- you could feel an artist at work there. You could feel his hand in it, and that's rare, in any kind of film. His acting was better than the acting of the humans. It really tapped in to what I like about movies, I mean, the fantasy but also that handmade element, when you can see the movement of the characters -- it's like Frankenstein or Pinocchio, taking an inanimate object and having it come to life. That's why I still like to do stop-motion projects."

War of the Gargantuas (1970)

"One of my favorites. It's my two-year-old daughter's favorite movie. She's the green gargantua and my other son is the brown one, and she loves being the bad green gargantua. She's obsessed with it, as I was. I grew up watching Japanese science fiction movies and I particularly, unlike most hard core film people, like dubbed movies -- there's something about that language and the translation that somehow fits into the movie; it's like a weird poetry. There's a beauty to these films, the Japanese character designs -- there's a human kind of quality to these things, which I love. Monsters were always the most soulful characters. I don't know if it's because the actors were so bad, but the monsters were always the emotional focal point."

The Omega Man (1971)

"Seeing Charlton Heston reciting lines from Woodstock and wearing jumpsuits that look like he's out of Gilligan's Island -- there are lots of good things. The thing I liked about this is that the vampire characters were played by real people. They had a really cool look to them -- black robes, dark glasses. Not Charlton Heston with his shirt off. [laughs] I was kind of obsessed by him, because he's like the greatest bad actor of all time. Between this and Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green and The Ten Commandments -- I know that was a religious film but I always thought it was like the first zombie movie. He starts out like this real person and by the end he's like this weird zombie."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Confirmed: Burton Developing 'Monsterpocalypse'

Rumors were popping up online for a few weeks, but we now have official confirmation: Tim Burton is currently developing Monsterpocalypse. He is supposed to be directing and producing this film.

The Disney/DreamWorks movie is based on the game of the same name, which features epic battles of monsters played out on a board. Maybe Burton will exercise his fondness for Japanese Godzilla films in his project.

Game creator Matt Wilson will be a co-producer on the movie. John August will be the screenwriter, and is currently consulting with Wilson. It has also been revealed that visual effects master Ken Ralston (Return of the Jedi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland) will be on board on this 3D movie. Ralston and Burton are currently developing the look of the monsters.

/Film described the plot:

"The plot involves giant monsters who attack earth. After the humans fight back, the monsters retreat, but it is quickly discovered that they didn’t leave, but instead burrowed underground and are sending some sort of signal into space. The humans prepare for a possible future attach and developed giant robots that will fight the monsters if and when they return."

/Film's Peter Scierra spoke with producer Roy Lee (The Ring, The Departed, How to Train Your Dragon) over the weekend. Here's the interview, containing plenty of details about this forthcoming popcorn movie:

Peter: Hey Roy.

Roy: Hey Peter. How are you?

Peter: Good. So we’ve been hearing rumors that there is a film version of MONSTERPOCALYPSE with John August writing it and many have speculated that Tim Burton might direct? I wanted to see if you could confirm those rumors.

Roy: I can confirm that Tim Burton is developing it to direct. He’s working closely with John August on story. And this is the first time that Ken Ralston was brought in this early to do conceptual drawings and the visuals for the movie itself. I don’t know if you know Ken, but he’s won several Oscars for, I guess, maybe “Cocoon”, “Roger Rabbit”, “Back to the Future”, “Forest Gump”, all those, as well as working with Tim on “Alice in Wonderland”.

Peter: This is a board game, so what is the take on the film adaptation?

Roy: The general take on the film that I can give you is that the giant monsters come to earth and start wreaking havoc. The humans, at this point, fight back. And they feel like they’ve destroyed them, but they quickly learn that the monsters that come had actually not died and just sort of burrowed underground and are sending some sort of signal into space. Apparently, it is probably going to be a distress signal. So the humans know that something is going to be coming, they just don’t know what yet. And they know how big these monsters can be. Then it cuts to many years later when nothing has come back, but the humans have prepared for possible monsters coming back. And by this time, they have developed these giant robots that will fight the monsters when they come. That is what is going to take place. But most of the movie is going to be during that battle between the giant robots and the giant monsters.

Peter: So that part where the monsters return, is that just like the first 30 minutes of the movie?

Roy: Yes. The opening is just the basic present day, and then we go years into the future.

Peter: Wow. The MONSTERPOCALYPSE universe also encompasses other properties, like Voltron. Will those properties also be a part of the movie?

Roy: Not Voltron… The company that owns Voltron approached us, Matt Wilson, to be able to utilize the robots for the world of MONSTERPOCALYPSE. But we are not using anything from there to the movie, because a lot of the robots and monsters will be created by Tim himself and the cast.

Peter: OK, cool. So John August is…it sounds like you have a script, or you have a treatment right now?

