Spooky Gentleman: Tim Burton

 “I’ve always been misrepresented. You know,

I could dress in a clown costume and laugh with the happy people

but they’d still say I’m a dark personality.”

~Tim Burton

Timothy William Burton(1958- ) was born on August 25, 1958 in Burbank, California. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons and watching old movies. In the ninth grade, a local garbage company recognized his talent when he won a prize for an anti-litter poster he designed.

After graduation from high school, he attended California Institute of the Arts. Mr. Burton’s first job upon graduation was as an animator for Disney. He worked on such films as The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron. Disney recognized his talent and developed a life-long relationship with Tim.

Tim made a few other short films, including his first live-action film, Frankenweenie . A half-hour long twist on the tale of Frankenstein, it was deemed inappropriate for children and wasn’t released. But actor Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman) saw Frankenweenie, and believed that Burton would be the right man to direct him in his first full-length feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The film was a surprise success, and Burton instantly became popular.

After the success, Mr. Burton wanted to do something new. For three years he did not make any films until he was given the script for Beetlejuice. The script was wild and filled with artistic and quirky opportunities and Burton could not resist the opportunity. Beetlejuice became another big hit, and Burton’s name in Hollywood history was solidified.

After his work with Michael Keaton in Beattlejuice, Warner Bros. then entrusted him with the original Batman movie in 1989.  Batman is still Tim’s biggest box-office hit to date. Due to the fantastic success of his first three films, he was given the green light to make his next film, any kind of film he wanted. That film was Edward Scissorhands, one of his most emotional, esteemed and artistic films to date. Edward Scissorhands was also Burton’s first film with actor Johnny Depp.

Burton’s next film was 1992’s Batman Returns, and was darker and quirkier than the first one, and, while by no means a financial flop, many people felt somewhat disappointed by it. While working on Batman Returns, he also produced the popular The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993. This movie is still a cult classic today!

Mr. Burton returned to his darker and more artistic form with the film Sleepy Hollow in 1999, starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci and Casper Van Dien. The film received praise for its art direction and was financially successful. His next film was Planet of the Apes, a remake of the classic of the same name. While on the set of Planet of the Apes in 2001, Burton met Helena Bonham Carter, to whom he is now engaged and has a son with.

In 2005, Tim’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahlis. Johnny Depp stars as Willy Wonka and Helena Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Bucket. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was later nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. The film made over $207 million domestically.


Corpse Bride
 was Burton’s first full-length stop-motion film as a director, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp as Victor and Helena Bonham Carter (for whom the project was specifically created) as Emily in the lead roles. In this movie, Burton was able again to use his familiar styles and trademarks, such as the complex interaction between light and darkness, and of being caught between two irreconcilable worlds.

Mr.Burton’s work on Sweeney Todd won the National Board of Review Award for best director and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director and won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction. Helena Bonham Carter won an Evening Standard British Film Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. The film is a devastating blend of explicit gore and Broadway tunes. Johnny Depp received a nomination for the Best Actor Oscar for the role of Sweeney Todd. Depp won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy, as well as the award for Best Villain as Todd in the 2008 MTV Awards.

In Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland, the story takes place 13 years after the original Lewis Carroll tales but still in the Victorian era. Johnny Depp once again stars as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

Tim and Johnny Depp have worked together 7 times and he has worked with Helena Bonham Carter 6 times.

Tim Burton is one of the most creative directors of the 20th century. His quirkiness appeals to so many different types of people. One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is the Haunted Mansion during the holiday season because the characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas decorate the ride. There is also a gift store filled with Tim Burton movie items ranging from sweatshirts to playing cards and sometimes, you can find a special Nightmare treat at the French Market Restaurant.

The Art of Tim Burton” is now being exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will last until October 31, 2011. The show includes over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera. Admission is an $20.00 that is not included in the museum ticket. An iPod touch multimedia tour is also available for an extra $7.00 but seems worth it!

“Just because I cannot see it,

doesn’t mean I can’t believe it!”

~ Jack Skellington in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas


Information gathered from: http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/tim-burtonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_burton#2000s, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000318/ and http://www.timburton.com/ 
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