Monday, December 17, 2012

Tim Burton Art Exhibition in South Korea

From Korean Film Biz Zone:

"An exhibition of Tim BURTON's painting and art, who is famed for his unique vision, is going to take place in Korea for the first time. Hyundai Card Co., Ltd. decided to hold BURTON’s Art exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art from December 12th to April 14th of next year as the ninth edition of their ‘Culture Project’.

"At the exhibition, not only the art world of BURTON, who directed Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Frankenweenie and many other films, but also around 700 pieces of his study work, paintings, drawings, photographs and models of characters in his films will be displayed.

"When the exhibition was first held in 2009 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the center of modern world art, 800,000 people visited there, which is the 3rd greatest record after ‘Pablo PICASSO’s Exhibition (1980)’ and ‘Henry MATISSE’s Exhibition (1992)’ among all the exhibitions ever held at MoMA.

"The exhibition will be co-hosted by Hyundaicard Co., Ltd., MoMA and the Seoul Museum of Art. This will be the first time that the exhibition is held in Asia. According to a representative of Hyundaicard Co., Ltd., the Seoul Museum of Art aggressively participated in the planning of the exhibition to make it distinctive compared with other editions held in other countries and they succeeded to bring newly created works from BURTON’s studio.

"The representative explained the meaning of the exhibition by saying, 'This will offer a chance to see the new aspect of Tim BURTON, who has stretched his own and unique imagination through films.'"

Video: The Killers' "Here With Me" directed by Tim Burton, feat. Winona Ryder

Here is the music video for The Killers' "Here With Me," directed by Tim Burton and featuring Winona Ryder:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Frankenweenie" Awards and Nominations, Part One

Although it wasn't a box office smash, Frankenweenie has been a big hit with critics. It has been the best reviewed animated film of 2012, and has earned many nominations and wins already.

This morning, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film. The awards ceremony will be broadcast on NBC at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

Frankenweenie has already won acclaim among some major critics circles. The film was recognized as the best animated film of 2012 by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics.

The animation world has also celebrated Frankenweenie. The film has received five Annie Awards nominations:

-Best Animated Feature
-Production Design in an Animated Feature Production: Rick Heinrichs
-Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production: Atticus Shaffer as "Edgar"
-Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production: Catherine O'Hara as "Weird Girl"
-Writing in an Animated Feature Production: John August

We will keep you posted on more developments soon!

New "Frankenweenie" Short Film on Home Video, Jan. 8

Frankenweenie will be coming to home video formats on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013.

Stitch Kingdom reports that a brand-new short will be on the home format Blu-Ray release, Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers. The new animated short will run for two minutes and twenty seconds, and was written by Frankenweenie co-producer and Tim Burton collaborator Derek Frey.

Other bonus features include:

-Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life – Viewers get an in-depth tour of the London set that includes never-before-seen footage showcasing the hundreds of artists who worked on the film.
-Frankenweenie touring exhibit – Allows audiences to explore the artistry of the film’s puppets, sets and props in a showcase that’s traveling the world.
-Original live action Frankenweenie short
-Plain White T’s ‘Pet Sematary’ music video
-Easter eggs
-3 deleted scenes

You can pre-order the four-disc combo pack, featuring the film on Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, DVD, and a digital copy.

You can also pre-order the two-disc release, which includes the film on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Poll: Which 2012 Burton Movies Did You See?

We have a new poll for you to vote in! Our question: "Which 2012 Tim Burton Movies Did You See?" This question is multiple choice, just in case you want to add a Burton movie that, for example, you might catch in theaters or on DVD in the near future while this poll is still open.

Our options are:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Dark Shadows


Feel free to tell us more in the comments section below! We look forward to the results.

Also, here are the results from our previous poll, which asked: "ARE YOU EXCITED FOR KAREN O'S SONG FOR FRANKENWEENIE?" 197 people voted total.

32 people (16%) said, "Yes! I am a fan of Karen O and I'm excited for this song."

26 people (13%) said, "Yes. It's nice to have some songs during the end credits instead of film score."

12 people (6%) said, "Yes. I've changed my mind since hearing the song."

4 people (2%) said, "No. I've changed my mind since hearing the song."

93 people (47%) said, "No. I prefer to hear Danny Elfman's music during the end credits."

5 people (2%) said, "No. I am not a fan of Karen O's music."

25 people (12%) said, "I have no opinion on the matter."

Burton & Winona Ryder Team Up with The Killers

Tim Burton has shot a video for the next single for the band The Killers and their upcoming album, "Battle Born," reports Winona Ryder (who has collaborated with Burton in three films) will make an appearance in the video as well.

This is the second collaboration between Burton and the band. Their first video, "Bones," was released in 2006 and can be seen below:

© 2006 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Photo: Burton & Sparky

A recent photo of Tim Burton with his creation, Sparky from Frankenweenie.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Goldman in Talks to Pen Burton's "Pinocchio"

Screenwriter Jane Goldman (Stardust, Kick-Ass, The Woman in Black) is currently in negotiations to write the script for a new version of Pinocchio, based on the original Carlo Collodi story, says The Hollywood Reporter. Tim Burton is currently attached to direct the Warner Bros. film. Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) wrote the initial draft.

