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Tim Burton is the director of the Sweeney Todd movie.
Tim Burton

He went to see the musical in theatre in the 80's and loved it at first sight. But he had to wait over 20 years before he could make his own movie of it. Together with his good friend Johnny Depp and his wife Helena Bonham Carter, his wish came true. After asking Johnny Depp if he actually could sing, the answer he actually got was: "I don't really know..."


Timothy "Tim" William Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated American film director, writer and designer notable for the quirky and often dark gothic atmosphere in his high-profile films.

The director of two Batman films, Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), he has collaborated with actor Johnny Depp prolifically in films such as Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride in 2005. His 2007 film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, also starring Depp in the leading role, won the award for Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Actor (Comedy or Musical) at the 65th Golden Globe Awards. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design at the 80th Academy Awards. He has also collaborated extensively with composer Danny Elfman, in such films as Batman, Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to name a few.

Early life

Burton was born in Burbank, California, the first of two sons to Bill Burton and Jean Erickson. His year of birth is sometimes mistakenly given as 1960, most notably in his own books, and the picture book of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton described his childhood self as quirky, self-absorbed and highly imaginative. As a child growing up in Burbank, he staged an axe murder with his brother to scare the neighbors, prompting them to call the police. He repeated the prank again with similar results. He found home life and school difficult, often escaping the reality of everyday life by watching horror and low budget films, to which he would later pay tribute in his biography of Edward D. Wood, Jr.. Another film figure of importance in Burton's childhood is Vincent Price, whose films would deeply influence the upcoming director's career. He was inspired early on by Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion films.

After high school, he won a Disney scholarship to attend the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. He studied at the Character Animation program for three years. Burton's first job in animation was working as a cell painter on Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.[1][2] Burton was then hired by the Walt Disney Studios as an animator apprentice. Burton's job was to draw for The Fox and the Hound, but he was dissatisfied with the artistic direction of the movie. He later commented on the refusal of Disney to use his design for The Fox and the Hound because his designs made the characters, in opposition to Disney's desires, "look like roadkill." Burton was not happy during his Disney period, but it was then that he wrote and drew the poem and illustrations that would be the basis for his celebrated The Nightmare Before Christmas.

[edit] Early career- Disney

In 1982, Burton made his first short, Vincent, a six-minute black and white stop-motion film based around a poem written by Burton, and depicting a young boy who fantasizes that he is his (and Burton's) screen idol Vincent Price, with Price himself providing narration. The film was released alongside the teen drama Tex, for two weeks in one Los Angeles cinema. This was followed by the live-action short Frankenweenie, starring Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall (an early supporter of Burton's work). Shot in black and white and inspired by James Whale's Frankenstein, Frankenweenie features a boy who reanimates his dog Sparky who was hit by a car. Although the film won praise at film festivals, Disney was concerned that the film was too scary for children and, not knowing what to do with it, shelved the film. (Frankenweenie later received a video release in 1992).

Although Burton's work had yet to see wide release, he began to attract the attention of the film industry. Actor/producer Griffin Dunne, approached Burton to direct After Hours (1985), a comedy about a bored word processor who survives a crazy night in SoHo that had already been passed over by Martin Scorsese. However, when financing for The Last Temptation of Christ fell through, Burton bowed out of the project out of respect for Scorsese.

Not long after, actor Paul Reubens saw Frankenweenie and chose Burton to direct the cinematic spinoff of his popular character Pee-wee Herman. Pee-Wee Herman gained mainstream popularity with a successful stage show at the Roxy which was later turned into an HBO special. The film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985), was made on a budget of $7 million and grossed more than $40 million at the box office. Burton, a fan of the eccentric musical group Oingo Boingo, asked vocalist/songwriter Danny Elfman to provide the music for the film. Since then, Elfman has provided the score for all but two Burton films, Ed Wood, and Sweeney Todd.

