Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Burton, Keaton, Ryder in Talks for "Beetlejuice 2"

Is it "showtime" again for Beetlejuice?

Sources have told Variety that Tim Burton is in talks to direct a sequel to his 1988 comedy, Beetlejuice. Seth Grahame Smith (Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) penned the script and will produce with his partner David Katzenberg through their KatzSmith Productions.

Burton rarely does sequels (his only sequel has been Batman Returns), but perhaps he's interested in revisiting one of his favorite film characters. Vital to this is that Michael Keaton is interested in reprising his leading ghoulish role, having told that the sequel is "a go."

Additionally, Winona Ryder might be reprising her character. The actress recently told The Daily Beast that the long-gestating sequel "might be happening."

Burton, of course, is quite busy. The filmmaker is also eyeing his Fox project, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, with one source saying it could possibly go before Beetlejuice 2. Also, he is in production on his latest feature, Big Eyes.

More information will be announced in the near future, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Video: Tim Burton on "Nightmare" 20th Anniversary

Check out this spooktacular new video from Tim Burton on the 20th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas, just in time for Halloween!:

Starring Tim Burton, Aiko Horiuchi (The Grudge) and Glen Mexted (Camden Claus/Captain Rubberpants). Music by Danny Elfman. Directed by Derek Frey.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Nightmare" Opens Bradford Animation Festival

In recognition of the cult classic's 20th anniversary, this year's edition of the Bradford Animation Festival in the UK will open with a special presentation of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Bradford Animation Festival runs from November 12-16 at the National Media Museum and the University of Bradford. For tickets or more information ring 0844 856 3797 or visit

Elfman/Burton Concert in L.A. Adds Third Performance

Good news for those of you in Los Angeles! The L.A. Times reports that, due to extremely popular demand, there will be not one, not two, but three performances of the concert celebrating over a quarter-century of music by Danny Elfman from the films of Tim Burton. Mr. Elfman himself will be present to perform songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas live at the Nokia Theater. Listed below are the performances, with links to purchase tickets in bold:

Tuesday, October 29th, 8:15 PM

Wednesday, October 30th, 8:30 PM

Thursday, October 31st, 8:15 PM

Monday, September 09, 2013

Elfman/Burton Concert Coming to L.A.

From the original article by the Los Angeles Times:

It's been one of the most fruitful composer-director collaborations in modern Hollywood.

Danny Elfman has scored 15 movies by Tim Burton, starting with "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" in 1985 and leading up to last year's "Dark Shadows" and "Frankenweenie." For the first time in the U.S., Elfman is to present his scores for Burton's films in an orchestral concert performance, scheduled appropriately enough for Halloween night at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

"Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton" will feature conductor John Mauceri leading the 87-piece Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and the 45-member Page L.A. Choir. Elfman himself will appear at the concert to perform songs from "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

The concert will debut Oct. 7 at London's Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra, part of a British tour, prior to coming to L.A.

Organizers said the concert will feature music from all 15 of Elfman's collaborations with Burton. (The only Burton movies that the composer didn't work on were "Ed Wood" and "Sweeney Todd.") The concert will also include film clips from Burton's movies and some of his art work.

A U.S. tour of the concert is in the works, but no dates or cities have been announced yet.

Elfman was the composer for the Cirque du Soleil show "Iris," which closed at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in January. He was part of the influential rock group Oingo Boingo, which held a farewell concert in 1995 at the Universal Amphitheatre.

The composer previously worked with Mauceri on "Serenada Schizophrana," a 2004 classical piece that was recorded and released two years later. They also collaborated on "The Overeager Overture," which was performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2006.

Mauceri was the music director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for 15 years beginning with its inception in 1991.

"Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton" is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. Tickets go on sale Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. through, and by phone at (888) 929-7849.

PHOTO: Danny Elfman in Los Angeles in 2011. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Photos: Burton, Waltz, Schwartzman Filming "Big Eyes" in Vancouver

The Vancouver Sun has a gallery of photos featuring director Tim Burton and actors Christoph Waltz and Jason Schwartzman filming Big Eyes on Powell Street in the Gastown neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia on July 31st. Actors in 1950's attire and vintage cars adorned the street. Here are just a few of the image, but you can see the full photo gallery here.

