Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Tim Burton Collective News Blog!

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

ThisIsFakeDIY.co.uk 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.