Timothy Walter, famously known as Tim Burton is a film producer, director, writer and an artist. The American artist is famous for his fantasy films that are quirky and gothic. His popular films are Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Dark Shadows, Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie etc. His other film genres include superhero films, horror fantasy, musicals etc. Some of his blockbuster movies like Big Fish, Batman and its sequel, Batman Returns, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Peewee’s Big Adventure garnered a gross of more than $1 billion worldwide.
He has worked with successful actors and musicians like Danny Elfman, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter. He has also written a poetry book and other artwork and sketches. His creations included The Art of Tim Burton, The Napkin Art of Tim Burton: Things You Think About in a Bar and The Melancholy Death of Oyster and Other Stories. Faber and Faber and Steeles Publishing published his works. He started his career in the entertainment industry in 1979 and has been active since then. He is very famous for his works and direction skills. He blends themes like fantasy and horror and creates a masterpiece out of them.
Tim Burton was born on August 25, 1958. He was born to Jean Burton and Bill Burton. He has a brother Daniel Burton. His mother owned a cat- themed gift shop and his father was a minor league baseball player and later worked in the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. Born and raised in the Burbank city, California, he attended Burbank High School. He was not an excellent student but a very creative person. He was fond of drawing, writing and watching movies. He was often found making short films in his backyard using animation techniques on Evergreen Street. He made The Island of Doctor Agor when he was just 13 years old. His interest in making movies as a child went on to become his career. Childhood heroes like Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss heavily inspired his works. After graduating high school, he went on to study character animation at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. During his college days, he made short animations, King and Octopus and Stalk of the Celery Monster. The latter attracted the attention of many productions, namely Walt Disney Production.
After his work, Stalk of the Celery Monster was made; Walt Disney’s animation division was impressed by his work and offered Tim an animator’s apprenticeship. He went on to become an animator and concept artist for movies like The Black Cauldron, Tron and The Fox and The Hound. The concept art, however, never made into finished films.
Tim made his first short animation Vincent when he worked for Disney. The slow motion movie is based on a poem, which depicts a boy who fantasizes him as his hero Vincent Price. The movie, which was produced by Rick Heinrichs, was premiered at the Chicago Film Festival. His next work was a live- action production of a Japanese theme adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ Hansel and Gretel for the Disney Channel. The climax of the movie ended with Hansel and Gretel in a kung Fu fight with the witch. His other live- action short film, Frankenweenie starred Shelley Duvall and Barret Oliver and Daniel Stern. However, his career in Disney ended with them firing him for spending resources of the company on films, which were too scary for the children to watch. Griffin Dunne offered him to direct After Hours but it was later cancelled after Martin Scorsese showed interest in directing the black comedy.
Some of his popular works are:
- Pee-wee’s Big Adventure: Paul Reubens approached Burton after watching Frankenweenie and Vincent to direct his spin- off of the popular character Pee-wee Herman. Reuben’s character Herman gained popularity at The Roxy and The Groundlings. The movie would later gross over $40 million at the box office in North America. The budget of the movie was about $8 million. Danny Elfman provided music for the film and has been providing music for Tim’s movie except for three movies.
- Batman: Burton was offered his first big budget movie, Batman after producers and studio executives were impressed with his low-budget hits. There were many clashing and discussions involved during the production of the movies. He had clashed with the producers regarding the cast. The movie grossed more than $400 million worldwide and earned an Academy Awards. The movie earned him the recognition of being a profitable director.
- Beetlejuice: In 1988, Burton received another project, a comedy-horror movie about a couple forced to adjust to life after death. The movie starred Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Michael Keaton who later was cast in Burton’s project, Batman. The movie was a low budget film but earned itself an Academy Award.
Career in the 90s
- Edward Scissorhands: Tim directed and co- wrote Edward Scissorhands in 1990. He cast Johnny Depp as Edward and collaborated with Winona Ryder. Edward was a creation of an eccentric inventor, he looked human but had scissors in place of his hands after the death of his creator. Critics also claim Edward Scissorhands as one of his best movies. The movie was turned into a ballet in 2005. After the movie, Depp collaborated with Burton on his other blockbusters, Alice in Wonderland, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow and Dark Shadows etc.
- Batman Return: After the success of the first Batman movie, Burton agreed to direct the sequel too. Michael Keaton returned as the Dark Knight and new villains like Cat woman, the Penguin were introduced. The movie garnered many criticisms claiming it was too scary for the children and issues of overt sexuality. However, the fans for being quirky also praised it. The movie released in 1992 and grossed over $282 million worldwide.