Jason Schwartzman on set.

An actor on set as a 1950's journalist.

Christoph Waltz (in green shirt) being mobbed by crowd and press for a scene in Big Eyes.

Tim Burton and Christoph Waltz on set.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cakenweenie Celebrates Burton's Birthday

In recognition of Tim Burton's 55th birthday today, 100 cake makers from around the world have created tributes to the filmmaker in baked goods form. Cakenweenie celebrates the filmmaker's 30+ years of unique cinematic visions. Click here for the official website and the entire gallery of delectable goodies. Posted here are just a mere few of many impressive and edible dessert creations.

Happy Birthday, Tim Burton!

Happy birthday, Tim Burton! The filmmaker is 55 today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Video: Tim Burton Animation Master Class

Back in 2010, Tim Burton gave a master class on animation to Canadian animation students at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox. The 70-minute video is now online!:

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Poll: Which Future Tim Burton Film Do You Most Want to See?

We have a new poll: "Which Future Tim Burton Film Do You Most Want to See?"

Big Eyes
• Peregrine's Home for Peculiars

It should be noted that Tim Burton is merely attached to direct Peregrine's Home for Peculiars, and not confirmed to be helming that project just set. There are also other films that he might be associated with, but those are simply in development (and might be included in future polls once more details arise!).

Feel free to discuss in the comments section below!

Here are the results from our previous poll, "Which 2012 Tim Burton Film Was Your Favorite?":

35 votes (7%) for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

142 votes (31%) for Dark Shadows

272 votes (60%) for Frankenweenie

Total number of votes: 449

First "Big Eyes" Production Photos

Gossip website Just Jared has posted the first batch of (unofficial) images of Tim Burton, Amy Adams, Krysten Ritter, and Christoph Waltz filming Big Eyes in Vancouver, Canada on Thursday, July 11th. You can see the full gallery of photos here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Terence Stamp Added to "Big Eyes"

Deadline reports that actor Terence Stamp (Wanted, Get Smart, Unfinished Song) is the latest addition to Tim Burton's forthcoming Big Eyes. Stamp will play the role of John Canaday, "the elitist and exasperated senior art critic for the New York Times."

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Peregrine's Home for Peculiars" Gets July 2015 Release Date

We haven't heard a lot about the feature film adaption of Ransom Riggs' debut young adult novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, in quite a while. But finally, we have some news. The Hollywood Reporter states that Fox has already given the movie a release date: July 31st, 2015.

Fox has also given the film a slightly more digestible title: Peregrine's Home for Peculiars. Tim Burton is still attached to direct the film, and is supposed to do so after having completed Big Eyes (which will begin shooting in Vancouver this July). Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Stardust, X-Men: First Class) has written the most recent version of the screenplay.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that, "the story follows a teenage boy who is transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans with special powers from creatures out to destroy them."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jason Schwartzman Joins "Big Eyes"

The Wrap reports that Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, I Heart Huckabees, Moonrise Kingdom) has joined the cast of Tim Burton's new film, Big Eyes.

Schwartzman will play the role of Ruben, a San Francisco art gallery owner. He will appear in Burton's new film alongside Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, and Krysten Ritter.

"Jason has been part of such a diverse list of intelligent, often whimsical films during his career and makes an exciting addition to this already fantastic cast," said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Krysten Ritter Joins "Big Eyes"

Deadline reports that actress Krysten Ritter (TV's Breaking Bad and Don't Trust the B___ in Apt. 23) will be joining Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's forthcoming film, Big Eyes.

Deadline writes that Ritter "will play DeeAnn, the free-spirited confidante to Margaret [played by Amy Adams] who tries to coax her friend to come out of her shy shell."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Danny Huston in Talks for "Big Eyes"

The Hollywood Reporter states that actor Danny Huston is in talks to be in Tim Burton's latest film, Big Eyes. The Golden Globe-nominated actor would play "a burnt-out, heavy-drinking gossip reporter."

