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tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  December 1, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight we explore the creations of filmmaker and artist tim burton, a retrospective of his a is now in exhibition at the museum of modern art here in new york. we begin with the three organizers who put his work into context, they are regendra roy, ron, and jenny. >> as ron was speaking about the entrance to the show, the idea that you walk through a creature's mouth, it's immediately putting people in the sense that they're working into another world. into the belly of some kind of creative carnival. >> i believe he belongs in... with a group of pop artist, with a generation of pop artists inspired by popular culture. mid-20th century on, newspaper comics, greeting cards, he collected newspaper comics and greeting cards.
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i thought of him as a guy dedicated to horror. >> i found myself distracted by all his art around us that we had no idea existed until that moment when we walked into the room. >> rose: and? >> and i remember thinking bonanza. this is going to be a revelation. >> rose: and then the artist himself. tim burton. >> most kids draw. i mean, the fascinating thing to me is by the time a lot of kids are ten years old, they say "i can't draw." and that me was always a very interesting signal about what sociy does to people. you know, like... and i fault that all the the time. i'm not a great draftsman. there are many great artists but i just always resisted and thought i'm just going to... at one point i said i can't draw this the way they want me to so i'm going to do it and it was a mind blowing experience. >> rose: tim burton for the hour
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next. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: tim burton is one of hollywood's most original filmmakers. his films mix the macabre with
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the tender and traumatic. he's known for frequent collaborations with johnny depp and composer danny elfman. together they have created a style that's instantly recognizable. tim burton has directed 14 features including several smash hits. here's a look at some of his work. >> betelgeuse! (screaming) >> betelgeuse! >> strike! >> then, by the authority invested in me, the ring, please. >> the ring! (screaming) aah!
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aah! (screaming) >> this is the last warning, drop your weapon. >> we'll have to open fire. don't make us do that, buddy, drop your weapon. >> looks like we got a psycho. >> he's going to fire. >> no! no! >> those aren't weapons those are his hands! >> please, we know him. thank you, mitch. it's my job. it is quita special occasion, of course. >> thank you, mitch. >> i believe they're going to treat us to a little song.
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it is quite a special occasion, of course. they haven't had a fresh audience in many moons. ♪ ♪ he take the face... >> the winner is todd. (applause) >> rose: his films have earned several billion dollars worldwide. in addition to directing, he's also an accomplished cartoonist, painter and sculptor, which brings me to a new exhibition at the museum of modern art in new york. it's devoted solely to his personal creations. the pieces were taken from
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hundreds of notebooks and scraps of paper. many have never been seen by the public. all in all, this is the largest gallery expigs organized by the museum's film department. before we talk to tim burton, here are the three organizers, rajendra roy is the chief curator, ron magliozzi is the assistant curator for film and general any she a curatorial assistant who worked extensively on this project and i'm pleased to have all of them here. how did this start? >> we're the team that did the pixar exhibition in 2005 and we were in the midst of that when we began to think about what we might do next. i happened to be in astoria at a screening of "charlie and the chocolate factory" in july of 2005 and there's a moment when wonka throws open the door to that pop art psychedelic world when it just occurred to me. i said outloud "tim burton, we should do tim burton." i brought it back to the museum and that's brought us here today. >> rose: so what do you do?
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everybody says wow? what a good idea? >> well, we first proposed it to the film department, then we we proposed it to the exhibitions committee and finally, of course we sought tim out and proposed it to tim. and i still remember that first meeting in london in tim's office. here tim was sitting at his desk in the middle of this huge room and he's surrounded, literally surrounded by canvases and works on paper and polaroid photographs and here tim is speaking to us talking about the museum and we're proposing this exhibition to him. and i found myself distracted by all his art around us that we had no idea existed until that moment when we walked into the room. >> rose: and? >> and i remember thinking bonanza. >> rose: (laughs) >> this is going to be a revelation. >> we have an idea. >> rose: >> there's a gat image of you
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guy in one room sorting through his archives and files and him in the other room working on "alice in wonderland" which is coming out next year. so kind of this amazing generosity that tim has had through the whole process. >> rose: so we now know we have a multitalented person who not only makes movies but he sketches and he's an artist and he's a sculptor. how do we decide what we want to do in this exhibition. >> when we came up with the idea we had... we new tim's films very well and we spent a lot of time watching them over and over again. our premise was that we would trace the current of tim's visual imagination to from childhood to his mature work. not at this point knowing there was so much work available to us. we started with the studios. with that in mind, having analyzed what his themes and motifs were, we went to disney, we tonight to warner brothers, we went to fox and began to choose props and costumes that seemed like they would be appropriate to the exhibition. that's how we started. when we finally got to tim's