Warner Bros. is also planning on having Robert Downey, Jr. play the role of Geppetto, the toy maker who creates Pinocchio. In this version, Geppetto embarks on a quest to reunite with his marionette. Dan Jinks is supposed to produce the film (who also worked with Burton as a producer on Big Fish).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Video: "Frankenweenie": "Illusion of Life" Featurette

This video featurette from IGN, Illusion of Life, shows the pain-staking, meticulous process of creating and animating the stop-motion film, Frankenweenie. Featuring animation director Trey Thomas and animator Matias Liebrecht.

Video: "Frankenweenie" Cast & Crew at London Film Fest has some highlights from the Frankenweenie cast and crew panel at the 56th BFI London Film Festival. Video provided by RedCarpetNews.

Tim, this film was made in London, and you are an adopted Londoner. How do you feel about opening the London Film Festival?
Tim Burton: It's amazing. It is special because it was made here. It's strange because when we started the film there was no Olympic Stadium and by the time we finished it was done. It just shows you how long a film like this takes to make!

This is a film that you've come back to. You started this as a live action short film in 1984 and now you've come back almost 30 years later. What made you want to make this Frankenweenie?
Burton: Looking at some of the original drawings at some point Don had mentioned the idea of it. It was such a memory piece, the drawings and doing stop motion and black and white and 3D, and kind of thinking about other kids I remembered from school and weird teachers and parents it just became a real memory piece. The purity of stop motion and for me the idea of seeing black and white in 3D stop motion was an exciting prospect. Obviously be able to work with all these people that I've worked with in the past just made it more special.

What's everyone's memories of their first impressions of Tim Burton?
Allison Abate: I just thought he was so energetic and so fascinating and so young!
Martin Short: On Mars Attacks I was so thrilled to meet Tim. I'm such a fan of Tim's, but what I was really excited about after my experience on Mars Attacks was how unbelievably collaborative Tim is. He really wanted to know what you thought and you kind of felt free to put out anything in the atmosphere and he would hone and refine it. It was a really ideal working situation for an actor.
Catherine O'Hara: I was called to meet Tim for Beetlejuice. I flew to L.A. and was told to meet him at Warner Bros. Boulevard and that's where Warner Bros. Studio is but I looked it up in the L.A. map book and I found a Warner Bros. Boulevard in Anaheim and I drove and drove and drove and I thought, 'whoever this guy is he is so far outside of where show business is really happening I'm not sure I want to work with him.' I finally phoned somebody and found out that I was in the wrong place and then finally got back there about two hours late and there was a note on the door [saying], 'I'm really sorry I missed you.'
Don Hahn: It was an odd time at the studio [Disney] and I think they didn't know what to do with Tim and to their credit gave him some money to make shorts called Frankenweenie and Vincent. It's amazing because they never knew what to do with those shorts, never quite knew how to release them, and didn't want to put the Disney name on them. And to come around full circle now a few years later and be able to revisit that and have the studio support and celebrate what Tim's trying to do is really odd in a way but terrific. It's interesting how a guy who's 25 years old can make a film that's as smart and interesting as Frankenweenie can turn around again and revisit that years later.
Martin Landau: I remember seeing Beetlejuice and I was very taken with the film. I saw it with my daughter and we left the theatre and I said, 'my God who directed this? I'd like to work with whoever it is.' I had no idea who Tim Burton was at that time. And here we are! It was a joyous experience working with him on Ed Wood with Johnny and Tim. I found that half the time he never finished a sentence or I did. We'd rehearse and he'd come up and say, 'you know what...' and I'd say, 'yeah.' He created a playground for the actors and he still does that and good directors do that. It's a fun place to work with Tim Burton and anytime he'd ask me to do something I would drop what I was doing, including my pants!

Legend has it you were fired by Disney, Tim. Are you surprised that your outlook is now considered part of the mainstream?
Burton: It wasn't like The Apprentice, 'you're fired!' It was a bit more Disney-friendly, 'here, let Goofy and Minnie show you out.' [Laughs] There's an exit with little cherubs on it, a magic forest door!
Short: [adopts Mickey Mouse voice] 'You're fired!'
Burton: It was a strange period in the company's history and it's obviously changed over the years. It's a whole different place. It was a low point for animation not just for Disney but for everything nothing was really going on. But at the same time I got the opportunity to do the films [Frankenweenie & Vincent shorts] so even though they weren't released the opportunity to do them was really great so I've always been grateful to them for giving me the chance to do it. [In terms of being considered mainstream now] I'm not so sure that's true.

What has it been like working with your heroes such as Martin Landau and Vincent Price?
Burton: It's so inspirational. When I talk to Martin and hear him talk about Alfred Hitchcock, or being on Space 1999 - I told him I had a Space 1999 lunchbox - you learn so much from people like him and it's just a joy. You love making films, meeting these people is why you like making movies. In terms of Catherine and Martin here, I've been a fan of theirs forever that's why I said 'guys do as many characters, do like three characters. It wasn't that we didn't want to pay other actors! It was because they're so great and interesting, it made it part of the creative process. They're coming in and doing things like a weird demon possession. Working with people that I've worked with in the past made it very special for me.