Huston has recently appeared in two independent live-action films -- Boxing Day and Two Jacks -- and also provides a voice for Ari Folman's latest animated film, The Congress, which premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Big Eyes is the true story of the relationship between artist Margaret Keane (who will be played by Amy Adams) and her husband, Walter (played by Christoph Waltz). The drama, with a script by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander (who previously worked with Burton on Ed Wood), centers on a decades-long dispute between the two after their 1965 divorce over who actually painted the picture. Principal photography on the low-budget film is expected to begin in Vancouver this July.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Burton's Advice to New Filmmakers

Harvey Weinstein and Tim Burton at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival (FNN).

Article originally by Chris Kensler at Fox News:

Cannes, France – “Everyone thinks I’m about death!”

That was Tim Burton’s (“Corpse Bride,” “Frankenweenie,” “Nightmare Before Christmas,” etc .,etc.) exasperated answer to why he was involved in the “Life Is Amazing” short film series presented by Lexus at the Cannes Film Festival.

Burton , Harvey Weinstein, and newcomer Ryan Coogler, whose movie ‘Fruitvale Station’ played at Cannes after winning the two biggest prizes at Sundance, sat down to talk about why short films are so, well, awesome.

“A short film, when you get it right, there’s nothing like it,” Burton said. “It’s like a song.”

“One of the first short films I ever saw was a movie by the name of ‘Vincent’ by this dude right here,” Coogler chimed in, pointing at Burton.

Weinstein said he was also a big fan of Burton’s early work.

“When Disney bought Miramax the first time they said, ‘What is the first movie you’d like to see or borrow from the company,” Weinstein said. “And I said ‘I want to see the original ‘Frankenweenie’.”

“I think they showed it at 2 a.m. on the Disney Channel,” Burton joked about one of his earliest films, which he remade into a big budget feature last year.

The “Batman” director told the six short film directors, chosen by Lexus for the series, to buckle down because their careers will never get any easier, even if they flourish.

“I’ve done a couple successful movies, so I thought, well, it will be easy to get this one done, but it never is,” Burton said. “Each film is a real challenge to get mounted no matter who you are or how much success you’ve had. It feels like the first time each time, no kidding.”
Weinstein encouraged young filmmakers to stick to their guns “and never give up.”

“Or call Harvey,” Burton laughed.

"Big Eyes" Begins Filming in Vancouver in July

The Province reports that Tim Burton is heading to Vancouver to shoot his next film, Big Eyes, with Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. The low-budget film (at $20 million) is about the true story of artist Margaret Keane and her husband, Walter, who claimed credit for her popular sad-eyed paintings of little children in the 1960s.

Burton is a collector of Mrs. Keane's paintings, and even once had a specially commissioned painting done by Keane in her style of his former girlfriend, Lisa Marie.

Big Eyes will be filming in Canada for seven weeks starting in July.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ray Harryhausen, 1920-2013

Ray Harryhausen, special effects artist, died today at age 92. It is no overstatement to call Mr. Harryhausen one of the most important and influential artists in the history of cinema. Tim Burton and countless others have credited him as one of their biggest heroes. Check out this excellent video tribute to the legendary stop-motion animator:

Monday, May 06, 2013

Burton Leaves Robert Downey Jr. "Pinocchio" Project

According to Deadline, Tim Burton is no longer attached to direct a live-action adaptation of Pinocchio starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Geppetto. This is likely because Burton's next directorial project will be Big Eyes, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.

Downey has said that he might be interested in having Ben Stiller direct the film. Dan Jinks is still attached to produce, and Jane Goldman has written the most recent draft of the script.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tim Burton's Next Movie!: BIG EYES

Deadline has the exclusive new information on Tim Burton's next film: Big Eyes.

EXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton will direct Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Big Eyes, the film that Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski scripted. At the same time, The Weinstein Company is closing a deal to fund and distribute. This is a major development on a project that has followed a long development track. Of all the development projects I’ve written about over the years, this is my favorite that has not yet gotten made. And the casting seems so promising. The film will be produced by Alexander and Karaszewski and Burton, with Electric City Entertainment’s Lynette Howell. This will be Burton’s next film, and production will begin this summer.

Waltz, who’s coming off another Oscar turn in Django Unchained, and Adams, nominated for The Master, will play Margaret and Walter Keane, whose paintings of large eyed children became one of the first mass marketed art sensations in the 50s and 60s. Those prints sold in gas stations and every five and dime store across the country. While Walter was the marketing genius, he also took the bows for doing the brush work. He was a full fledged celebrity, a regular on the TV talk show circuit. His shy wife was the actual artist in the family. When they split and she tried to get her due, he painted her as being eccentric, and they ended up in court. There, a judge finally provided them with two easels and ordered them to prove it. Walter’s art reputation went down on the canvas when he begged off because of what he said was pain in his arm. She whipped up one of her trademark big-eyed works.

