Tim Burton: “I identify more with monsters than with John Wayne”

Creator of a unique universe populated by eccentric creatures and misfits, Tim Burton will visit Madrid the last week of September to open the exhibition Tim Burton: The Labyrinthan “immersive” experience created from more than 200 sketches of its characters, sets and costumes.

“Perhaps there are those who feel closer to John Wayne, but I identify more naturally with monsters, I have always felt that emotional and psychological connection,” the Californian filmmaker told Efe in an interview via videoconference from his home in London.

The exhibition, personally supervised by Burton, is presented as “a physical and sensory journey” through his work, from the 1980s to the present, which includes titles such as beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride either Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

QUESTION.- London these days is at the center of all eyes due to the death and the burning chapel of Queen Elizabeth II. How are you living it?

ANSWER.- I met her personally, I had the opportunity to meet her a couple of times and she seemed like an incredible woman. I’ve heard that there are 30-hour queues to fire her, it’s amazing, I see it a bit surreal, like a fairy tale that is happening in real life.

Q.- You are coming to Madrid to inaugurate an exhibition and the city council has proposed granting you the honorary title of ambassador of the city. What is his relationship with the capital of Spain?

A.- It is a city that I have visited several times over the years, mainly promotional trips for my films. I often travel around the world and Madrid is a city with which I feel a special connection, because of its energy and its artistic spirit.

Q.- The idea of ​​the exhibition Tim Burton, the labyrinthwhich opens on September 29, started from a Spanish company, Letsgo, what seduced you from its proposal?

A.- It’s not a classic retrospective, it’s something different that transports me to what I felt when I made those drawings and I didn’t know if they were going to end up being a movie, a cartoon or a sculpture. More than an exhibition to use, it is a kind of strange fair.

Q.- You started as a cartoonist at Disney, a strange place for a creator like you.

A.- Let’s just say that I didn’t fit in very well with Disney… I studied at the California Institute of the Arts, which was a school founded by Disney. I did the animation show, where they tried to teach you how to draw the Disney way. It was hard at first, but then I had the opportunity to be drawing for them freely, it was an incredible period.

Q.- What does creativity, artistic expression mean to you?

A.- When I started, drawing was something that nourished me and helped me psychologically… I think that everyone has the capacity to be creative, but society or our own minds stop us.

I remember, when I was starting out, feeling very frustrated because they told me that I had to draw in a certain way. That blocked me, I felt that I wasn’t capable of doing it, that it wasn’t good, until at one point I decided that I didn’t care, I liked drawing and I was going to do it my way, it was very liberating.

Q.- Do you remember the impact that the experience of seeing a movie for the first time had on you?

A.- For me the cinema was a place to see strange things that I felt were related to my own life. I liked fairy tales, monster movies, all the Universal ones, the horror ones, the Japanese monster movies.

Q.- You make the viewer love the monsters, not fear them.

A.- Monsters are usually perceived as something evil, but they are not, they are just different, they have a strange appearance that is scary, but usually they are not evil.

Q.- Why do you identify with them?

A.- It seems normal to me to feel different, perhaps there are those who feel closer to John Wayne but I identify more naturally with monsters, I have always felt that emotional and psychological connection.

Q.- You have been making films for several decades, how do you see the future of the industry?

A.- A couple of years ago I was very worried, it seemed that the platforms dominated everything, but now, after the pandemic, I think that people want to return to the cinema, that there has been a change and that things are going in more than one direction.

Q.- You just made your television debut directing the series for Netflix wednesday about the eponymous character of the Adams family. Because right now?

A.- I like the character, he questions me, I feel that I understand him, he is a character that conveys a strong, simple and clear type of mentality.

Magdalena Tsanis

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Tim Burton: “I identify more with monsters than with John Wayne”