Martin and Catherine, you played three different characters and acted opposite each other which is unusual for animated films - what was that experience like?
Short: The parents Catherine and I did together which I thought was very smart but I think that Tim really had a very specific idea of what he wanted for those characters, very intimate and very real so by doing it together it was easy to achieve that. The other two characters that I did were just experiments that Tim and I would go on. Where you just kind of start with blank sheet but then you land in a Lionel Barrymore meets President Ronald Regan [place]. And then I'd say to Tim, 'what if he smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day and just quit about two months ago?' That pre-emphysema sound.
Burton: I think we even talked about a constipated Raymond Burr.
O'Hara: I think it was smart on Tim's part, it cut down the amount of times he had to say, 'um... why don't you say it like a human being would say it?' I was so happy when I saw their scenes, they are so beautiful and private and the way they stay back, it's so discreet how we shoot this family. I'm so proud to be their voices.
Short: Tim's always respectful. He would just say, 'go with your instinct and then divide by 7.' Animation is usually in colour but you have chosen to film this in black and white. The black and white was a crucial element. It's something that is hard to put into words but for me it made it more emotional and the idea of seeing black and white and also the 3D element, to me just helps support the work that the people who worked on the film did. You look at these puppets and you see the reality and tactile nature of it. Every little prop and everything is handmade and drawn, the black and white and the 3D process really shows you all the work that the artist put into it. To me the black and white really shows off their work very well.

There's an exhibition opening in London. Could you tell us about The Art of Frankenweenie?
Abate: One of the exciting things Disney did for us was to realise how beautiful the artwork is and how special every prop is. We have a travelling show and it's an exhibition of three sets from the movie and puppets, to represent three little moments from the film in real life. It's at the BFI Southbank next week. There's also something called, 'At the Desk of Tim Burton.'
Burton: Yeah but the desk is a bit too clean. There's no used tissues or empty beer bottles!

Hollywood tries to reproduce what is successful, did you have any problems with Frankenweenie in terms of the tone and the style, presenting that when the Pixar films and style is so popular?
Burton: from my point of view I feel like all forms of animation survive. I remember a few years ago after Pixar took off and computer animation took off that they said that they weren't going to make any more hand drawn movies which I thought, 'oh that's really unfortunate.' Thankfully they changed that and I hope it's the same for stop motion, I think it's a beautiful art form and you just hope that all forms of animation can flourish.

How much would you say Frankenweenie is a tribute to horror films and how do you open that up to children who haven't seen those kinds of films yet?
Burton: It's an interesting point because obviously a lot of references are based on, for me, a love of those movies but we thought very hard throughout the film that we didn't want to make it reference dependent. That's why we tried to shoot it and make it feel like one of those movies so you can feel what those movies look like even if you didn't know the references. We just felt like you should be able to enjoy the movie without having to know exactly every reference. It was always something in the back of my mind to make it more of a feeling of those films so that people that didn't know those exact references would still enjoy the film.

Martin your character looks like Vincent Price but doesn't sound like him - was that a very deliberate decision on your part?
Landau: Well one of the things about this I was floored by was Tim sent me a picture of Mr Rzykruski - it's like an eye chart this name! The wonderful about it is behavior, when I'm acting it's part of everything. In this instance I had a picture of this character but I relinquish the behavior to the animators. When I saw the film I was dumbfounded because if I'd been on camera I would've played it exactly the same way and my mouth was agape actually because I was shocked. I knew the character looked a little bit like Vincent and I little bit like I did earlier in life but I saw him as a completely singular person and a wonderful teacher and not a very diplomatic person. I think that when I read it I also felt that he probably lasted two months in any school he taught in! Have a conversation with your student's parents and you call them stupid or simple. I don't think Vincent would've played it the way I did, I think it would've been a different thing but I think there's a physicality there's no question. I always felt too that Tim was attracted to Ed Wood in a sense because of Ed Wood's connection to Bela [Lugosi] and his appreciation of Vincent Price's work - which I loved as a kid as well, as a young actor I would always go out of my way to watch a Vincent Price movie.
Burton: Most good animators try to get the actor in there. Don, this iteration of Frankenweenie began with you in a strange way because you went to Tim with the idea.
Hahn: Yeah I did. It wasn't a big leap. All I did was go to Tim's office and say, 'look you made this really great story years ago, there's got to be more.' And there was more. I think just the Frankenstein mythology and be able to go back into some of the ideas that were turning around in Tim's head for probably years and all I had to do was mention the name and I think he took off running. We had great collaborators, that's the other thing about working with Tim that I love is that he surrounds himself with people he trusts and lets them do their work.

Danny Elfman's score in Frankenweenie is fantastic. How important was it for you work with him on the film?
Burton: I've worked with him from the beginning of my career basically and on my first feature film, both didn't know what we're doing - we're still pretty much in the same boat! So I feel quite close to him. I always feel like he is another character in the film and helps to solidify the emotions of whatever's going on, because there's usually a mixture of things going on and he's always felt very good at sort of guiding as another character and setting the tone of what the film is.

Death seems to play a prominent role in your animations. What is your fascination with bringing characters back to life?
Burton: When I was a kid I always wanted to be a mad scientist, a regular scientist was no fun. It's not so much about bringing dead things back to life; I find that quite creepy actually. It's more about creating. Creation, making things, that's why I think I always loved the Frankenstein story because it's partially about creation and making things and that's what filmmaking is and that's what stop motion is and so for me that's the fun of it. That's why you like doing it; it's not so much about the business or box office or reviews it's about actually making something. I think that's why this was so special, it's with a smallish group of people, real artists and a more pure version of why you like making movies.