The screenwriters, Alexander and Karaszewski, worked with Burton previously on Ed Wood, and they wrote many other films including The People Vs. Larry Flynt. They’ve been pushing this one up the hill for years, with various filmmakers and casts. Most recently, they had intended to direct the film, and had Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds lined up as the leads. At that time, Burton was lined up as a producer, but now he has taken the directing reins.

TWC’s Harvey Weinstein and his team led by David Glasser are closing up on the deal as we speak. Burton’s repped by WME, Waltz by ICM Partners, Adams by WME and Brillstein, Alexander and Karaszewski by CAA.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sparky on the Red Carpet - Art by Tim Burton

The Hollywood Reporter provided this drawing by Tim Burton of Frankenweenie's lead canine, Sparky, on the red carpet ceremony at last night's Oscars.

"Batman Returns" Penguins Artwork Revealed

Conceptual artist Tim Flattery (Batman Returns, Batman Forever) released some amusing artwork he made for Tim Burton's Batman Returns, involving penguins armed with buzz saws, boxing gloves, and other comic weaponry.

Video: Tim Burton in Commercial Aired During Oscars

Frankenweenie might not have won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature last night, but that doesn't mean Tim Burton fans were entirely disappointed on Sunday evening. In case you missed it, here's the Samsung Mobile commercial that aired during the Oscars broadcast, featuring the man himself who is in talks to direct a feature film based on an app, "Unicorn Apocalypse."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Danny Elfman/Tim Burton Concert at Royal Albert Hall

Tickets are now on sale for "Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton," a concert that will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday, 7th of October, 2013, and will feature Danny Elfman in person!

Read the official press release below:

On Monday 7 October 2013, the Royal Albert Hall will be hosting an exclusive World Premiere of Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton, celebrating the extraordinary collaboration between the acclaimed composer and visionary filmmaker.

The concert will see Danny Elfman‘s famous Tim Burton film scores brought to life on stage by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Mauceri, whilst visuals from Burton’s original production artwork, sketches and drawings are displayed on the big screen. There will also be an exclusive special guest performance by four-time Oscar-nominated Danny Elfman himself, making his first public singing performance in 18 years.

With a range of films from a fascinating back-catalogue of classics including Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Alice in Wonderland, this concert will explore the collaborative relationship between music and storytelling and the process and importance that this has in filmmaking.

“I’ve always heard Danny’s scores performed live during our recording sessions for the films we’ve collaborated on… for others to finally be able to hear his music live, at such a historic venue as the Royal Albert Hall, is really something special.”
-Tim Burton

“I really look forward to revisiting this body of work which has been such a huge part of my life and bringing it to the concert stage. And the idea of performing some of Jack Skellington’s songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas live for the very first time is immensely exciting.”
-Danny Elfman

Tickets for Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton go on sale at 9am on Thursday 14 February and start at £20 (booking fees may apply).

Buy online at or phone the Box Office on 020 7589 8212

New Poll: Which 2012 Tim Burton Movie Was Your Favorite?

We have a new poll for you to vote in! Our question: "Which 2012 Tim Burton Movie Was Your Favorite?"

Vote for either:

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: "Which 2012 Tim Burton Movies Did You See" We received 252 votes.

104 people (41%) saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

228 people (90%) saw Dark Shadows

199 people (78%) saw Frankenweenie

Documentary on Burton's Unmade "Superman Lives"?