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archive and started opening box after box it was like discovering some lost city, atlantis or something like that. >> rose: what's his genius as a filmmaker? >> i think it's... it's interesting how it comes through in the show. it's his ability to anticipate the direction that his kind of moments of genius will manifest for audiences. so as ron was speaking about the entrance to the show, the idea that you walk through a creature's mouth. it's immediately putting people in the sense that they're walking into another world, into the belly of some kind of creative carnival. and with his films, the zeitgeist has always been there. who would have known that there was any interest in that man in... in bath man, in comic book movies in 1989 when they relaunched that franchise. and i have very specific memories being 18 years old and
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going to see edward scissor hands and sitting there with my got friend hoping beyond hope that tim burton had made it through this movie making process without making a slasher film. we were surrounded, of course, by kids who thought they were coming to see the next friday 13 movie. by the end of the movie you had all these really tough kids weeping at the beauty of this story. so it's his ability to get under the people's skin with ideas that on paper must sound insane. >> rose: what's the response so far? >> it has been overwhelmingly positive. >> rose: because they recognize this is a unique kharker? >> well, i see them walking into the glery and they're mesmerized by the tim burton they didn't know existed before. we're allowed into tim's private world and being able to put all of his personal feelings on paper, on canvas and put it on the wall and let people look at it, you see that first connection that visitors have
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with hisork, just as audience members have with his films when you... when he directed "pee-wee's big adventure" and then, of course, "betelgeuse" and "edward scissor hands" and each film connects you to tim burton. >> rose: does he think he's exposing himself in a way he's never had before. that he's vulnerable and nope a way that he hasn't been before? >> i mean, i think that... again a moment of genius for tim, and i think specifically now that the show is open for criticism which, you know, is part of what happens when you have a retrospective at moma, he anticipated that. we didn't know what he was suggested. part of the miracle of the show is that when he looked at his material again for the first time in many years, he was inspired to create more work. there's seven brand new pieces. >> rose: what did you learn about his process of making art. >> i think tim is somebody who just creates. i don't think he has a process
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in which he thinks "i'm going to t from a to b, i'm going to story board everytng and i'm going to have all these steps. i think that he revisits his characters, he revisits these themes and motifs. he's still drawing jack skulling ton 16 years after "nightmare before christmas." he's still... well, i can go to one of the new pieces that he created for the show, the stain bodie rama which is this house his character's from the 1997 book "the melancholyly death of oyster boy and other stories." it's a scene of a crime and it's a pinwheel chaing color in the house at the base of a christmas tree. and i recently realized this exact scene occurs in "nightmare before christmas." and i'm sure for tim he's not consciously thinking "i'm going to put a pinwheel there because
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it was in nightmare before christmas." but tim's imagination and tim's creativity kind of doesn't really have a structure that i... thqtr he adheres to. >> rose: ron, does he remd you of anybody? any other artist? >> he reminds me of a lot of artists. i went into the.nto the show with the notion that he was a got, it was the gothic notion that many people have. and when i... we looked at all the work that existed, i then saw that he... i believe he belongs in... with a group of pop artists, with a generation of pop artists inspired by popular culture, mid-20th century on, newspaper comics, greeting cards. he collected newspaper comics and greeting cards. he studied humor. i originally thought that he... i thought of him as a guy dedicated to horror but he spent as much time studying humor as he did horror. there's a paper in the show called "humor in america" that
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he did when he was in high school which you see that he's llected pages from "mad" magazine, angelo torres who was a "mad" magazine cartoonist. >> rose: what impact and involvement did she in putting together the show? >> as much as one would hope but not more. i mean, that, again, was part of his generosity. every time we asked him for input with the design of the show, he was happy to offer it. but he also wanted this to be a moma show which i think visitors will find when they walk through the monster mouth into this new kind of arena that, wow, it is absolutely inside of tim's brain. it's still a moma show. so we had an in-house designer who worked on the show. basically any time we wanted input from him, do you feel this way, either he would defer to us and say "you guys know best" or he would come up with a new work that would help us understand what he was trying to do. >> rose: thank you very much.