Video Interview: Burton on "Frankenweenie," Disney, Michael Jackson Musical

In Yahoo!'s video interview with Tim Burton, the filmmaker discusses his relationship with Disney, why returning to Frankenweenie feels like a different project, and a movie he pitched to a studio that was described as "a musical version of 'House Of Wax' with Michael Jackson."

Interview: Burton on "Frankenweenie," Autobiography

/Film interviewed Tim Burton recently. They discuss the new stop-motion Frankenweenie, the aspects of autobiography in the film, Burton's love of science and art, and more:

/Film: I’m curious about the degree to which Frankenweenie is autobiographical. It’s easy to watch the film and assume certain things about the level of representation of your life, but I also wonder about it being a film about the perception of your life.

Tim Burton: Well, this was definitely a real memory piece, because I mean the original short was based on the kind of relation I had with my first pet, that kind of relationship, and Frankenstein films and monster movies. What made me want to go back to the material was a couple of things, one was the stop motion, which I love, and going back to the original drawings, as there was something in those drawings that you couldn’t quite get in live action which I wanted to explore. Then just beyond that initial relationship, it made me start thinking about the other kinds of kids in school, the place I grew up, the teachers… a lot of other kinds of monsters. There were lots of elements that came up that fit into that same sort of world, so all of that together made it feel like a new project to me and something very special. I tried to link almost everything up to somebody I knew, you know like kids and types of people that I remember and the types of relationships you had with other kids and stuff. So almost everything was based on something of a memory.

One line that really stuck out was when Victor’s father discusses reanimating the dead, and says it is “upsetting.” Over the course of your career you’ve played a lot with notions that are upsetting to a certain general population. I’m wondering if the notion of “what is upsetting” or what you think other people might find upsetting has changed over the years.

It’s always funny to me, because I always think… because you’re right, and then I go “Well I grew up on Disney movies” and there’s a lot of weird shit in those movies, you know? People, as they get older they forget these things I think. It’s interesting. I always found it a strange phenomenon. I mean I remember when the short came out and they were all freaked out with “It’s too weird. It’s too dark.” It was meant to go out with Pinocchio as kind of a featurette and “yeah, it’s too weird and too dark” and then they showed Pinocchio and the kids are screaming and running out of the theater, because there’s some scary stuff in it. I just remember them like on Batman Returns, “It’s so much darker than the first one.” Or “It’s so much lighter.” Like half the people would say it was “darker” and half the people said it was “lighter.” It’s like “How can something be lighter and then half of you say…” So I’ve always had a strange kind of… So at the end of the day it’s a mystery to me. (Laughs) It just kind of makes me laugh now, because I still to this day don’t understand it.

Are there things that are upsetting to you? Are there concepts that you think “Okay, no. That’s just something that shouldn’t be explored.”

A lot of movies now are just such torture, I mean there are things that are hard for me to watch, certain violence, even though I grew up watching Hammer Horror films and I loved… My level of torture porn is probably like Dr. Phibes or Theater of Blood, you know? (Laughs) That’s about my level.

How did you work with John August on the script? Was that a very close collaboration?

Yeah. I showed him the original thing and we started riffing. I wanted to expand it and go like… “Remember what they did in the original? This was like later with Universal when they did like House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula where they brought in other monsters or Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” There’s something about those that I always loved, the idea, so that was a sort of framework, but then it was just trying to be about, for me, as personal, like “This kind of kid, that kind of kid” and finding the right… I gave him kids and monsters and talked about the framework of it all and he’s quite good and he knows me, so he got it pretty quickly.

Among the characters, you’ve got the kids who are clued into what’s going on, and you’ve got their teacher, who’s two generations up. In the middle are the parents who are just flailing around. Is that consistent with your own experiences growing up?

Yeah, I would say so. I tried to treat all of the emotions as real as possible and also just the weird kid politics. Also, with Victor, it’s like he’s a loner in a certain way, but at the same time he is the most normal one in a certain way and that to me felt like it was an accurate feeling. I remember feeling like an outsider, but I also felt quite normal, and I also felt like everybody else was weird, and that dynamic of how kids are with each other and how there are certain teachers where you don’t really know what they are talking about and have a certain power to them. So all of those kind of things were based on real people and real feelings.

Do you ever go back to those memories and start to wonder “are these memories actually legit?”

Well yeah, it’s true. I think, especially as time goes on, how you remember something isn’t necessarily the way it was. Also, even though you might grow up feeling like you are completely alone, if you asked any other kid they would probably feel the same way. So I think that you can only use your own experience and for me it wasn’t so much… Memory, you try to treat it as such. A memory can remain very powerful and there’s validity to that and as long as your not trying to say “That’s exactly it,” because obviously with this it’s not a historical piece. So there’s a bit of looseness to that.

Do you have any artifacts of your own childhood that you can go back to to say, “Oh, I can pinpoint how I was feeling at this point.”

I can go to Burbank and look at all of the houses I grew up in and all of that stuff and get a weird vibe, yeah. So there’s that, which somewhat has remained kind of the same. It’s a strange place. It hasn’t really changed that much.

I was really struck by some of the attitudes towards science in the film. [Ed: there's a thing about science needing to be tempered by love.] Was that you, or was that John?

For me, well again I grew up with Dr. Frankenstein and all of those mad scientist characters. I mean I always loved that and I link that to science and art and creativity and how I remember growing up there was a real kind… There was a suppressing of those emotions in people and trying to suppress creative thinking or science and thinking about things in a different way. It seems like even more so now there’s a kind of suppression of those kinds of feelings. So that was an important message with science, art, or anything where people are thinking, to let that flourish and not let that be suppressed.

So those impulses are closely connected for you, artistic and scientific?


"Frankenweenie" Science Fair Winners

October 8, 2012
'Frankenweenie' Science Fair Winners Announced by Walt Disney Studios and Discovery Science Center
By Janelle Tipton, The Walt Disney Studios

The Walt Disney Studios recently teamed up with Southern California’s Discovery Science Center for the Frankenweenie Science Fair, putting the spotlight on young innovators from across the country in celebration of our latest movie collaboration with creative genius Tim Burton.

Like our Frankenweenie hero Victor, participants from grades 5-12 were encouraged to unleash their imaginations to create their own inventive science experiments!

On Friday, Frankenweenie’s opening day, we held a special ceremony to announce the winners before a screening of the film at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Judges Don Hahn ([executive] producer of Frankenweenie), Patrick Soon-Shiong (CEO and President, Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation), and Janet Yamaguchi (VP, Education, Discovery Science Center) had a hard time choosing the Grand Prize winners, which were awarded in three categories: Science, Creative, and Traditional Science Fair.

First place went to Science winner Colin Takeda of California, who built a microbial fuel cell that produced sustained electricity, generating almost 1/3 the power an AA battery for up to 90 minutes. This subject is currently being studied in Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks Institute at UCLA, and Patrick has invited Colin to spend a full day with scientists at the Institute!

Second place Creative winner Delaney Rice of Alabama impressed the judges with her imaginative three-dimensional model of a Disney-themed treehouse built on engineering principles. Delaney hopes to become an Imagineer when she grows up, and it looks like she’s well on her way.

Third place wound up with a tie in Traditional Science Fair category. Tre Risk of California experimented with reducing aquifer depletion through increased recycled water consumption, testing the best algae-resistant water source for golf courses and similar businesses. He went above and beyond the experiment itself, and now two Palm Springs golf courses are implementing strategies based on Tre’s results! Daniel Vitenson of California researched how tides and other natural factors affect the endangered clapper rail, turning over his detailed findings to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to further their investigation of why these birds are becoming extinct so quickly.

Each of the Grand Prize winners was awarded a behind-the-scenes tour of The Walt Disney Studios, and all six finalists received four Disneyland tickets each! You can see all of these young scientists’ work on display at the El Capitan throughout the month of October.

Friday, October 05, 2012

"Frankenweenie" Now in Theaters!

After 28 years since the original live-action short, the feature-length, stop-motion version of Tim Burton's Frankenweenie is finally in theaters! See it today!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Video: "Rise From Your Tomb!" - "Frankenweenie" Remix

Check out this official Frankenweenie remix video, "Rise From Your Tomb!", by MelodySheep, creator of Symphony of Science.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Elfman on "Frankenweenie" Soundtrack

The original soundtrack for the film, Frankenweenie, composed by Danny Elfman (his 15th collaboration with Tim Burton) is now available.

"It's something that takes me back to The Nightmare Before Christmas, which also had a very simple story," said Elfman to the Sacramento Bee. "It's very pure Tim and very uniquely Tim in that regard—the look and the feel of it and it's great to be able to frolic in that realm."

"Frankenweenie is very sweet but then there's this monster movie side of it that I really got to tap into my own roots as a life-long fan of that genre," said Elfman.

"There's a theme for Victor and his relationship with his dog and then there's actually a theme for Sparky himself," Elfman described. "Sparky's theme is more playful, as dogs are. Victor's theme is a little sadder because it's more about how much he loves and misses Sparky. It is ultimately a story about a boy and his dog and there's almost nothing purer than that."

You can order the soundtrack at

The album "Frankenweenie Unleashed!," which features 16 songs inspired by the film, is also now available.

Want a "Frankenweenie" Drawing by Tim Burton?

Frankenweenie An IMAX 3D Experience
Release Date: October 5, 2012. Studio: Walt Disney Pictures.

Exclusively for IMAX fans as part of IMAX’s 12:01 program - those attending the Frankenweenie midnight shows in the first hours of October 5 will receive a limited edition Frankenweenie print using an original sketch by Tim Burton. While supplies last.

Click here for a list of participating theaters.