Filmmaker Jon Schnepp is raising funds to make a documentary about Superman Lives, a never-made feature film that had Tim Burton attached to direct, Nicolas Cage to star as the Man of Steel, and, at one point, had Kevin Smith hired to write the screenplay. Christopher Campbell at Film School Rejects has the whole story (and you can donate to the project here):

Thanks to Kickstarter, there continues to be an increase in documentaries being made about movies. On top of that, there also seems to be a trend lately for filmmakers to look at failed movie projects, as if inspired by the heartbreaking 2002 release Lost in La Mancha. Currently on the festival circuit is the must-see doc Persistence of Vision, which is about the decades-long disaster of The Thief and the Cobbler (see my thoughts on that and some clips here), and recently funded and now in the works is Science Fiction Land about the canceled movie that wound up at the center of Argo. Now, we may get to learn the full story on another collapsed production, Tim Burton‘s Superman Lives, via the proposed new project of director Jon Schnepp (The ABCs of Death; Cartoon Network’s Metalocalypse). It’s another “unmaking of” doc titled The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?

And yes, Schnepp is attempting to finance this movie through Kickstarter, where he formerly had a hand in one of the most successful crowd-funding campaigns for film ever (for the animated Grimm Fairy Tales series, which he’s directing). He’s already amassed a lot of background material and concept art for the failed Superman movie, since he’s been collecting the stuff passionately over the years, and now he just needs to conduct interviews and put it all together to tell the story of what went wrong. He hopes to talk to attached stars Nicolas Cage and Sandra Bullock, as well as Kevin Smith, who wrote a draft of the script, and Burton, who was all set to direct when Warner Bros. put the thing on hold in April 1998.

Schnepp hopes this will be a quick endeavor in order to premiere the doc at the San Diego Comic-Con this summer and then put it out on video. I could see it taking longer, however, if he manages to raise more than his minimum production goal of $98,000. On top of that amount necessary for just the documentary, he’d like to get another $50,000 for his “stretch goal,” which would go to sequences where he films scenes based on Smith’s script and Burton’s notes. Whether Warner Bros. would even allow that to happen seems iffy to me, but it’s certainly something a lot of movie and comic geeks would love to see.

Watch the campaign video and let Schnepp passionately explain it all to you:

Of course, there are some great incentives to donors here, including original production artwork (by Schnepp, not Burton) and model props (for the doc, not Superman Lives). For $1,000 you can even appear on the DVD/Blu-ray giving an interview about your personal opinions of Superman Lives and the Superman character in general. I don’t have that kind of money, but I will share my own short, first-hand anecdote:

In December ’96 (or it might have been in January ’97), I was working in the box office of the Angelika Film Center in NYC when Smith (and I think Scott Mosier) came in to see Citizen Ruth. The teenage fanboy that I was at the time went up and met him and quickly asked about Superman Lives. He told me that it was a lot of fun, because he didn’t have to worry about any of the directorial execution. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically he said, “I can write ‘Superman moves a mountain,’ and say, ‘Okay, now you figure that out.’” Jokes aside, though, he did seem really excited about the gig.

Yeah, it’s not a very interesting story, but it’s one that I’ll never forget because the film never happened and neither Smith nor I got to see how Burton or anyone else might have shown Superman moving a mountain. While I doubt that idea is even in the script, I’d like to now see Schnepp make it a reality. Hopefully he reaches his goal and then some in the next 43 days, and we get to see The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Book: "Frankenweenie: The Visual Companion"

A new book, Frankenweenie: The Visual Companion, will be released on February 5th, 2013. The 256-page art and making-of book has been written by Mark Salisbury, edited by Leah Gallo and Holly Kempf, and features a foreword by Tim Burton.

You can pre-order the book today at

Interview: Burton on Oscars, "Frankenweenie," Critics

Vulture spoke with Tim Burton to learn about Frankenweenie and its chances at winning an Oscar this year, his balance between films that are critical successes and box office hits, his broken arm, and more:

Do all the nominations and awards help make up for the film's less-than-blockbuster box -office performance?

It's really nice, especially for a film like that. Everybody works really hard for something like this, especially the people who work in a dark room for a couple of years. The thing about stop-motion is that it's such a slow, painful process — one frame at a time. The positive side is that it helps keep the medium alive. It's not high on to-do lists for studio execs to make stop-motion, let alone black-and-white stop-motion. There's still a bit of a stigma, so any sort of positive response is meaningful.

You would think after The Artist there would be less opposition to black-and-white — especially when it comes to films about Hollywood. Argo also got a lot of awards love partly because it's about Hollywood helping to save the world. And Frankenweenie celebrates classic horror films. Hollywood loves nothing more than celebrating itself.