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this is an extraordinary exhibition getting lots of attention. it opens... it has opened at the museum of modern art in new york and it runs through april. when we come back. tim burton. >> rose: before i continue our conversation with tim burton, here's a look at a program on monday night with wes anderson and his film "the fantastic mr. fox." some are saying this is a comeback for you. they look at the last two movies and they say "he's caught his wind again." do you have any sense of that? >> well, i definitely have a sense of... certainly you do these movies, you spend years-- i say you, one, i'll say spends many years making these movies and, you know, for me these are very... i've made personal films that are kind of my whole life when i'm making the movie and... but you just have no idea until the day
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it's... until the day people start reviewing ittor day it comes out in the theaters what the response is going to be. and i sort of feel the same way about all my movies, they're all... i cannot dissociate myself in any way. they're like my family members. >> rose: tell me about this. you were almost a pack rat but re not a guy who said "i'm going to carefully put this away because someday they're going to do a big collection of my art." >> rose: >> that's absolutely correct. there's somewhat of a misunderstanding that there's this image of me with my white gloves in the sixth grade putting it in a her hermetically sealed package which is absolutely not the case. this stuff was in drawers, in closets. i mean, in fact, if it weren't for the curators, ron and jenny, i just allowed them to go digging around... >> rose: they came to your house. >> yeah, they looked at everything, crawled under every
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rock, opened every closet. so... and that stuff i had never seen for years and years. i don't... it's like i don't do something and look at it. i just do it and it just sort of... just lays on a desk or sits in a drawer or whatever. so they really help reconnect me in a way. i got very excited about it. it kind of made me... it's nice to reconnect with where you come from and who you are. >> rose: you started this earlly. >> well, like every kid, you know? i think most kids draw. i mean, the fascinating thing to me is by the time a lot of kids are ten years old, they say "i can't draw." and that, to me, was always a very interesting signal about what society does to people. you know, like... >> rose: right, right. >> a i fought that all the time. because i'm not a great draftsman or illustrator. there are many, many great artists. but i just always resisted and thought i'm just going to... at one point i said "i'm just going
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to draw... i can't trau this the way they want me to so i'm going do it." and it was kind of a min blowing experience to me. >> rose: if someone said to you you are first and fore bhooes? a film maker? a what? >> well, i,gain, feel lucky. i mean, i feel lucky... when i got make movies, that was the biggest surprise in my life. i'd made super 8 films like every other kid and i liked movies and stuff. but i never thought at a young age, oh, i'm going to be a filmmaker e. or i'm going to be an artist. i think it was just more... my passion was just... i liked making things. that was the cool thing, whether it be a drawing or a movie or a little writing. there was something just about making things that was the most important thing to me. >> rose: is it different today than when you were a child? >> no. i mean, i just... i still love it. it's a very private process for me. that's the strange thing about the show. it's all stuff that was really never meant to be. it's kind of like, you know, i
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don't know, would you like to come see my dirty underwear and sock collection here? so it... very exposing. i feel quite exposed when i do a movie and this was even more. >> rose: when do you draw? >> i just... >> rose: do you doodle all the time? you have a pad there? >> i've got my little things. i mean, i don't have anything with me but i always carry a little something. >> rose: can i see that? may i? >> yeah, sure. there's not much in there. >> rose: well, i just want to show... you did this. this is what? tell me what this is. >> that's me in the opening of the moma show. >> rose: (laughs) >> that's you looking... >> my cry for help. >> rose: this is chroj squall, too. shall i continue? >> no, because there's nothing more... >> rose: what's this? >> that's just a pig. >> rose: so you don't know, you just did it. >> i just did it. >> rose: so it's as much about the doing of the drawing.
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>> well, a lot of the characters i would do, i remember a long time ago i would just be sitting here just drawing and i drew... i had a whole sketch pad of this character, you know? and then it just... >> rose: i like these. it was just in your pocket. >> well, because i don't have a... i don't use a blackberry, i don't use a computer, i hate the phone. >> rose: at all. at all. >> no. >> rose: what, you have somebody that walks around with you that has them all? (laughs) >> yeah. so i drew this... >> rose: let me see it, go ahead. >> i'd draw him and i'd have a whole thing of just like, what the hell is this? and then i start to kind of go, well, there's something about this character that means something to me. so it comes much more from the subconscious than it does sort of, like, you know... i get worried about my intellectual mind because i find that when i'm thinking a thought, a tend to play tricks on myself. >> rose: i'm going to keep this and frame it. you'll never see this again.