Photos: "Frankenweenie" L.A. Premiere

Frankenweenie had its big screening at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles this past Tuesday, September 24th. Here are a gallery of images from that red carpet event:

Tim Burton

Robert Capron, Tim Burton and Charlie Tahan

Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder and Robert Capron

Atticus Shafer and Robert Capron

Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder and Robert Capron

Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Short

Tim Burton and Martin Landau

Tim Burton and Winona Ryder

Don Hahn

Don Hahn, Robert Capron, Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, Atticus Shaffer, Charlie Tahan, Martin Short, Allison Abbate, John August

Winona Ryder

Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder

Charlie Tahan and Robert Capron

Tim Burton

Winona Ryder

Atticus Shaffer

Allison Abbate

Elvira and Tim Burton

Martin Landau

John August

Martin Short

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tim Burton: At Home in His Own Head

The New York Times published a thorough article about and interview with filmmaker Tim Burton. Here it is in its entirety:

September 19, 2012
Tim Burton, at Home in His Own Head

IT would be a tremendous disappointment if Tim Burton’s inner sanctum turned out to be a sterile environment, barren except for a telephone on its cold white floor; or a cubicle with a “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug. Instead, the workplace of the filmmaker behind invitingly grim delights like “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands” is a definitive Burtonesque experience: on a hill here in north London, behind a brick wall and a mournful tree, in a Victorian residence that once belonged to the children’s book illustrator Arthur Rackham, it lies at the top of a winding staircase guarded by the imposing portraits of Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. Its décor is best characterized as Modern Nonconformist (unless Ultraman toys and models of skeletal warriors are your thing), and when the master of the house greets you, his drinking glass will bear a poster image for “The Curse of Frankenstein.”

That the word Burtonesque has become part of the cultural lexicon hints at the surprising influence Mr. Burton, 54, has accumulated in a directorial career that spans 16 features and nearly 30 years. Across films as disparate as “Ed Wood,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Big Fish” — released to varying critical and commercial receptions — he has developed a singular if not easily pinned-down sensibility. His style is strongly visual, darkly comic and morbidly fixated, but it is rooted just as much in his affection for monsters and misfits (which in his movies often turn out to be the same thing). He all but invented the vocabulary of the modern superhero movie (with “Batman"), brought new vitality to stop-motion animation (with “Corpse Bride,” directed with Mike Johnson, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which Mr. Burton produced) and has come to be associated, for better or worse, with anything that is ghoulish or ghastly without being inaccessible. He may be the most widely embraced loner in contemporary cinema.

His success has also transported him from sleepy, suburban Southern California, where he grew up and graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, to London, where he lives with his partner, the actress Helena Bonham Carter, and their two young children, and where he has come to embrace the sensation of being perpetually out of place.

“I just feel like a foreigner,” Mr. Burton said in his cheerful, elliptical manner. “Feeling that weird foreign quality just makes you feel more, strangely, at home.”

On a recent morning Mr. Burton, dressed entirely in black, was talking about his new animated feature, “Frankenweenie,” which will be released by Walt Disney on Oct. 5., and which tells the charming story of a young boy (named Victor Frankenstein) who reanimates the corpse of his dead pet dog.

Like its director “Frankenweenie” is simultaneously modern and retrograde: the film, which is being released in 3-D black-and-white, is adapted from a live-action short that Mr. Burton made for Disney in 1984, when he was a struggling animator. That project did not get the wide release Mr. Burton hoped for, but it paved the way for him to direct his first feature, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the following year.

As he spoke (and occasionally shaped his feral, curly hair into something resembling satyr horns), Mr. Burton was in a nostalgic mood but also a defiant one. That may have been the result of the tepid reception that greeted “Dark Shadows,” his big-budget remake of the TV soap opera (which Mr. Burton said did not disappoint him), or a reluctance to analyze trends in his career. Whether he was talking about his upbringing in Burbank, his earliest frustration at Disney or the unexpected honor of a career retrospective presented at the Museum of Modern Art and other institutions, Mr. Burton still casts himself as an outsider.

“Wanting people to like you is nice, but I’m confident that there’s always going to be lots that don’t,” Mr. Burton said with gallows humor and genuine pride. “I’ll always be able to hang on to that.” These are excerpts from this conversation.

Q. Not only does “Frankenweenie” hark back to the start of your career, it seems to refer to many of the features you’ve made since the original short. Is that by design?

A. If I really thought about it, that’s something I would probably not do. [Laughs.] I don’t consciously make those points of: I did this, I’m going to put that in there as a reference to myself. Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It’s less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.

Q. How much of your childhood are we seeing in Victor’s isolation?

A. I felt like an outcast. At the same time I felt quite normal. I think a lot of kids feel alone and slightly isolated and in their own world. I don’t believe the feelings I had were unique. You can sit in a classroom and feel like no one understands you, and you’re Vincent Price in “House of Usher.” I would imagine, if you talk to every single kid, most of them probably felt similarly. But I felt very tortured as a teenager. That’s where “Edward Scissorhands” came from. I was probably clinically depressed and didn’t know it.

Q. Were you encouraged to try sports?

A. My dad was a professional baseball player. He got injured early in his career, so he didn’t fulfill that dream of his. He ended up working for the sports department of the city of Burbank. I did some sports. It was a bit frustrating. I wasn’t the greatest sports person.

Q. That can be deeply disheartening at that age, to learn that you’re bad at something.

A. It’s the same with drawing. If you look at children’s drawings, they’re all great. And then at a certain point, even when they’re about 7 or 8 or 9, they go, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can. I went through that same thing, even when I started to go to CalArts, and a couple of teachers said: “Don’t worry about it. If you like to draw, just draw.” And that just liberated me. My mother wasn’t an artist, but she made these weird owls out of pine cones, or cat needlepoint things. There’s an outlet for everyone, you know?

Q. Were horror films and B movies easily accessible when you were growing up?

A. They’d show monster movies on regular TV then, which they wouldn’t show now. Some of them were pretty hard core, like “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die,” or something where a guy gets his arm ripped off and is bleeding down the wall. My parents were a bit freaked out. [Laughs.] But better that I’m watching TV than them having to watch me or deal with me.

