30 Unknown Facts About The Fan Favorite Filmmaker Tim Burton


Tim Burton, famous for his dark, gothic, and eccentric horror and fantasy films, is known to often cast the same actors - Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee, in his projects. His trademark is to often open his movies with a quiet nighttime snowfall and focuses around a misunderstood outcast. Here are some really unique points to know about the American filmmaker:

  1.  He was born Timothy Walter Burton, on August 25, 1958, in Burbank, California, to Jean Burton and Bill Burton. His mother was the owner of a cat-themed gift shop, while his father, a former minor league baseball player, worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department.
  2.  He attended Providencia Elementary School and Burbank High School. As an average student with less interest in academics, he found pleasure in painting, drawing and watching movies.
  3.  Burton joined ‘California Institute of Arts’ to study character animation, and graduated in 1979. While as the student of CalArts, he made film such as ‘Stalk of the celery Monster’ and ‘King and Octopus.’
  4.  In 1971, as a 13 year old Burton, written and directed a short animated film ‘The Island of Doctor Agar.’ He also starred in the film along with his friends and classmates, was shot with a Super 8 camera.
  5.  He was offered as an animator’s apprenticeship at the Walt Disney Production’s animation division. He worked as animator, storyboard artist, graphic designer, art director and concept artist.
  6.  During his time at Disney, he made his six minutes black & white short motion film ‘Vincent’in 1982, based on a poem about a young boy who fantasizes himself as Vincent Price. The film was shown at the Chicago Film Festival and released.
  7.  A 45 minutes TV movie ‘Hansel and Gretel’ was directed by Burton in 1983 and was broadcast on the Disney Channel, which commissioned it, once: Halloween night. The prints of the film are difficult to locate, fueling rumors that the project did not exist until it was put for public in 2009 at the Museum of Modern Art.
  8.  In 1984, he wrote and directed a short film ‘Frankenweenie,’ a story about a young boy who tries to revive his dog after it was run over by a car. Burton was fired from Disney for wasting their resources on film which they deemed too scary for family viewing.
  9.  He made his full-length directional debut with film ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ in 1985. The film was made on a budget of $8 million and grossed more than $40 million, received positive review and developed into a cult film.
  10.  His next big project was the fantasy comedy film of 1988 ‘Beetlejuice.’ The film was a commercial success, grossing $73.7 million from a budget of $15 million. It won Academy Award for Best Makeup and three Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film, Best Make-up, and Best Supporting Actress.
  11.  The fictional superhero adventure movie ‘Batman’ starring Michael Keaton in 1989, established Burton as a profitable director with film crossing over $250 million in U.S and $400 million world over. It was backed by the biggest marketing and merchandising campaign in film history then. It won Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
  12.  Burton faced problems with producers during production with respect to castings. Burton was in favor of Michael Keaton purely on his comic role experience, despite his average physique. The castings provoked enormous fan antagonism, to the extent that Warner Brothers’ share price slumped.
  13.  The success of Batman paved way for ‘Batman Returns’ in 1992. Though he was reluctant initially, Burton agreed after they gave him more creative control and this is first film to be made in Dolby Digital.
  14.  Based on his experience as a teenager and inspired by his drawing, Burton co-wrote and directed ‘Edward Scissorhands,’ in 1990. The neighborhood is based on his hometown of Burbank, California.
  15.  Burton cast Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, who cried like a baby when he first read the script. He lost 25 pounds for the role and refused any cooling agent in his all-leather costume, to nail the character.
  16.  In 1993, he produced and conceived the film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ an animated musical dark fantasy Halloween Christmas film. Though Henry Selick was the director, Burton had more of say for he often claimed he is the owner of the story as it was based on his idea.
  17.  In 1994, the produced and directed biographical comedy drama film ‘Ed Wood.’ Burton was drawn to the story because of the similarities of his own friendship with Vincent Price, late in the actor’s life. Though the film was well received and won two Academy Awards, but was a disappointment at the box-office.
  18.  His films has some director trademark like, affectionate homages to the films of his childhood, use of scarecrows in the movie, he always opens with a personal version of the studio’s logo and usually includes fantasy elements in his film.
  19.  Despite Burton’s willingness to direct ‘Barman Forever,’ the Warner Bros considered Burton’s odyssey with earlier Batman movies to be too dark and unsafe for children. To attract the young audience, it decided that Joel Schumacher to be the director and Burton would only produce it.
  20.  The science fiction movie ‘Mars Attacks’ in 1996 was produced and directed by him. He also co-wrote the screenplay, but asked not to receive credit. The film by coincidence made it a spoof of the blockbuster Independence Day, which was released few months earlier turned out to be box office bomb in the U.S.
  21.  In the new millennium, he came up with ‘Planet of the Apes,’ a loosely adapted from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel by the same name. It received mixed review for its confusing plot and ending, but was a financial success.
  22.  In 2003, he directed ‘Big Fish’ a fantasy comedy drama. The death of his father in October 2000 and his mother’s death in March 2002, affected him deeply and when the script of ‘Big Fish’ came along, which actually dealt with those same issue, it was amazing to do this film, he said.
  23.  Corpse Bride in 2005, was first original stop-motion animated movie Burton has directed or produced. He was able to use his familiar style and trademarks, such as the complex interaction between light and darkness.
  24.  After the dark fantasy adventure film ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in 2010, Burton once again teamed up Johnny Depp in the horror comedy film ‘Dark Shadows’ in 2012. This is Burton’s eighth movie with Depp, his seventh with Helena Bonham Carter, his fifth movie with Sir Christopher Lee, and his second movie with Michelle Pfeiffer.
  25.  The ‘Big Eyes’ was his second biographical drama film after Ed Wood, had Amy Adams and Christopher Waltz in the lead. The film received positive review, praising the performances of Adams and Waltz, who was nominated for a BAFTA Award and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
  26.  In October 2001, he began his relationship with actress Helena Bonham Carter, whom he met while filming Planet of the Apes. They live in adjoining houses with a hallway that connects the two homes. They have a son, Billy-Ray Burton and a girl, Nell Burton.
  27.  Earlier in 1991 he divorced his first wife Lena Gieseke, a German born artist with whom he spent four years and went on to live with model and actress Lisa Marie in 1992, which lasted until 2001.
  28.  He served as the President of the Jury for the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival, held from May 12 to 24, 2010, Cannes, France. On March 15, 2010, Burton received the insignia of Chevalier of Arts and Letters from then Minister of Culture Fredric Mitterrand.
  29.  In 2008 he was honored with the Scream Immortal Award, for his unique interpretation of horror and fantasy. On May 20, 2017, a Tim Burton themed bar Beetle House LA opened in Hollywood, California.
  30.  From November 2009 to April 2010, Burton had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York with over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, storyboards, and moving-image works.
  31.  Tim Burton Net Worth: $140 Million

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