Roy: He’s writing the script right now.

Peter: He’s writing the script right now. If this happens, when does this look like this happens in the schedule? This would definitely be after Dark Shadows, I assume?

Roy: That is something that we are not clear on, just because Tim has several opportunities that will be placed in front of him whenever these scripts are done, because both scripts of Dark Shadows and MONSTERPOCALYPSE are being written as we speak. So I can’t say what would happen if “Dark Shadows” comes in great and ours doesn’t, or the opposite. So it’s really just up in the air.

Peter: how big are these robots?

Roy: These robots would be the size of a very tall building, where the crew that is inside of each one of these robots…we’re not sure how many people are manning it. It’s almost as if, like, the robots are spaceships, but they are actually shaped like robots and walk around the Earth, where you have a crew inside them, like, with a captain, controlling different parts of the robot to fight these monsters.

Peter: Do we see that? Are we inside the bridge like Star Trek, or is it mostly outside seeing them fight the monsters?

Roy: Nope. You’ll be inside the robots and watching from outside.

Peter: Oh, really cool. And how big are the monsters, may I ask?

Roy: They will be just as big. Have you seen anything about the board game?

Peter: Yes, I’ve seen many photos of the board game, but I’ve never actually played it myself.

Roy: Well, yeah. Conceptually, the pieces are…you have like these buildings, and then the players are fighting against each other playing either the monsters or the robots. And those monsters and robots are the same size as the buildings.

Peter: Well, very cool. And is Tim doing any of the designs himself?

Roy: Oh, yes. Ken Ralston and Tim are working on the design. Tim has a very distinct style in the way he handles a lot of his creatures and the images that he uses in his movies that will be, I’m sure, reflected in our movie as well.

Peter: Well, very cool. Thank you for your time Roy. I know you are probably a very busy guy. I really appreciate it.

Roy: Sure. And a couple things. Tarik Heitmann, Gerald Moon, and Doug Davison are the exec producers.

Peter: And Matt Wilson, the creator of the game is…

Roy: Co-producer.

Peter: How involved is he?

Roy: He is very involved in the sense that the writer, John August, is consulting him and talking to him about just what choice he made in the game. He’s been very helpful in just explaining some of the mythology behind some of the creatures. Because we are using some of his creatures, as well as his robots. I mean it’s going to be sort of sub-everything.

Peter: And I assume that this is probably being developed as a 3D film?

Roy: That would be correct. I mean that’s where Ken is saying there is no reason why we shouldn’t, because seeing major cities destroyed and monsters fighting with robots would naturally lend itself to a 3D movie.

Peter: It sounds like it’s going to be lots of fun, so hopefully it gets made sooner rather than later.

Roy: I’d say there is a good chance that we would be in theaters by the end of 2012.

Peter: OK. Well, very cool Roy. Thank you very much. And again, I appreciate your time.

Roy: You are welcome. Sure thing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Shooting Date, Screenwriter for "Dark Shadows"

Deadline reports that Dark Shadows will begin filming in January 2011. The film also has a new screenwriter: Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith is replacing regular Burton scribe John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride). Grahame-Smith is best known for the macabre novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which will be adapted into a film starring Natalie Portman.

Dark Shadows marks the second collaboration for Tim Burton and Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith will also be writing the screenplay for the cinematic adaptation of his novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which Burton is producing.

Dark Shadows
will be based upon the gothic 1960s soap opera of the same name. It will star Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins. Depp, a major fan of the original television series, is also producing the film.

Special Release of Elfman's "Batman" Score

La-La Records will be releasing a newly-remastered two-disc set of Danny Elfman's classic Batman score. The set will feature the original cues from the 1989 film as well as a fully-remastered version of the original soundtrack. Less than 5,000 units will be made available to eager Elfman-iacs.

No official date for the release has been made yet, but here are the details:

BATMAN (1989): LIMITED EDITION: 2 CD-SET (Expanded Archival Collection)
LLLCD 1140
Music by Danny Elfman
Limited Edition of 5000 Units

As part of our Expanded Archival Collection, La-La Land Records presents the World premiere release of the film version of Danny Elfman's acclaimed original score to the 1989 Warner Bros. blockbuster BATMAN, starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger and directed by Tim Burton. With a running time of 144 minutes, this 2-CD SET, produced by Dan Goldwasser, Neil S. Bulk and MV Gerhard, and remastered by James Nelson, features the previously unreleased film version of Mr. Elfman's score, as well as a remastered presentation of the 1989 soundtrack album and never-before-released Bonus Tracks. 20 Page CD Booklet features in-depth liner notes by Jeff Bond. Limited Edition of 5000 Units

ABOUT THIS RELEASE: In order to present as much music as possible from Batman in the best possible quality, multiple sources were utilized with the best-quality elements selected for each cue on an individual basis. For disc one and the bonus cues on disc two, three sources were used: Eric Tomlinson's 35mm 4-track mixes, 1/4 inch stereo mixes and a stereo 35mm music only track. The album cues on disc two were sourced from the original digital album master featuring Shawn Murphy's stereo album mix.