Q. There are emotions and experiences in “Frankenweenie” that audiences don’t often associate with Disney features.

A. People get worried and they go, “Oh my God, the dog gets hit by a car.” It’s funny how people are afraid of their emotions. I remember the original short was supposed to go out with “Pinocchio,” and they got all freaked out about it, like kids would be running, screaming, from the theater.

Q. Do you find poetic justice in the fact that, after all that, Disney is the studio that’s releasing “Frankenweenie"?

A. I feel like I’ve been through a revolving door over the years, and from my first time there as an animator to “Frankenweenie” to “Nightmare” and “Ed Wood,” it’s always been the same reaction: “Come back,” and then “Hmmm, I don’t know.” After I stopped working on “The Fox and the Hound” and trying to be a Disney animator — which was useless — they gave me the opportunity, for a year or two, to draw whatever I wanted. I felt quite grateful for it. At the same time I felt like Rapunzel, a princess trapped in a tower. I had everything I needed except the light of day. I felt they didn’t really want me, and luckily Warner Brothers and Paul Reubens and the producers of “Pee-wee” saw the movie and gave me a chance.

Q. If “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and “Beetlejuice” hadn’t been hits, would that have been the end of your filmmaking career?

A. I always felt bad for people whose first movie is a gigantic hit. [Laughs.] They were movies that were under the radar in a certain way. They’re both low-budget in terms of studio movies. Both were moderate hits, and were on some of the “10 worst movies of the year” lists. I learned quite early on: don’t get too excited, don’t get too complacent, don’t get too egotistical.

Q. When you see, 23 years after “Batman,” the extent to which superhero movies have become the backbone of Hollywood, do you feel a sense of pride or ownership?

A. No, not ownership. At the time it felt like the first attempt at a darker version of a comic book. Now it looks like a lighthearted romp. If I recall correctly, it wasn’t the greatest-received critical movie. So I do feel strange for getting such a bad rap on some level, and nobody mentions, oh, maybe it helped start something.

Q. When you worked with Johnny Depp for the first time, on “Edward Scissorhands,” what was it that connected you to him?

A. Here was a guy who was perceived as this thing — this Tiger Beat teen idol. But just meeting him, I could tell, without knowing the guy, he wasn’t that as a person. Very simply, he fit the profile of the character. We were in Florida in 90-degree heat, and he couldn’t use his hands, and he was wearing a leather outfit and covered head to toe with makeup. I was impressed by his strength and stamina. I remember Jack Nicholson showed me this book about mask acting and how it unleashes something else in a person. I’ve always been impressed by anybody that was willing to do that. Because a lot of actors don’t want to cover [theatrical voice] “the instrument.”

Q. Has your relationship with Johnny changed as your careers have evolved?

A. There’s always been a shorthand. He’s always been able to decipher my ramblings. To me he’s more like a Boris Karloff-type actor, a character actor, than a leading man. The only thing that changes — and this is something I try not to pay any attention to — is how the outside world perceives it. [Snidely] “Oh, you’re working with Johnny again?” “Oh, how come you’re not working with him this time?” You can’t win. I give up.

Q. You don’t have a formal repertory company, but there seem to be certain actors you come back to.

A. [Sighs.] I don’t want to respond to criticism I hear. People that go, “Oh, he’s using her again,” or “He’s using him again.” I’ve enjoyed pretty much everybody I’ve worked with. But it’s good to mix it up. If somebody’s right for the part — I’ve worked with them? Fine. Haven’t? Fine.

Q. Having a life with Helena Bonham Carter, do you have to be more careful about how you use her in your films?

A. The great thing about her is that, long before I met her, she had a full career. She’s also willing to do things that aren’t necessarily glamorous or attractive [Laughs], and I admire her for that. We’ve learned how to leave things at home, make it more of a sanctuary. But I probably take a slight, extra moment to think about it. On “Sweeney Todd” it was quite rough. Nobody was a singer, so I looked at lots of people. Everybody had to audition for it; she did as well. That one was a struggle, because I felt like, jeez, there’s a lot of great singers, and it’s going to look like I gave this one to my girlfriend. She really went through an extra process.

Q. In your last couple of movies you’ve burned her to a crisp, you’ve dumped her at the bottom of the ocean ——

A. I know. But she’s getting it on other movies. She’s being burned up alive a lot lately, or she’s getting set on fire quite a lot. Again, I’ve set another trend.

Q. Your “Planet of the Apes” remake introduced you to Helena, but was it otherwise a professional low for you?

A. Yeah. I’ve tried to learn my lesson. It usually happens on bigger-budget movies. You go into it, and there’s something about it I like, the studio wants to do it. But the budget’s not set and the script’s not set. So you’ve got this moving train. You’re working on it, and you’re cutting this because the budget’s too big, and you feel like an accountant. It’s certainly perceived as one of my least successful films. But at the same time I met with and worked with a lot of people that I loved.

Q. Will you ever explain its ending?

A. I had it all worked out. But it’s my own private thing. Someday we’ll go take some LSD and we’ll talk about it.

Q. Your recent films, like “Sweeney Todd,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,"have all in some way been based on existing properties.

