Tim Burton Quotes

1. I have a problem when people say something's real or not real, or normal or abnormal. The meaning of those words for me is very personal and subjective. I've always been confused and never had a clearcut understanding of the meaning of those kinds of words.

2. One person's craziness is another person's reality.

3. Movies are like an expensive form of therapy for me.

4. People told me I couldn't kill Nicholson, so I cast him in two roles and killed him off twice.

5. Anybody who knows me knows I would never read a comic book.

6. You don't know whether chimps are going to kill you or kiss you. They're very open on some levels and much more evil in a certain way.

7. I always liked strange characters.

8. I am not a dark person and I don't consider myself dark.

9. I never really got nightmares from movies. In fact, I recall my father saying when I was three years old that I would be scared, but I never was.

10. I wouldn't know a good script if it bit me in the face.

11. I don't know what it was, maybe the movie theaters in my immediate surrounding neighborhood in Burbank, but I never saw what would be considered A movies.

12. I've always been misrepresented. You know, I could dress in a clown costume and laugh with the happy people but they'd still say I'm a dark personality.

13. It's good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new, weird way.

14. If I had a choice about going to a meeting at a studio or changing a nappy, I'd choose the nappy.

15. Jack Nicholson is a textbook actor who's very intuitive. He is absolutely brilliant at going as far as you can go, always pushing to the edge, but still making it seem real.

16. There's something quite exciting when you have a history with somebody and you see them do new and different things.

17. When I was growing up, Dr. Seuss was really my favorite. There was something about the lyrical nature and the simplicity of his work that really hit me.

18. I've always been more comfortable making my decisions from the subconscious level, or more emotionally, because I find it is more truthful to me, Intellectually, I don't think like that because I get uncomfortable. I'm more wary of my intellectual mind, of becoming delusional if I think of it too much.

19. We all know interspecies romance is weird.

20. It wouldn't be so bad, you know?…It's pretty snazzy.

21. People might say "oh it's too dark and scary" for children but you could say that about "Nightmare before Christmas" also. People say their dog even liked watching: "Nightmare Before Christmas". So this is for animals, children, whoever.

22. It's two thirds cheaper than other animated films. As animated films go this is low budget.

23. It seemed right for this particular type of (stop-motion) animation. It's like casting; you want to marry the medium with the material.

24. (on Johnny Depp) Each time I've worked with Johnny, he's something different. He's interested in being a character and not necessarily interested in his persona, and I find it very exciting to work with actors like that. He's really willing to take risks that don't have to do with image or money. And each time is just different and better. It's great to find people like that you can communicate with on an almost subconscious level.

25. It's funny, because "Nightmare" wasn't a real success when it came out…

26. I happened to be listening to David Bowie's "Heroes"…That, and a colleague in Austria was teaching heroism to Americans - how we spend lots of time discussing heroism.

27. There's just something visceral about moving a puppet frame by frame. There's a magical quality about it. Maybe you can get smoother animation with computers, but there's a dimension and emotional quality to this kind of animation that fits these characters and this story.

28. There's a roughness and a surprising nature to most B movies that you don't get in classic films - something more immediate. I never chose those movies to leave impressions in my brain, they just did.

29. Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?

30. When you don't have many friends and you don't have a social life you're kind of left looking at things, not doing things. There's a weird freedom in not having people treat you like you're part of society or where you have to fulfill social relationships.

31. Certain things leave you in your life and certain things stay with you. And that's why we're all interested in movies - those ones that make you feel, you still think about. Because it gave you such an emotional response, it's actually part of your emotional make-up, in a way.

32. Half the fun is plan to plan.

33. I was never interested in what everybody else was interested in. I was very interiorized. I always felt kind of sad.

34. (commenting on the demolition of the Landmark casino in Las Vegas for the film "Mars Attacks!") It was like watching something die.

35. I had never really done something that was more of a horror film, and it's funny, because those are the kind of movies that I like probably more than any other genre. The script had images in it that I liked.

36. I remember when I was younger, I had these two windows in my room, nice windows that looked out onto the lawn, and for some reason my parents walled them up and gave me this little slit window that I had to climb up on a desk to see out of. To this day I never asked them why; I should ask them.

37. I think the atmosphere that I grew up in, yes, there was a subtext of normalcy. I don't even know what the word means, but it's stuck in my brain. It's weird. I don't know if it's specifically American, or American in the time I grew up, but there's a very strong sense of categorization and conformity. I remember being forced to go to Sunday school for a number of years, even though my parents were not religious. No one was really religious; it was just the framework. There was no passion for it. No passion for anything. Just a quiet, kind of floaty, kind of semi-oppressive, blank palette that you're living in.