That's true, now that you mention that. Even last year, films like Hugo did that. But I never really thought of that. It's certainly not my perception of the world. For me, it's just what inspires me, and those monster movies stay with you on some kind of level. Those early things are still inside of me. It was just fun to play around with words and themes and memories, because you don't get to do that on every project.

Loved the shout-out to Mary Shelley with the turtle's name, by the way.

[Chuckles.] My son's turtle was named Shelley. When you have a pet as a child, that's the first pure relationship you have. It's unconditional love. And it's your first experience with death as well, so it was an easy emotional connection to make to Frankenstein and monster movies. Those first relationships are very important. And to me, the Frankenstein story is about creating things, not the business of creating things.

But you still want it to be successful.

No one wants to feel like they weren't, unless they're doing some kind of weird art-house thing: "I hope nobody sees this film! And if they see the film, I'm selling out!" You hope for success, but it's a strange phenomenon. You have a movie that gets shitty, crappy, horrible reviews but makes a lot of money; you have a movie that gets good, decent reviews, but then no one goes to see it. I've been lucky, even if a film didn't do that well [at the box office], I end up meeting people who connected with it, and that evens the score.

How do you feel about the critics who say you should stop using Johnny Depp so much?
I'm in a no-win situation. Some say I use him too often, and then others say, "How come he's not in this one?" Whatever. I'm strangely used to that from the beginning.

I don't decide to make a film because of the actors first, even though there are a lot of people I love. I don't think I've ever gone, "Oh, I want to work with that person," and then specifically found a part with that person just to work with them. For Frankenweenie, I hadn't worked with Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, or Martin Landau in a long time, so that was great. But the project drew me to them because they're all so talented.

With Catherine, not since Beetlejuice. People want a sequel for that one.

Those were fun characters, but I'd have to see what the script was like and if it was worth doing — I can't just make it because it's one of the worst ten movies of the year! The first two films I did, Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, made the ten-worst-movies-of-the-year lists. Then, years later, people said they were my best movies. What? So if those were my best, I'm in real trouble. [Laughs.] The point is, even if I wanted to analyze it, I'm not going to make everyone happy. It's easier when you're starting out and people don't really know what you are. But then you become a thing, and that's not really what you want. I never really targeted my films for kids. It's just what I like to make. But then people were saying The Nightmare Before Christmas was too scary for kids — too much singing, too scary. And then the kids loved it. So I've had conflicting information from the beginning.

How is The Nightmare Before Christmas too scary? It's no scarier than any fairy tale ...

Exactly. When you were a child, did you ever see Disney movies? There's some scary stuff in there. That's what made Disney movies to a large degree, but as people get older, they kind of forget that. There's a new generation looking at fairy tales now, and that's what monster movies were for me. I've always been interested in those kinds of stories, the ones that have been around for ages. When I go back and reread "Red Riding Hood," it's so bizarre, so weird, so fascinating, and we forget how strange they were, even if they've stayed in our consciousness for ages. Fairy tales are amazing, intense, psychological horror stories. But if you ask most adults, they immediately think it's all princesses and happy endings, and it's so not. Obviously.

Are you still thinking about doing Pinocchio next?

It's really hard to think about doing anything when I've got a throbbing pain in my shoulder! The painkillers are not that good here. The doctors are like, "Take two aspirin."

You're in London. Codeine is over-the-counter there!

Yeah, but it's a pretty weak form of codeine, probably. But you're right. I should do that. [Laughs.] I'm hoping the pain subsides soon, but it's like when you have a toothache, and it's hard to think, hard to do things, hard to focus on what's going on when it's throbbing away.

Once the pain subsides, then you can consider Pinocchio, or perhaps a Walt Disney biopic starring Ryan Gosling. Have you seen that poster?

The story at Cal Arts was that Walt was cryogenically frozen and somewhere in the basement. We used to spend Friday nights looking for him. So that's the story. Listen, I'm open to ideas at the moment!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Big Fish" Musical on Broadway Oct. 6

The Wrap reports that the musical version of Big Fish will be coming to Broadway on October 6th, where it will play at the Neil Simon Theatre. The production is based on the original novel by Daniel Wallace and the Tim Burton film. Susan Stroman directed the show, with the book written by frequent Tim Burton collaborator John August (screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Frankenweenie, etc.).