After directing episodes for the revitalized TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, Burton received his next big project. Beetlejuice (1988), a supernatural comedy about a young couple forced to cope with life after death, as well as a family of pretentious yuppies invading their treasured New England home. Starring Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, and featuring Michael Keaton as the famously repulsive bio-exorcist Beetlejuice, the film grossed about $80 million on a relatively low budget and winning a Best Makeup Design Oscar. It would later be converted into a cartoon of the same name, with Burton playing a role as executive producer, that would run for four seasons on ABC and later Fox.

[edit] Batman

   Main article: Batman (1989 film)

Burton's ability to produce hits with low budgets impressed studio executives and he received his first big budget film Batman (1989). The mega-budget production, based in London, was plagued with problems. Burton repeatedly clashed with the film's producers, Jon Peters and Peter Guber, but the most notable debacle involved casting. Burton wanted to cast Michael Keaton from his previous role as Beetlejuice, despite Keaton's average physique, inexperience with action films, and reputation as a comic actor. Although Burton won out in the end, the furor over the casting provoked enormous fan animosity, to the extent that Warner Brothers' share price slumped. Burton had considered it ridiculous to cast a bulked-up he-man as Batman, insisting that the Caped Crusader should be an ordinary (albeit fabulously wealthy) man who dressed up in an elaborate bat costume to frighten criminals. Burton cast Jack Nicholson as the Joker (Tim Curry being his second choice) in a move that helped assuage fans' fears, as well as attracting older audiences not as interested in a superhero film.

When the film opened in June 1989, it was backed by the biggest marketing and merchandising campaign in film history at the time, and became one of the biggest box office hits of all time, grossing well over $400 million worldwide and $250 million in the U.S. alone (numbers not adjusted for inflation). The film proved to be a huge influence on future superhero films, which eschewed the bright, all-American heroism of Superman for a grimmer look and characters with more psychological depth.

Burton claimed that The Killing Joke was a major influence on his film adaptation of Batman:

   "I was never a giant comic book fan, but I've always loved the image of Batman and The Joker. The reason I've never been a comic book fan - and I think it started when I was a child - is because I could never tell which box I was supposed to read. I don't know if it was dyslexia or whatever, but that's why I loved The Killing Joke, because for the first time I could tell which one to read. It's my favorite. It's the first comic I've ever loved. And the success of those graphic novels made our ideas more acceptable."[3]

[edit] The 1990s

[edit] Edward Scissorhands

   Main article: Edward Scissorhands

In 1990, Burton co-wrote (with Caroline Thompson) and directed Edward Scissorhands, re-uniting with Winona Ryder from Beetlejuice. Johnny Depp, a teen idol at the end of the 1980s due primarily to his work on the hit TV series 21 Jump Street, was cast in the title role of Edward, who was the creation of an eccentric and old-fashioned inventor (played by Vincent Price, in his last appearance on screen before his death). Edward looked human, but was left with scissors in the place of hands due to the untimely death of his creator. Set in suburbia (the film was shot in Tampa, Florida), the film is largely seen as Burton's autobiography of his own childhood in the suburb of Burbank. Price at one point is said to have remarked, "Tim is Edward." Johnny Depp wrote a similar comment in the foreword to Mark Salisbury's book, Burton on Burton, regarding his first meeting with Burton over the casting of the film. Edward is considered Burton's best movie by many fans and critics. Following this collaboration with Burton, Depp went on to star in Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

[edit] Batman Returns

   Main article: Batman Returns

The Batmobile used in Burton's films The Batmobile used in Burton's films

Although Warner Brothers had declined to make the more personal Scissorhands even after the success of Batman, Burton finally agreed to direct the sequel for Warner Brothers on the condition that he would be granted total control. The result was Batman Returns which featured Michael Keaton returning as the Dark Knight, and a new triad of villains: Danny DeVito (as the Penguin), Michelle Pfeiffer (as Catwoman) and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, an evil corporate tycoon. Darker and considerably more personal than its predecessor, concerns were raised that the film was too scary for children. Audiences were even more uncomfortable at the film's overt sexuality, personified by the sleek, fetish-inspired styling of Catwoman's costume. One critic remarked, "too many villains spoiled the Batman", highlighting Burton's decision to focus the storyline more on the villains instead of Batman. The film also polarized the fanbase, with some loving the darkness and quirkiness, while others felt it wasn't true to the core aspects of the source material. Tim Burton made many changes to the Penguin which would be applied to the Penguin in both comics and television. While in the comics, he was an ordinary man, Burton created a freak of nature resembling a penguin with webbed, flipper-like fingers, a hooked, beak-like nose, and a penguin-like body. Batman Returns was made for $80 million, equivalent to over $119.8 million in 2007, and grossed $282.8 million world-wide, equivalent to over $423.6 million in 2007.