A. I’ve heard that, but a lot of things are, in a way. Even “Alice,” there’s a book, there’s lots of different versions. But there was no movie I would look to and go, “Ooh, we’re going to have to top that ‘Alice.’ “

Q. Is it harder to put your personal stamp on something you didn’t create from the ground up?

A. For me, no. It may be perceived that way, but I have to personalize everything, whether or not it comes from me. If I were to cherry-pick things, even “Ed Wood” was based on a book, it’s based on a person. “Sweeney Todd” is one of my more personal movies, because the Sweeney Todd character is a character I completely related to. Even in “Planet of the Apes” there are things I have to relate to, otherwise I just can’t do it. “Frankenweenie” is a bit more pure that way. But you could argue it’s based on a short which is based on lots of other movies.

Q. Is it a danger when you have a style that’s so distinctive it becomes boilerplate and imitated?

A. It does bother me a bit. People thought I made “Coraline.” Henry [Selick, who directed “Coraline” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas"] is a great filmmaker, but when they say something, they should have to say the person’s name. “From the producer of " — well, there’s eight producers. It’s slightly misleading. Not slightly, it’s very misleading, and that’s not fair to the consumer. Have the courage to go out under your own name. But I don’t have any control over that, and it’s not going to make me change. I can’t change my personality. Sometimes I wish I could, but I can’t.

Q. Do you think that overfamiliarity might have been a problem with “Dark Shadows,” that people saw it was you, and Johnny, and monsters, and they thought, “I’ve seen this before"?

A. Even the fact that it was deemed a failure — financially, it wasn’t really. It may not have set the world on fire, but it made its money back plus some, so I can tick that off as not being a total disaster. There’s some people that I talk to that liked it. “Alice” got critically panned. It made over a billion, I guess, whatever. “Ed Wood” got a lot of critical acclaim, it was a complete bomb. It all has a weird way of balancing itself out.

Q. When you’ve had your own retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, do you feel bulletproof after that?

A. That was surreal. A lot of people thought I manufactured that, which I didn’t. They came to me and I was actually quite freaked out about it. To me, it was all private. It was never meant as, like, great art. It’s like hanging your laundry on the wall. “Oh, look, there’s his dirty socks and underwear.” But with the curators I felt I was in good hands, and they were just presenting it like, this is his process, this is what he does.

Q. Did it come with unforeseen pitfalls?

A. It followed suit with the movies. It got dismissed as “It’s not art.” Which I agree with.

Q. Are there other, more traditional forms of recognition you’d still like to earn?

A. Like public office?

Q. Like an Academy Award?

A. I grew up on movies like “Dr. Phibes,” that were not Academy Award-contending movies. [Laughs.] It’s not something that I’ve got to win. It’s like getting into film — I didn’t say early on, “I’m going to become a filmmaker,” “I’m going to show my work at MoMA.” When you start to think those things, you’re in trouble. Surprises are good. They become rarer and rarer as you go on. But anything like that is special. I’m not Woody Allen yet.

Q. This may seem strange to ask someone with many years of work still ahead, but what would you want your legacy to be?

A. What do I want on my gravestone?

Q. It sounds like something you’ve thought about.

A. I do. I think it’s wise to plan ahead. Start early — plan your funeral now. It’s not a morbid thought. If you want something to happen in a certain way, especially the last thing, you might as well.

The thing that I care about most — that you did something that really had an impact on them. People come up on the street, and they have a “Nightmare” tattoo, or little girls saying they love “Sweeney Todd,” and you’re like, “How were you able to see it?” Or you see people, especially around Halloween, dressed up in costume, as Corpse Bride or the Mad Hatter or Sally. It’s not critics, it’s not box office. Things that you know are connecting with real people.

Q. Is there something unrepentantly crowd-pleasing that you’ll admit to enjoying?

A. I’m always bad at this. Name something.

Q. Well, now that “Downton Abbey” is back on in Britain, will you watch it?

A. No. Helena, that’s more her kind of thing. That one I don’t quite get. To me that’s like getting a morphine injection on a Sunday night. And that can have its positives. But not my cup of tea. There’s shows like “MasterChef,” which I cry at. I don’t know why. I find it quite emotional when they cook something, and it doesn’t work out. Movies, I can’t quite think of, but especially if I’m on an airplane — I don’t know why, maybe because you constantly think you’re going to die — I find every movie, I cry if I watch it on a plane.

Q. I had that reaction to “Love Actually.”

A. [Draws a breath.] Ooh, no, no. I saw that with Helena, and I’ll never forget the ad campaign on that one. It was like, “If you don’t love this movie, there’s something wrong with you.” And we saw it, and we got into a fight and argued all the way home. It was the same with “Mamma Mia!” For a feel-good movie, I’ve never been so depressed.

Q. Your kids are old enough to see movies. Do you try to influence their tastes?

A. I don’t overly push it. I was quite proud when my daughter’s favorite movie was “War of the Gargantuas.” But now that she’s older, she’s gone off from that a bit. I don’t push my things on them. If they’re into it, they’re into it. They’ll find it, or not. You’ve got to let them find their way.

Photos: "Frankenweenie" World Premiere at Fantastic Fest

The opening night of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas was the site of the world premiere for Frankeweenie. Director Tim Burton, producer Allison Abbate, and actors Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, and Charlie Tahan appeared on the red carpet before the movie started. Click the images to enlarge them.