Tim Burton on Johnny Depp, Love of Monsters at the Lumière Festival
Lines outside the historic Théâtre des Célestins in Lyon stretched hundreds of meters as fans, many dressed in costumes reminiscent of his famous gothic characters, queued to see Lumière award winner Tim Burton gave a master class at the Lumière Film Festival.
The filmmaker didn’t disappoint as the session ran over an extended period of time and Burton answered additional questions from the enthralled audience.
When asked about the films that inspired his unique imagery, Burton explained, “There was something very European about a lot of the films I saw growing up. It harks back to that fantasy fable, fairy tale and strong graphic imagery,” he explained.
German Impressionism in particular has left its mark: “It has always reminded me of the inside of your mind, it is very personal and very inward. Something about the nature of German Impressionism and the powerful imagery that tapped into my mind, my dreams, my vision of things. Something about black and white too – it’s both exciting and calming, it has a weird effect on me,” he said, adding, “Even some of those Universal horror movies used German expressionism, so it came in many forms.”
Burton, who is known to have watched monster movies before he could even walk or speak, explained how he identified with them: “I never thought of the monsters as bad, they were always beautiful, visual things that were different were. I felt different about myself – like a lot of people – and reacted to monsters.
“The word itself means something scary, but I’ve never seen it like that… Frankenstein or the creature from Black Lake: They’re not bad, just different, so I felt a strong connection to them – both psychologically and visually.”
Burton’s unique cinematic world found its perfect complement in actor Johnny Depp when the two first worked together on 1990’s Edward Scissorhands. The couple is known to have made eight films together.
“I bonded with him when I met him for Edward Scissorhands: he was like me, sort of white suburban junk. It wasn’t even a verbal understanding,” he continued, “it was something I could feel. He liked the characters, he was interested in the art of acting, not the business. It was exciting to see someone play different things, I was always excited by the idea of that transformation from film to film,” Burton said.
While firmly denying all rumors of a sequel to his 1988 hit “Beetlejuice,” Burton said he would be making films for a while longer, to the delight of his fans. “Definitely as an artist you should always try to see things differently, try to keep growing and creating. It’s an important part of life. Nothing I’ve done is perfect, but creating keeps you alive and it’s something you want to keep doing no matter your age,” he said.
Tim Burton is honored with the Lumière Award for lifetime achievement, following in the footsteps of the likes of Jane Campion, the Dardenne brothers, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Jane Fonda, Wong Kar-wai, Catherine Deneuve, Pedro Almodóvar, Ken Loach, Gerard Depardieu and Milos Forman.
The Lumière Film Festival runs until October 23.
https://variety.com/2022/film/festivals/tim-burton-lumiere-award-lumiere-festival-1235411101/ Tim Burton on Johnny Depp, Love of Monsters at the Lumière Festival