A Minute With: Tim Burton about his new "Frankenweenie" film

Wed Oct 3, 2012 9:07am EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Filmmaker Tim Burton returns to his stop-motion animated roots this Friday with "Frankenweenie," a black-and-white 3D movie about a boy who uses science to bring his beloved dog back to life.

This film is from Walt Disney Co, which fired him more than 20 years ago for his first, short version of "Frankenweenie." Burton, 54, spoke to Reuters about wish fulfillment and why the story is so personal for him.

Q: "Frankenweenie" takes its roots from a relationship you had with your dog as a young boy. Tell us about the dog.

A: "I had this strong connection with a mutt we had named Pepe, and it was a good connection. Like your first love. It was very powerful. The dog was not meant to live very long because of a disease he had, but he ended up living quite a long time. So you have this strong connection, and then you think: 'Well, how long is this going to last?' You don't really understand those concepts of death at the time."

Q: "Frankenweenie" was a live-action short film that you directed for Disney in 1984. What made you decide to do this feature-length film as stop-motion animation?

A: "It feels like the right medium for this. I always enjoyed the structure of movies like 'Frankenstein' and then later on 'House of Frankenstein,' where they incorporated other monsters ... I tried to be very clear not to just pad out the short. So I took the heart and sprit of what 'Frankenweenie' (the short) was, took the Frankenstein story, and went in to the other Frankenstein structures where the other kids - or monsters - come in to play."

Q: Why "Frankenstein?"

A: "I knew about death from watching 'Frankenstein' and 'Dracula.' Though you don't really understand it, you get it. And that's the whole purpose of those stories - to kind of prepare you for the abstract things that you don't really know."   Continued...

Director and producer Tim Burton (3rd L) poses with cast members (from L-R) Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Atticus Shaffer, Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara at the premiere of "Frankenweenie" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California September 24, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on October 5. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni