Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Director Tim Burton

Timothy William "Tim" Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an American film director. His first feature was Pee-wee's Big Adventure in 1985; many of his subsequent films have won Academy Awards. He specialises in dark and quirky-themed films such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas, but has also produced cinema blockbusters, including Batman, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He frequently works with close friend Johnny Depp, musician Danny Elfman and partner Helena Bonham Carter . Burton's most recent film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Streetwon the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. His most recent production is the Shane Acker animated sci-fi fantasy 9, a co-production with Timur Bekmambetov. His next film Alice in Wonderland is due for release March 5, 2010.

Early life

Burton was born in Burbank, California, the son of Jean, who ran a gift shop, and Bill Burton, a former baseball player who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. Burbank was typical of 1950s American suburbia; shy, artistic Burton was not quite in step with the happy, popular people surrounding him. He was not particularly good in school. Instead, he found his pleasure in painting, drawing, and watching movies. He loved monster movies like Godzilla, the horror films from Hammer Film Productions, the work of Ray Harryhausen. One of his heroes was actor Vincent Price. Burton would make short films in his back yard using crude stop-motion animation techniques, or shoot them on 8 mm film without sound. After graduating from Burbank High School, he attended the California Institute of the Arts.

Early career (1980s)

In 1982, Burton made his first short, Vincent, a six minute black and white stop motion film based around a poem written by the film maker, and depicting a young boy who fantasizes that he is his (and Burton's) hero Vincent Price, with Price himself providing narration. The film was produced by Rick Heinrichs, whom Burton had befriended while working in the concept art department at Disney Studios. The film was shown at the Chicago Film Festival and released, alongside the teen drama Tex, for two weeks in one Los Angeles cinema. This was followed by Burton's first live-action production Hansel and Gretel, a Japanese themed adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale for The Disney Channel, which climaxes in a kung-fu fight between Hansel and Gretel and the witch. Having aired once at 10:30pm on Halloween 1983 and promptly shelved, prints of the film are extremely difficult to locate, which contributes to the rumor that this project does not exist. In 2009, the short went on display in the Museum of Modern Art. Next was the live-action short Frankenweenie, starring Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall (an early supporter of Burton's work). (Both "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie" are on the 2-disc deluxe edition of the DVD "The Nightmare Before Christmas")

Although Burton's work had yet to see wide release, he began to attract the attention of the film industry. Producer Griffin Dunne approached Burton to direct After Hours (1985), a comedy about a bored word processor who survives a crazy night in SoHo, which had 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.


Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Batman (1989)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Batman Returns (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Ed Wood (1994)
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Big Fish (2003)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Corpse Bride (2005)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Dark Shadows (2011)

Future projects

Burton plans to remake his 1984 short film Frankenweenie as a feature length stop motion film, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. He is also set to direct a film adaptation based on the television series Dark Shadows. Johnny Depp will portray Barnabas Collins as well as co-produce the film, and John August is currently writing the script. However, Dark Shadows will be pushed back due to Depp and Burton's commitments to other projects. During Comic-Con 2009, Burton confirmed that Dark Shadows will be his next film.

On January 19, 2010, it was announced that after Dark Shadows that Burton's next project would be a 'Wicked'-style adaption featuring the origin story and the past of the Sleeping Beauty character and antagonist Maleficent, though it has yet to be confirmed. In an interview with Fandango published February 23, 2010, however, he denied he was directing any upcoming Sleeping Beauty movie. He will lead the jury of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.

Personal life

Burton was married to a German-born artist for two years, whom he left to live with model and actress Lisa Marie. She acted in each of the films he made during their tenure as a couple, from 1992 to 2001, most notably in Ed Wood and Mars Attacks! Burton abruptly ended their relationship to enter into a new one with Helena Bonham Carter, whom he met while filming Planet of the Apes. Marie responded in 2005 by holding an auction of personal belongings that Burton had left behind, much to his dismay. Burton and Bonham Carter have a son, Billy Ray Burton, born October 4, 2003, and a daughter, Nell Burton, born December 15, 2007. Burton and Bonham Carter divide their time together in Los Angeles and London.

Close friend Johnny Depp is a godfather of Burton's son. In Burton on Burton, Depp wrote the introduction, stating, "What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my son's godfather. 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."


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