Lauren, David, Jess and I split Burton’s life up to do more specific research before we started making our slides. I’m focusing on his life and work in the 1990’s
-Mars Attacks! (producer)
-1996 James and the Giant Peach (producer)
-1995 Batman Forever (producer)
-1994 A Visit with Vincent (Video documentary) (executive producer)
-1994 Ed Wood (producer)
-1994 Cabin Boy (producer)
-1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas (producer)
-1993 Family Dog (TV Series) (executive producer – 10 episodes)
-1992 Batman Returns (producer)
-1989-1991 Beetlejuice (TV Series) (executive producer – 94 episodes)
– Not So Peaceful Pines (1991) … (executive producer)
– Journey to the Centre of the Neitherworld (1991) … (executive producer)
– Catmandu Got Your Tongue (1991) … (executive producer)
– King BJ (1991) … (executive producer)
– Relatively Pesty (1991) … (executive producer)
– 1990 Edward Scissorhands (producer)
Q. That can be deeply disheartening at that age, to learn that you’re bad at something.
A. It’s the same with drawing. If you look at children’s drawings, they’re all great. And then at a certain point, even when they’re about 7 or 8 or 9, they go, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can. I went through that same thing, even when I started to go to CalArts, and a couple of teachers said: “Don’t worry about it. If you like to draw, just draw.” And that just liberated me. My mother wasn’t an artist, but she made these weird owls out of pine cones, or cat needlepoint things. There’s an outlet for everyone, you know?
Q. When you worked with Johnny Depp for the first time, on “Edward Scissorhands,” what was it that connected you to him?
A. Here was a guy who was perceived as this thing — this Tiger Beat teen idol. But just meeting him, I could tell, without knowing the guy, he wasn’t that as a person. Very simply, he fit the profile of the character. We were in Florida in 90-degree heat, and he couldn’t use his hands, and he was wearing a leather outfit and covered head to toe with makeup. I was impressed by his strength and stamina. I remember Jack Nicholson showed me this book about mask acting and how it unleashes something else in a person. I’ve always been impressed by anybody that was willing to do that. Because a lot of actors don’t want to cover [theatrical voice] “the instrument.”
Q. Having a life with Helena Bonham Carter, do you have to be more careful about how you use her in your films?
A. The great thing about her is that, long before I met her, she had a full career. She’s also willing to do things that aren’t necessarily glamorous or attractive [Laughs], and I admire her for that. We’ve learned how to leave things at home, make it more of a sanctuary. But I probably take a slight, extra moment to think about it. On “Sweeney Todd” it was quite rough. Nobody was a singer, so I looked at lots of people. Everybody had to audition for it; she did as well. That one was a struggle, because I felt like, jeez, there’s a lot of great singers, and it’s going to look like I gave this one to my girlfriend. She really went through an extra process.