- Cabin Boy: Burton and producer Denise Di Novi produced Cabin Boy in 1994. The fantasy comedy starred comedian Chris Elliot in the lead. The movie was not well received.
- The Nightmare before Christmas: Burton did not direct the movie but wrote and produced it. The film was based on characters and story of Burton. The movie was successful in the box office grossing over $50 million.
- Ed Wood: Ed Wood was a film of a smaller scale starring Johnny Depp in the lead role. The film depicted the life of Ed Wood, who made various low- budget comedies, horror and science fiction movies. It was not commercially successful but received many critics.
- James and the Giant Peach: The musical fantasy, based on a book by Roald Dahl is a collaboration of Selick and Burton. The film starred Simon Callow, Richard Leeves, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss and David Thewlis. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and was praised by many critics.
- Mars Attacks! : In 1996, Burton collaborated with Elfman for a science fiction trading series. The cast included stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, Jack Nicholson, Natalie Portman and Jack Black etc.
- Superman Lives: Burton was approached to direct the movie after Kevin Smith started to write a new Superman film. There were many changes in the writers, cast, and production.
- Sleepy Hollow: Released in 1999, Sleepy Hollow was a collaboration of Johnny Depp and Burton. The movie earned itself an Academy Award and two BAFTAs. The movie was very successful in the box office.
In the 2000s
- Planet of the Apes: The movie was commercially a success earning over $68 million in the opening weekend.
- Big Fish: Burton’s 2003 direction Big Fish is an adaptation of the Daniel Wallace novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions. Big Fish is also the first film of Miley Cyrus, who played Young Ruthie. The film also starred Helena Bonham Carter as Jenny and the Witch. The film earned four Golden Globe nominations and an Academy Award
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: In 2005, Burton collaborated with Johnny Depp for the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an adaptation of the book by Roald Dahl with the same name. Johnny Depp starred as Willy Wonka and the movie grossed over $207 million in the States.
- Corpse Bride: in 2005, Tim made Corpse Bride, his first stop-motion film that was of full length. The movie featured voices of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp in the title roles. The film featured Tim’s style and trademark themes, lightness and darkness.
- Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The December 2007 release won many awards and recognition for its excellent direction and casts. He earned a Golden Globe nomination and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director and an Academy Award for his excellent direction in the movie. The cast, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp also won many nominations and awards. Johnny Depp was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Sweeny Todd. He won a Golden Globe and an MTV Award. For her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett Helena won herself an Evening Standard British Film Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination.
Career in 2010
- Alice in Wonderland: Tim’s version of the Alice in Wonderland is set after 13 years of the original tale. Mia Wasikowska was cast as Alice and Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter. The filming and production took place in Antony House and London. The cast of the movie was excellent including, Anne Hathaway as The White Queen, Alan Rickman as Absolem the Caterpillar and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen the film earned two Academy Awards.
- Dark Shadows: Dark Shadows was based on the gothic soap opera of the same name. The title cast included Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Danny Elfman and costume by Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, provided the soundtrack of the movie.
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Burton was the co- producer of the movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Seth Grahame- Smith who also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies bases the movie on the novel. The film received mix reviews along with critics as well.
- Frankenweenie: The film was a remake of the short film with the same name as a full- length stop motion film. The film got positive reviews.
- Big Eyes: The 2014 film is a biographical drama of artist Margaret Keane played by Amy Adams. The movie was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia and released on December 25, 2014. The movie received positive reviews.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Ransom Riggs base the September 2016 release on the book with the same name. The film starred Eva Green and Asa Butterfield.
Music Video: The Killers
Burton directed his first music video Bones in 2006. The song is a single by an indie rock band The Killers. The video starred actors Devon Aoki and Michael Steger and featured scenes from films Lolita, Jason and the Argonauts and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The video won the Best Video at the Shockwaves NME Awards in 2007. Burton would direct the second music video of The Killers that starred Winona Ryder.
Relationships and Marriages
- he was married to a German-born artist, Lena for four years. Their marriage ended in 1991.
- He was in a live-in relationship with model-actress Lisa Marie. She acted in his movies like Mars Attack! and Ed Wood during their relationship.
- Burton met Helena during the shoot of Planet of the Apes. They have two children together, a son and a daughter. Their son Billy Raymond was born in October 2003 and daughter Nell was born in December 2007. It was announced in 2014 that Helena and Tim ha broken up in December that year.
- He is rumored to be dating Eva Green since 2015, December.