The musical will have its world premiere with a five-week engagement beginning April 19 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. Previews there start April 2.

The cast includes Tony Award-winning actor Norbert Leo Butz ("Catch Me If You Can") as Ed Bloom, the character played by Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor in the movie, and Kate Baldwin ("Finian's Rainbow") as Sandra Bloom, played in the movie by Alison Lohman. Bobby Steggert will take Billy Crudup's role of Will Bloom, and Zachary Unger will play Young Will.

The musical is produced by Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen and Stage Entertainment with Roy Furman, the Nederlander Organization, John Domo and Broadway Across America.

Interview: "Frankenweenie" Animation Director Mark Waring

We Are Movie Geeks recently interviewed Frankenweenie animation director Mark Waring. Waring discussed how the stop-motion animation process on Frankenweenie was unique, what the crew was like, Tim Burton's influences, and more:

We Are Movie Geeks:
Congratulations on FRANKENWEENIE. I took my daughters to see it and we loved it.

Mark Waring: Oh good, thanks.

WAMG: Did you grow up a fan of stop-motion animation?

MW: I was always interested on those things. Whenever there was something with stop-motion on TV I would always watch it, but it was never something that I thought I would end up doing. I was always interested in art and design and films as well but it wasn’t until I was in college that I was introduced to animation through a course. It was then I realized that this was what I wanted to do. It was design, art, sculpting, film, all combined and it was something I could do for a living. Then I started studying the history of animation and thought this was really wanted I wanted to do.

WAMG: I saw where you had recently participated in a panel discussion on Ray Harryhausen.

MW: Yeah, I’ve done a couple of those. Tony Dawson, who’s written four or five books on Harryhausen, runs the Ray Harryhausen Foundation, invited me to do that. Ray has never thrown anything away. He’s kept everything he’s created throughout his whole life right down to models he made when he was twelve. There’s a whole history and archive there and Tony is helping him look after that. He’s got me involved in various talks and panel discussions. Harryhausen has been such an influence and has helped me so much in my art. He was a pioneer and his techniques are still relevant. We still reference his monster characters. The animators all get together and look at his films and study what he did and how he worked.

WAMG: What are the key differences between what Harryhausen was doing decades ago and what you are doing with a project like FRANKENWEENIE?

MW: Technically it’s exactly the same. It’s basically down to, as an animator, you’re standing in front of a puppet that got an armature inside and you’ve got to bring it to life. Turn it into something that’s moving in a believable, if not necessarily realistic, way. You have to give it emotion, which I think is what Ray Harryhausen did best. He made them angry, or frightened, or whatever they were and we’ve got to do the same thing. We’ve obviously got more technology around us now.

WAMG: And more people. Harryhausen pretty much did everything on his own.

MW: Absolutely. He did all of that on his own. He made the puppets. His dad helped make the armatures. His mom helped make the costumes, but he shot it and did virtually everything on his own. With the technology we have now, we can check our work, which he couldn’t do. We can walk away, have a cup of tea, look at it, and come back and fix anything. He had none of that, he worked blind. He had no references whatsoever. Sometimes what we do is have our animators work blind like Harryhausen did, just for practice, to kind of get into the swing of it. It’s tricky. Harryhausen developed these metal pointers that he could measure exactly how far he moved, or would need to move, say one of the Hydra’s seven heads. We still use that tool today, in spite of all the technology at our disposal.

WAMG: Did you grow up a fan of monster movies?

MW: Sort of, yeah. If anything like that came on the TV, I would watch it. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing but over here, in the UK, those sort of things weren’t really shown on TV like they were in America, but it was definitely something I was interested in.

WAMG: I noticed in FRANKENWEENIE Victor’s parents are at one point watching HORROR OF DRACULA with Christopher Lee on their TV. Who’s idea was that?

MW: Oh, I’m sure that was Tim Burton’s choice. After all, FRANKENWEENIE is Tim Burton’s childhood. Victor and Sparky are Tim and his dog. That’s what he based everything on, the whole idea of a boy and his dog and what that meant to him, he just packs FRANKENWEENIE with his world and I suppose HORROR OF DRACULA is just a film Tim remembers fondly from his childhood and that’s why he chose to include it.