Burton then went on to do preliminary work on the third installment in the franchise. Val Kilmer was cast as the title character (after Michael Keaton turned down the offer to reprise his previous role after Burton's departure from the project), Chris O'Donnell was cast as Robin, Jim Carrey was cast as the Riddler (after Robin Williams turned down the part), Tommy Lee Jones was cast as Two-Face, and Nicole Kidman was cast as love interest Dr. Chase Meridian. Warner Brothers ultimately threw out Burton after they realized the tone of the film was to be similar to Batman Returns. Burton left the Batman franchise (but returned as a producer for the Joel Schumacher–directed Batman Forever (1995), a movie which he said had a title "like a tattoo you get when you're on drugs").

[edit] The Nightmare Before Christmas

   Main article: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Next, Burton wrote and produced (but did not direct, due to schedule constraints on Batman Returns) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), originally meant to be a children's book in rhyme. The film was directed by Henry Selick and written by Michael McDowell and Caroline Thompson, based on Burton's original story, world and characters. The film continues to have a wide cult following. Burton collaborated with Selick again for James and the Giant Peach (1996), which Burton co-produced. The movie helped to generate a renewed interest in stop-motion animation.

A deleted scene from The Nightmare Before Christmas features a group of vampires playing hockey on the frozen pond with the decapitated head of producer Tim Burton. The head was later replaced with a Jack-o'-lantern.

[edit] Ed Wood

   Main article: Ed Wood (film)

His next film, Ed Wood (1994), was of a much smaller scale, depicting the life of Ed Wood Jr, a filmmaker sometimes called "the worst director of all time." Starring Johnny Depp in the title role, the film is a homage to the low-budget sci-fi and horror films of Burton's childhood, and handles its comical protagonist and his motley band of collaborators with surprising fondness and sensitivity. Due to creative squabbles during the making of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Danny Elfman declined to score Ed Wood, and the assignment went to Howard Shore. While a commercial failure at the time of its release, Ed Wood was well received by critics and has since gathered a considerable fanbase, as well as helped revive the public interest for the films of Ed Wood Jr. Martin Landau also received an Academy Award, in the Best Supporting Actor category, for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi.

[edit] Mars Attacks!

   Main article: Mars Attacks!

Elfman and Burton reunited for Mars Attacks! (1996). Based on a popular science fiction trading card series, the film was a hybrid of 1950s sci-fi flicks and 1970s all-star disaster flicks -- an anarchic cacophony of clever satire and goofy mayhem. Coincidence made it an inadvertent spoof of the blockbuster, Independence Day, made around the same time and released five months earlier. Although the film boasted an all-star cast, including Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Lukas Haas, Glenn Close and Rod Steiger, among others, the film received mixed reviews by American critics and was mostly ignored by American audiences. It was however more successful abroad, and later managed to gather an American fan base from its television airings and DVD release.

[edit] Sleepy Hollow

   Main article: Sleepy Hollow (film)

Sleepy Hollow, released in the autumn of 1999, was a return to vintage Burton, with a supernatural setting, unique sets and another offbeat performance by Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, now a detective with an interest in forensic science rather than the schoolteacher of Washington Irving's original tale. With Hollow, Burton paid homage to the old horror movies from English company Hammer Film Productions. Hammer veteran Christopher Lee is given a cameo role. A host of Burton regulars appeared in supporting roles (Michael Gough, Jeffrey Jones, and Christopher Walken, among others) and Christina Ricci was cast as Katrina van Tassel. Mostly well-received by critics, and with a special mention to Elfman's Gothic score, the film won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, as well as two BAFTAs for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. A box office success, Sleepy Hollow was also a turning point for Burton. Along with change in his personal life (separation from Lisa Marie), Burton changed radically in style for his next project, leaving the haunted forests and colorful outcasts behind to go on to directing Planet of the Apes which, as Burton had repeatedly noted, was "not a remake" of the earlier film.