38. (the approach you have to take in movies) You always have to feel like it's gonna be the greatest, even if it's a…you know…piece of crap.

39. (Talking about the Batman characters) These are some of the wildest characters in comics and yet, they seem the most real to me.

40. (About working with Jack Nicholson on "Batman") By the time Jack walks onto the set, he feels very clear and strong about the character. So when you're shooting it's great, because that's when you toy around with the levels of how broad to go.

41. I'll always remember this image of being in line to see "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth", and all the younger kids were like: "Dinosaurs are so cool!" and all the older kids were like: "Oh, man, I hear there's this really hot babe in this movie!"

42. (on WB's lame suggestions for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") They thought the Charlie character should be more proactive and that Wonka should be more of a father figure, and I'm sitting there thinking: "Willy Wonka is NOT a father figure! If that's your idea of a father figure, yikes. Willy Wonka's a weirdo." 

43. (on the stress of delivering a summer movie in an era when release dates are often set by studios before a script is finished) It's like you're a runner and they beat the shit out of you and break your legs right before you're supposed to race, and then they say: "Now go win the race."

44. (on cult director Edward D. Wood Jr.) Nobody had his style. That's something I try to do in my films. You have your own kind of cryptic messages in there - cryptic things that most people wouldn't understand but are important to you. Things that kind of keep you going through the process.

45. (on style) I remember, I was at Cal Arts and I wasn't a good life-drawer; I struggled with that realistic style of drawing. And one day I was sitting in Farmer's Market sketching, and it was this weird, mind-blowing experience. I said: "Goddamit, I don't care if I can't draw, I'm just gonna draw how I feel about it." All of a sudden I had my own personal breakthrough, and then I could draw, and satisfied myself. I've had very few experiences like that, and I'll never forget it.

46. In Hollywood, they think drawn animation doesn't work anymore, computers are the way. They forget that the reason computers are the way is that Pixar makes good movies. So everybody tries to copy Pixar. They're relying too much on the technology and not enough on the artists. The fact that Disney closed down its cel animation division is frightening to me. Someday soon, somebody will come along and do a drawn-animated film, and it'll be beautiful and connect with people, and they'll all go: "Oh, we've got to do that!" It's ridiculous.

47. (Becoming a movie director) There was one moment, and it happened in school. I had a big final exam - we were supposed to write a 20-page report on this book about Houdini (Harry Houdini). I probably would have loved reading it, but I didn't, so I just decided to make a little super-8 movie based on it. I tied myself to the railroad tracks and all that. I mean, this is kid stuff, but it impressed the teacher, and I got an A. And that was maybe my first turning point, when I said: "Yeah, I wouldn't mind being a filmmaker."

48. It is unfortunate that Disney closed down its drawn-animation unit. I find it quite upsetting, because they made a few drawn movies that weren't successful and they went: "Well, that is dead, so we have to go to computers." They forget that the reason that they have been successful is because Pixar (whose films Disney distributes) makes good movies. Success is the real reason people try to copy things in Hollywood. Someday someone will do a beautiful cell- animation film that connects with people and then someone will say: "We have to go and do that again." The number-one priority should be that the story and the medium are compatible.

49. I grew up watching things like "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" on Saturday afternoon television. There's a guy with his arm ripped off and blood smeared all over the wall. I never saw it as negative. I find that stuff, when it's not rooted in reality, to be cathartic.

50. I've always loved the idea of fairy tales, but somehow I never managed to completely connect with them. What interests me is taking those classic images and themes and trying to contemporize them a bit. I believe folk tales and fairy tales have some sort of psychological foundation that makes that possible.

51. (on "Batman Begins") I saw a tape of it. It was very touching. Very good.

52. If you've ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be happy or successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you.

53. All these kinds of stories, whether it be "The Wizard of Oz" or "Alice in Wonderland", are an internal journey. I think that's a fairly universal concept. These characters represent things inside the human psyche. I think that's what every child does. You try to work out problems as you go along. Same thing as an adult. Some people get therapy, some people get to make movies.

54. (on living in England) I love the weather more than in California. I am serious! You know, you can go for a walk in any kind of weather. In Los Angeles you immediately arouse suspicion when you're out without a car.

55. (on Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in "Batman Returns") 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. It was just the best. Really, I'll never forget her in that…I just have all these memories of her - letting a live bird fly out of her mouth and learning to use the whip and jumping around rooftop sets in high heels. The work and just the performance were very, very impressive.

What do you think of Tim Burton's quotes?

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