Disc One: Original Score (film version)
1. Main Title* (2:42)
2. Family*/First Batman*/Roof Fight* (3:24)
3. Jack Vs. Eckhardt* (1:37)
4. Up Building*/Card Snap* (1:54)
5. Bat Zone*/Axis Set-Up* (1:55)
6. Shootout* (5:42)
7. Dinner Transition*/Kitchen Dinner* (**)/Surgery* (3:00)
8. Face–Off* (**)/Beddy Bye* (3:59)
9. Roasted Dude* (1:03)
10. Vicki Spies (Flowers)* (1:56)
11. Clown Attack* (1:59)
12. Photos*/Beautiful Dreamer* (***) (2:30)
13. Men At Work* (0:33)
14. Paper Spin*/Alicia's Mask* (0:30)
15. Vicki Gets A Gift* (1:13)
16. Alicia's Unmasking* (1:10)
17. Batman To The Rescue*/Batmobile Charge*/Street Fight* (4:25)
18. Descent Into Mystery* (1:33)
19. Bat Cave*/Paper Throw* (2:48)
20. The Joker's Poem* (0:59)
21. Sad Pictures* (0:38)
22. Dream*/Challenge*/Tender Bat Cave* (**) (4:28)
23. Charge Of The Batmobile* (1:43)
24. Joker Flies To Gotham (Unused)*/Batwing I* (0:31)
25. Batwing II*/Batwing III* (6:02)
26. Cathedral Chase* (5:07)
27. Waltz To The Death* (3:58)
28. Showdown I*/Showdown II* (5:05)
29. Finale* (**) (1:47)
30. End Credits* (1:29)
Disc One Total Time: 75:40

Disc Two: Original Soundtrack Album (remastered)
1. The Batman Theme (2:37)
2. Roof Fight (1:22)
3. First Confrontation (4:43)
4. Kitchen/Surgery/Face–Off** (3:09)
5. Flowers (1:51)
6. Clown Attack (1:46)
7. Batman To The Rescue (3:57)
8. Roasted Dude (1:02)
9. Photos/Beautiful Dreamer*** (2:31)
10. Descent Into Mystery (1:33)
11. The Bat Cave (2:35)
12. The Joker's Poem (0:59)
13. Childhood Remembered (2:43)
14. Love Theme** (1:30)
15. Charge Of The Batmobile (1:41)
16. Attack Of The Batwing (4:45)
17. Up The Cathedral (5:05)
18. Waltz To The Death (3:56)
19. The Final Confrontation (3:48)
20. Finale (**) (***) (1:46)
21. Batman Theme Reprise (1:31)

Bonus Cues:
22. News Theme* (0:11)
23. Joker's Commercial* (1:23)
24. Joker's Muzak (unused)* (1:15)
25. Main Title (alt 1)* (2:42)
26. Photos*/Beautiful Dreamer (alt)* (**) (2:33)
27. Batman To The Rescue (original ending)* (0:52)
28. Charge Of The Batmobile (film edit)* (1:47)
29. Main Title (alt 2)* (2:47)
Disc Two Total Time: 68:20
Total Running Time: 144:00

* Previously unreleased
** includes "Scandalous" composed by Prince with John L. Nelson
*** includes "Beautiful Dreamer" composed by Stephen Foster

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pee-wee to Lead World's Biggest "Tequila" Dance at Sturgis

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman) will lead the world's biggest "Tequila" dance at the 70th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. Reubens is hoping to get the event in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Sturgis rally takes place on August 8th and 9th, but there's no word yet on when the mass dance will occur.

In related news, Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) will be producing the new Pee-wee Herman film. The story will be inspired by Pee-wee's Big Adventure, but not a remake. Instead, this film will also be a road trip story, but it may also feature characters from Pee-wee's Playhouse.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure was Tim Burton's first feature film.

Hardcore fans ought to get ready for Sturgis and study the immortal dance:

Burton to Spend Time with Family

Tim Burton has said that he's going to take a little time off from filmmaking to spend time with his kids, says the Telegraph.

"I want to hang out with my kids," the director says of Billy Ray, six, and Nell, two. "I don't want them to forget who their dad is. I have worked really hard these past two years. I think I need to recharge my batteries."

Helena Bonham Carter and Burton have not said how long he will take time off. Bonham Carter joked that their north London homes are connected by what the actress describes as an "airlock" through which they pass to meet up.

PHOTO: Getty Images.