[edit] Tim Burton's Lost In Oz

   Main article: Tim Burton's Lost In Oz

Conceived as an original television series based on the immortal works of L. Frank Baum, "Tim Burton's Lost In Oz" was never aired. Though a pilot script was written by Trey Callaway with direct input from Burton as an executive producer and a number of key scenes were filmed by veteran television producer/director Michael Katleman, budgetary constraints ultimately prevented the project from being fully realized.

[edit] The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories

   Main article: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories

His book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories was published in 1996. The collection of verse is about misfit children such as Oyster Boy, Match Girl, Stainboy (which later became short animations), the Girl Who Turned into a Bed, and other such outcasts. The book was published by the publishing company Faber and Faber, which also published the original artwork of Sleepy Hollow in 1999.

[edit] The 2000s

[edit] Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes was a commercial success, grossing $68 million in its opening weekend. It was however panned by critics and widely considered inferior to the first adaptation of the book . The main criticism was that the movie went for a more watered down "popcorn" feel than the dark, cerebral and nihilistic tone of the 1968 film. The film was a significant departure from Burton's usual style, and there was much subsequent debate about whether the film was really Burton's, or if he was just a "hired gun" who did what he was asked.[4] Burton reportedly clashed with the studio during the whole making of the film, once going as far as abruptly leaving the set for the day. There were also many reports about last minute changes in the movie. Despite the commercial success of the movie and an ending that clearly suggested the possibility of a sequel, apparently there are no intentions from the studio or Burton to make another Apes movie.

[edit] Recent years

Burton went on to direct Big Fish (2003) which received four Golden Globe nominations, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Corpse Bride (2005), both featuring Johnny Depp in the lead roles, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. Charlie and Bride were Burton's most critically-praised movies in years. Charlie was a huge box office success that made over $207 million domestically.

In 2006 Burton began early work on the film Believe It or Not. By June, Burton announced that he would be postponing his work on this film to instead concentrate on the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This would become yet another collaboration with Johnny Depp, who signed on to play the murderous barber. By June 19, 2007 Burton announced that he was withdrawing completely from the Believe It or Not film.

On February 5, 2007, Burton started principal production on Sweeney Todd, from a screenplay by John Logan. The Dreamworks/Warner Bros. production was released on December 21, 2007. So far, Burton's work on Sweeney Todd has won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director[5], received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.[6] and won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Art Direction.

[edit] Future projects

In November 2007, Burton signed a deal with Disney to direct two 3-D films. The first will be a motion capture adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (http://imdb.com/title/tt1014759/), which is currently in pre-production. It will start filming in May 2008. Afterwards, he will remake Frankenweenie as a stop-motion film.[7] John August announced that he will start writing a live action film and a stop-motion film for Burton as soon as the writers' strike ended.[8]

[edit] Personal life

Burton currently lives with Helena Bonham Carter, with whom he has a son, Billy Ray Burton, born October 4, 2003, and a daughter born December 15, 2007.[9][10] Burton and Bonham Carter live in Belsize Park, London. The couple also own the home of former British Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, Bonham Carter's great-grandfather, in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

Burton made close friend Johnny Depp one of his son's godfathers soon after his birth. In Burton On Burton, Depp wrote the intro, stating, "What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my godson's father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me."