WAMG: Did Tim Burton give you much creative leeway with FRANKENWEENIE, or was it strictly storyboarded?

MW: He was involved a lot, especially in the early development stages. All of the character designs come straight out of his sketchbooks. We’d worked together in the past and all of the inspiration comes through him. I think the storyboarding style as well. The early stages of the process set the tone and the film shows that. There’s very little in the film that doesn’t have his fingerprints all over it. That said, he’s very open to suggestions. He likes to surround himself with people who know him so a lot of the crew from THE CORPSE BRIDE also worked on FRANKENWEENIE.

WAMG: How many animators worked on FRANKENWEENIE?

MW: I guess around thirty. There are different levels of animators. We have four or five lead animators, then fifteen or so who are crafting every day doing their work. After that there’s a team of assistants who animate as well. Some are good at intimate character work, some are broader at animating the broader action scenes. So we mix and match and steer people towards their strengths.

WAMG: I remember when Tim Burton made MARS ATTACKS fifteen years ago and wanted to use stop motion, but decided he could make CGI look more like what he had in mind. Why do you think he went back to old school stop motion for CORPSE BRIDE and FRANKENWEENIE?

MW: I think partly stop motion is a physical thing, it’s a tactile thing. You can see the work that’s gone into it. I would have loved for MARS ATTACKS to have been stop motion. When I first heard about the film I thought it would be the perfect homage to ’50s sci-fi and B movies and flying saucers and all those things. It would have been perfect if they’d gone down that route. They had originally wanted to do it as stop motion. They had brought some puppet people in and had made armatures and I think it was quite last minute that they actually pulled the plug and went with CGI. They may have been worried about the time it was going to take with deadlines or whatever and I think if they would have gone that way, it would have been fantastic. There’s a magic to the art of stop motion that CGI just doesn’t have. It doesn’t mean that CGI is wrong or that one style is better than the other, I just think with stop motion you better see the craft on display.

WAMG: Had you seen the FRANKENWEENIE from the ’80s before you got involved with this project?

MW: Oh yes, we used that film as a reference for so many of the shots, but obviously the story has been fleshed out much more. I think it had its own mood and momentum but the feel of that short is what we were going for.

WAMG: There’s a short on the Blu-ray release of FRANKENWEENIE titled ‘Sparky vs the Flying Saucer’. What can you tell me about that?

MW: Well, I directed it and it was great to have the opportunity to do that. In the film itself, Victor is showing making a little film, a home movie with Sparky acting as a giant monster and the idea behind ‘Sparky vs the Flying Saucers’ is that this is another film that Victor has made with Sparky, and perhaps he has made a whole series of these films that he can show to his parents. This one is a Mars Attacks type of thing really with space aliens and Sparky in a space suit and all.

WAMG: Was this Tim Burton’s story?

MW: It was from Tim’s idea but the actual script itself was by Derek [Frey] who is Tim’s assistant and he and I discussed the idea and we fleshed it out with the storyboarders and made this little film. We made it towards the end of the shoot and thought about maybe tagging it on to the end of the film but it’s now on the DVD.

WAMG: Do you see possibly making some more Sparky shorts?

MW: I’d love to. I love the concept that there could be more of these films featuring Sparky hidden away in Victor’s attic. Who knows? I think we created a lovely world. Maybe we could make more shorts, perhaps a cowboy film or any classic film genres.

WAMG: What’s next for Mark Waring?

MW: I would love to work on more features. I’d love to work with Tim again. I love the stop motion format. In the meantime though I’m working on commercials in London and keeping busy.

WAMG: Good luck with your future projects and thanks for talking to We Are Movie Geeks.

MW: Thank you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Frankenweenie" Now Available on DVD, Blu-ray

Frankenweenie is now available for home video purchase and rental. Click the links below for special features details, technical specifications, and to order your copy now.

Frankenweenie (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)

Frankenweenie (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

"Frankenweenie" Nominated for Oscar

Frankenweenie has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature category of the 85th Academy Awards.

This marks Tim Burton's second Oscar nomination. His previous nomination was for 2005's Corpse Bride, which he shared with co-director Mike Johnson.

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony will be broadcast on ABC on Sunday, February 24th, at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time / 4:00 PM Pacific Time.