Entertainment Weekly provides the very first official look at Frankenweenie, in glorious black and white!
In the article, Tim Burton also spoke fondly of a childhood dog, and how it might have influenced his original short film and its new feature-length update.
“It’s such an unconditional relationship,” Burton recalls. “A lot of kids have that experience – I certainly had that experience with a first pet. You’ll probably never have it again in your life in that way, it’s so pure and memorable.”
“His name was Pepe — we lived in a Spanish neighborhood,” Burton recalls. “Our dog had this thing called distemper, and wasn’t supposed to live more than a couple of years. He lived much longer than that, which kind of fed into this Frankenstein mythology as well.”
What kind of dog was Pepe? “It was a mix, kind of a mutt, with a bit of terrier, and a bit of something else,” Burton says. “I don’t know what it was. It was kind of a mixture.”
Sparky, the main character of the film, may look a bit freakish once he gets his stitches, but the story is more simple and heartfelt than outlandishly macabre. “It just tries to keep that idea of a very, simple pure relationship,” Burton says. What’s more pure than the story of a kid and his first pet?
“Mix that with the Frankenstein myth,” Burton adds with a chuckle, “and it causes problems.” But the big beating heart in the story (apart from the re-animated one inside Frankenweenie’s chest) is the sad fact that we all outlive those four-legged pals from our childhood, and goodbye can be a painful thing. The idea of bringing a lost friend back to life? “It has its good side and repercussions,” Burton says. “Ultimately, we try to go with the slightly more positive aspects of keeping that [boy-and-his-dog] relationship going.”