[edit] Trademarks

   * Worked into the designs of many things seen on screen are elegant curls. The ends of lines often taper off into thin spirals at the ends. The most famous of these curls is the hill in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
   * Distinctive skeleton motif seems to show influences from artist Edward Burra (http://www.tate.org.uk/collection/N/N05/N05005_9.jpg).
   * Frequently works with actor Johnny Depp. The two collaborated in the films Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Sweeney Todd. Burton wanted to cast Depp in his movie Mars Attacks! (in the role that eventually went to Michael J Fox).
   * Frequently works with actress and fiancee Helena Bonham Carter, who appeared in his films Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Sweeney Todd.
   * Frequently shows dead dogs, clowns, falling snow, black and white checkered floors, twisted trees, jack-o'-lanterns, scarecrows, striped snakes, butterflies, and black and white stripes in his films.
   * Several films, such as Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands are set at Christmas or during winter and feature the giving of presents.
   * When presenting the film House of Wax with Vincent Price, he said his favorite scene was watching the wax figures melt and their eyeballs fall out in such a manner. He got to express that excitement when he directed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also got to work with Vincent Price by casting him in Edward Scissorhands.
   * His films frequently have dinner table scenes. See Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride.
   * His films often have gothic subtexts. See Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride.
   * Personalizes the production logo in the beginning of his films.
   * Opening credits usually utilize a tracking shot. They also tend to go either on, through, or into something.
   * His long standing collaboration with Danny Elfman, who scored all his films since Pee-wee's Big Adventure, except Ed Wood, which featured the noted composer Howard Shore and Tim's new film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, based on a musical with already existing music and lyrics by renowned Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. See also List of noted film producer and composer collaborations.
   * His main characters tend to be outsiders, and are usually shy, with a pale complexion and unruly black hair, similar to his own.
   * Many of his characters are given a back story regarding their relationships with their fathers, often as a means of explaining erratic behavior. Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Edward Scissorhands are some prominent examples.
   * Many of his characters have had troubled childhoods. See Beetlejuice, Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
   * Many of his stop-motion film main characters have long legs and small feet.


Other Appearances

   * A caricature of Burton appeared on the Plucky Duck Show episode "Return of Batduck". In the episode, the titular character hunts down Burton and attempts to score a role in Batman Returns. Burton did not provide his voice for the episode; Maurice LaMarche (who, incidentally, provided the voice-over for Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of Orson Welles in Ed Wood) took the role.

[edit] Bibliography

   * The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
   * Burton on Burton, edited by Mark Salisbury (1995, revised 2005)
   * The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, (1997)

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Director filmography Year Title Oscar nominations Oscar win 1971 The Island of Doctor Agor 1979 Stalk of the Celery Doctor of Doom 1982 Luau Vincent 1984 Frankenweenie 1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure 1988 Beetlejuice 1 1 1989 Batman 1 1 1990 Edward Scissorhands 1 1992 Batman Returns 2 1994 Ed Wood 2 2 1996 Mars Attacks! 1999 Sleepy Hollow 3 1 2000 The World of Stainboy 2001 Planet of the Apes 2003 Big Fish 1 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 1 Corpse Bride 1 2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 3 1

[edit] Animator filmography

   * The Fox and the Hound uncredited (1981) as a Disney animator doing in-between work on the character Vixey
   * Tron uncredited (1982)
   * The Black Cauldron (unused conceptual artwork only) uncredited, (1985)

[edit] Producer filmography

   * The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
   * Batman Returns(1992)
   * Cabin Boy (1994)
   * Batman Forever (1995)
   * James and the Giant Peach (1996)
   * Corpse Bride (2005)
   * 9 (2008)
   * Ripley's Believe It or Not! (2009)

[edit] Cameos and other film work

   * Singles (1992)
   * Hoffa (1992)

[edit] Internet shorts

   * The World of Stainboy (2000)

[edit] Television

   * Hansel and Gretel, director (1982)
   * Faerie Tale Theatre - Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, director (1984)
   * Alfred Hitchcock Presents - The Jar, director (1986)
   * Family Dog (1993) - executive producer, character design
   * Lost in Oz (unproduced show) - executive producer
   * Hollywood Gum - French commercial, director (1998)
   * Kung Fu and Mannequin - Timex commercials, director (2000)

[edit] Music videos

   * Bones by The Killers (2006)

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