"Tim Burton"

Primary Author: Jessica Barton, Tonino Cercone, Donnielle Mood, and Sarah Wojciechowski

The primary authors are the individuals who drafted the first version of the material which could have been different than the currently published version.

One of the many talented directors in the film industry today, Tim Burton manages to separate himself from the rest with his fantastical and macabre films. Throughout his career, he has proved himself to be a master of creating instant cult classics like Edward Scissorhands (1990), Beetlejuice (1988), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

Born 25 August1958 and raised in Burbank, California, Timothy Walter Burton did not live out what one may call an ideal childhood. Burton never really connected with his peers. Naturally, this marked him as an outcast. An artistic soul, he found more joy in painting and movies than he found in academics.

Burton grew up to study at the California Institute of Arts where he majored in animation. Once he was through with his studies, he went on to work as an animator for Disney for a short while. Yet, much to Burton's chagrin, "[he] was one of many talented artists stuck drawing the same character, with minute differences, over and over again." Given his natural abilities and passion for art, the limitations set by Disney were a nuisance to him. This did not last long, however, as he set out to work on his own after less than a year with the corporation.

Free of the tedious tasks he was employed to complete at Disney, Burton found the time to begin working on some projects of his own. Two of these independent projects were Vincent (1982) and Frankenweenie (1984). Due to a recommendation from Steven King after he had seen Frankenweenie, Burton landed a job for Warner Brothers directing the successful film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985). Beetlejuice, another successful film he would direct three years later, earned the attention of the Warner Brothers once again, fueling their decision to ultimately give Burton the job of directing the much-anticipated movie, Batman (1989). This was arguably his big break, as the film brought him to the forefront of mainstream media and culture.

Burton took advantage of his newfound fame and power in the film industry to create Edward Scissorhands (1990), the story of an outcast in cookie-cutter suburbia. Always feeling like an outcast himself, this film was very personal to Burton and it also marked the beginning of his long-lasting friendship and professional collaboration with actor Johnny Depp.

Over the next decade, Burton would direct Batman Returns (1992) (the sequel to Batman), Ed Wood (1994) (a biopic about the "world's worst director"), and Mars Attacks! (1996) (a spoof of the popular alien invasion movies of the 1950s and 1960s that he had loved as a child). While he didn't direct the film, he also produced and played a big part in creating the film Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Though he had taken a hit with the box office failure of Mars Attacks! , his next film, Sleepy Hollow (1999) earned three Oscar nominations.

Meanwhile, Burton's artistic spark ceased to be extinguished. Through the ups and downs of his film career, he always had his art. His art style is very similar to that of the movies he directs; dark and macabre. While he focuses mostly on sketches and drawing, Burton also wrote all of the poems and created the illustrations in The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories (1997). Later, a book compiling his artwork, The Art of Tim Burton, was published in 2009. Burton's artwork has also been exhibited in several museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Cinémathèque Française, and Seoul Museum of Art.

Some of Burton's more recent films to date include Planet of the Apes (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dark Shadows (2012), and the full-length remake of his film Frankenweenie (2012). He is producing the upcoming sequel to Alice in Wonderland titled Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, (expected release in 2015) and is currently engaged to his longtime business partner and girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter.

Burton is a true artist. Not only does he produce his own movies, but he writes the scripts for them and also does the artwork for them. During Burton's free time, he enjoys drawing and writing poetry. During 2009-2010, Tim Burton had over 700 different pieces of art in the Museum of Art in New York City. He is a truly creative person that has provided a lot of entertainment for others and will continue to do so with his future endeavors.

Works Consulted




Photo Credit: Georges Biard, 23 October 2012