Aug. 13, 2012 | 1:18 p.m.
Tim Burton has watched plenty of world-class actors while directing 15 feature films, but he sensed there was “something really special happening” when Michelle Pfeiffer played the practically purr-fect Catwoman in “Batman Returns,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. “I don’t really go back and look at the movies but her performance in that was one of my favorite performances of anything by anyone in any movie that I’ve worked on,” Burton said recently. “It was just the best. Really, I’ll never forget her in that.” “Batman Returns, ” released in June 1992, is one of the seven films in the Warner Bros. Home Video collection “The Tim Burton Blu-ray Collection,” which arrives on store shelves Sept. 11 (but is already on sale at Amazon.com through a special exclusive arrangement). The film is also a timely one to revisit with […]
Aug. 09, 2012 | 3:12 p.m.
Two months ago, Seth Grahame-Smith looked like he would be the breakout star of a crowded summer movie season. The “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” novelist-turned-Hollywood screenwriter had two films set for release within weeks of each other: Tim Burton’s soap opera send-up “Dark Shadows” and an adaptation of his own bestseller, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The first starred Johnny Depp as an aristocratic vampire who must navigate the strange social mores of 1970s Maine; the latter cast newcomer Benjamin Walker as an ax-wielding incarnation of the 16th president who, out to avenge his mother’s murder, hunts down the monsters secretly advancing the practice of slavery. Both flopped. Suddenly, the 36-year-old — whom the Wall Street Journal had proclaimed “one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young players” — didn’t seem quite so whiz-bang successful. “I’ve thought a lot about this summer […]
Aug. 08, 2012 | 11:42 a.m.
After traveling 352 million miles, NASA‘s Curiosity rover is rolling into history amid the rust-colored ridges of Mars. But pop culture and the arts have been mapping an imaginary landscape on the Red Planet for centuries. So move over, rover, and let fiction take over — flip through the photo and image gallery above to revisit a planet that invades our dreams more than any other. – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED ‘Twilight Zone’: Step through a doorway… Mars as muse: The planet’s sci-fi history The Sci-Fi 50: TV’s greatest characters ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton’s Martian history Moebius: The Hero Complex interview Ridley Scott: Magic comes over the horizon ‘John Carter’ set visit: Martian dreams in Utah Jonathan Frakes light years past ‘Farpoint’ ‘Star Trek’: Benedict Cumberbatch lights up RARE PHOTO: When Spock met Hendrix
July 12, 2012 | 7:06 p.m.
Tim Burton confessed to a Hall H crowd at Comic-Con on Thursday afternoon that a little of his own life experience helped animate his upcoming 3D feature “Frankenweenie” — a full-length resurrection of a live-action short film he made in 1984 about a young boy named Victor who brings back his beloved dog from beyond the grave. Namely, it was school experiences — interactions with fellow students and “weird” teachers — during his boyhood days in Burbank that helped flesh out the sweetly creepy tale. Not that the filmmaker provided much in the way of detail about specific points of inspiration. “There are still lawsuits pending,” Burton quipped to Chris Hardwick of the Nerdist fame, who served as moderator for Disney’s Hall H panel presentation. The filmmaker brought a new trailer and two scenes from the movie for the Hall […]
June 11, 2012 | 5:01 p.m.
Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” won’t be in theaters until a few weeks before Halloween, but fans eager for an early look at the stop-motion animated film can get a sneak preview in San Diego in July or Anaheim in September as Disney gets set to launch a touring exhibition of original sketches drawn by Burton, as well as extensive props, sets and puppets. The black-and-white, 3-D film centers on a boy named Victor and his live-then-dead-then-live-again dog Sparky. About 200 puppets were crafted for the film — including 16 Sparkys (eight dead, eight alive), 14 Victors and some oddball creations called E (short for Edgar) and Weird Girl, both of which are voiced by longtime Burton collaborator Catherine O’Hara. Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder are among the other actors on the […]
May 10, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
With “Dark Shadows,” the tandem of director Tim Burton and producer Richard D. Zanuck has delivered its sixth movie, this one starring Johnny Depp as a confused and heartsick vampire who spends two centuries trapped underground before emerging with two urgent instincts: Drink blood. Find family. Both those impulses stay with the fanged Barnabas Collins for the remainder of the Warner Bros. film, which arrives in theaters Friday, as he dedicates himself to restoring the fortunes of his cursed bloodline. It’s not the first time that the legacies of fractured families and a yearning for reconnection pulsed at the heart of a Burton-Zanuck film. In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” for instance, the film’s emotional payoff arrives with the doorstep reunion of candy-maker Willy Wonka (again, Depp, deep in the pale) and his estranged father (Christopher Lee). It’s a scene […]
May 06, 2012 | 8:43 a.m.
Johnny Depp makes transformations for a living — he’s played a poet, pirate, cop, crook, lizard, killer, candymaker, astronaut and even (shudder) an accountant — but, surprisingly, he had never portrayed a vampire until ”Dark Shadows,” opening May 11, in which he stars as the aristocratic Barnabas Collins. The movie actually adds a second unprecedented role to Depp’s career list: Now he can say he’s been the producer of a Tim Burton film. Depp had produced just two previous films, “Hugo” and “The Rum Diary,” both released last year, but expect to see more; in 2010 his production company, Infinitum Nihil, solidified and extended its existing deal with Oscar-winning producer Graham King (“The Departed,” “The Aviator”) and an adaptation of Image Comics’ “The Vault” is among the projects in the pipeline. Years ago, Depp snapped up the rights to the old television show “Dark Shadows” and that led to Depp and King […]
April 19, 2012 | 4:23 p.m.
Johnny Depp said the world has lost “a true original” with the passing of Jonathan Frid, the darkly debonair Canadian actor who played vampire Barnabas Collins in the melodramatic and macabre soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Depp grew up as an ardent fan of “Dark Shadows” and that passion led to the film version remake, which reaches theaters May 11 with Depp as a key producer and also starring in the role made famous by Frid. Director Tim Burton also brought Frid and other original series cast members in for cameos in the movie, giving Depp a chance to share the screen with an idol of his youth. So as news spread Thursday that Frid had died late last week — on Friday the 13th, no less – Depp was balancing the bittersweet subplots of a life that could last 87 long years but […]
April 16, 2012 | 12:30 p.m.
The sun was just about to set over Lake Pontchartrain on a humid Louisiana day last May when Abraham Lincoln was summoned into action in a grassy field to wrestle to the hard, unforgiving ground the murderous nemesis who took the life of his mother years earlier. Lincoln bellowed with sorrow and rage, pinning an enemy beneath his considerable weight. This was not the weathered president struggling to bear up under the agonizing grief of a bloody and brutal Civil War. This was a young man primed for a fight to the death. Funny thing, though — no one in the assembled crowd of onlookers seemed to bat an eye that Honest Abe was facing off against a vampire. Such is the straight-faced approach to the somewhat ridiculous-sounding “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Fox’s 3-D adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel due […]
March 23, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.
Reporting from London — There’s a night and day difference between the soundstages of Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” and his previous movie, “Alice in Wonderland,” and, no surprise, this is a filmmaker far more comfortable in the darkness. The digital ambitions of “Wonderland” required numbing weeks of work in a green-screen chamber, and by the end of it Burton was desperate to get back to his roots — building a cinematic house and then haunting it with his unique brand of cemetery cabaret. For “Dark Shadows,” an eccentric vampire romance starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green, he’s staged a minor one-man rebellion against CG imagery; the story has some digital effects, but where the script called for a Maine fishing town’s waterfront, circa 1972, Burton persuaded Warner Bros. and the film’s producers to build it on the back […]