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>> (laughs) isn't that a beaut? >> rose: here's what i really like. look at this. tell me what this means. (laughs) it says 11:05, 11:35. >> and there's an exclamation point there. that's the scariest part. i kept this because i write down their phone numbers but i don't write down their name so i have this whole collection of phone numbers. >> rose: you put in the your computer and it will trace them. you got the number you can find out what it was. that's a god send to me. >> but i hate the phone, too. so i don't... >> rose: are you expressing anything here other than just contemporaneous impulses? >> well, like i said, to me the world is so fast and especially in the movie industry, you're always reacting, you know, to things. and the time that's spent just sort of spacing out or sleeping or dreaming or just looking, you know, to me that's the most valuable time there is because that's where you do... for me,
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the real work. that's where things sort of, you know, mutated or bubble up or ideas come to you or,ou know, meanings of things. again, that's why i've always laked fairy tales or folk tales. you go oh, they're not real, they're fantasy. but as we know, all great fairy tales, fantasy, are based in reality. so that, to me, is very, very important, those moments of just... you know, that sort of space. >> ros and when do they come? >> well, that's the thing. you never know. and that's beautiful t beautiful ing. i mean, that's why that whole thing about, you know, recently having kids, it's that beautiful thing of seeing the world new. and it's, i think, as an artist you always want to try to see things in, you know, a new way. and you never want to lose that. that's what i remember seeing a matisse retrospective at moma many years ago and it just blew
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me away. i just saw that journey of somebody finding... going back... you know, spending their life going back to try to find that simplicity, purity. >> rose: you know what i was thinking as you were saying this is to whether if you are going to be a great artist somehow you have to revert to the same child like wonder about how things are. >> yeah, and you know... >> rose: you take yourself back to a blank canvas. >> and i think people... it has a negative connotation. some people say "he wants to remain a child" which is kind of infantile, that's not the case. it's the thing of maintaining that spirit of seeing things are... you know, and being surprised by life. n an amazing way. it's, like, people in lose that, they're really losing part of their life, really. >> rose: can you express things here that you can't express in film or does film always give you more tools so therefore it's easier? >> well, it's a bigger place. and the other thing that i liked about the moma show, the way they presented it, is that it kind of just shows the process. and film is a collaborative
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medium, so therefore, you know, the part of the joy is working with great artists and other designers and actors. that's what feeds you. and that, to me, is what's so... that's the thing i enjoy the most. >> rose: this exhibition at moma has a collection of films that you've identified... (laughs) >> again, you found this list. i don't know what closet that pulled that one out. >> rose: you have made no bones about the fact that vincent price has always been your hero. when youet him, it was a moment. >> well, yeah, that was the first... i mean, that was the moment that really... no matter how bad things get, a momently never forget, which is, you know meeting somebody that you grow up admiring. you don't know what you're going to come across when you meet them. so it's a bit scary. as i always say, be careful meeting your idols because... but he was just such a wonderful brilliant, and... you know, i sent him this little story i did vincent, and he responded
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immediately saying "i'll narrate it, i love it." and he was a great art collector. >> rose: huge. >> and what i really admired about him is he did it without a lot of show. he gave this amazing collection to like this east l.a. college that would never in a million years get something like that. and really it was an amazing gift of art and stf. so he was a really... it made me realize there are great people. it's not all... there's some great people and that really inspire you and keep inspiring you. >> is there a distinction that can be made between people who are really creative and artistic and not rather than the differences in how creativity is expressd? >> well, i don't know if this answers your question. i've always been fascinated. again, i go back to the children's drawings where everybody draws, i feel... i've been in a couple classrooms recently. you look at kids' drawings at a certain age, they're all
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brilliant. >> rose: they are. >> and then it gets up to a certain thing and you see a shift in it. i'm fascinated by this question of does everybody have it and then does it somehow get beaten out of the people? and i do... it's an interesting question. >> rose: because if you look at a bunch of kids, they all seem to have it. >> everybody's got it, in my opinion. >> rose: just the way they look and how they're pulling at each other, the wonderful ways they react to each other and to the environment. >> absolutely. then you talk to certain kids and a lot of them will say "i can't draw." and that just is... it just doesn't seem right to me. >> rose: cut out "can't" from the vocabulary. but you said you considered yourself strange. >> well, i didn't. >> rose: or you thought other people did. (laughs) better, better. >> and by the time, after many years of that, then it starts to be, like, well, okay, i guess i am. >> rose: but how did it work out? you had any sense of it that
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people thought you were strange when you were a kidand so therefore you develop a certain way? >> well, i don't know. i always felt like a normal kid, you know? i liked monster movies, other kids like monster movies. i played in the local cemetery. but that was because it was, like, a park. i mean, it was not like i was obsessed by anything. but, you know, you get this... society has a way of putting people in categories which i've always just... i can't... that just gets my blood going. i've always resisted it. i don't like it. i don't think it's fair. it's a dismissal of people, by putting them into these boxes and categories, it's kind of like, well, they're trying to diminish you in a certain way. so after years i just kind of accepted it and actually it weirdly gave me a freedom. and since i was weird, then it didn't matter how i dressed or... if i said something or screamed or hang upside down if
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from a closet or sat under my desk at disney or... >> rose: (laughs) all things you did, probably. >> all things i did, yes. i spend half the time... >> rose: there was an install recall about those things. >> i spent more time under my desk than at my desk, i think. >> rose: doing what? >> hiding. >> rose: (laughs) >> because i was... well, that was in my bad animation days of not being able to draw cute foxes. so, yeah. >> rose: so when you didn't produce the cute foxes you went into hiding? >> i went into hiding. and, you know, those days at disney were kind of dark days. i mean, you know, we spent more time figuring out how not to work and doctor our time cards with the animation peg stuff or hiding under the desk and i actually learned to sleep... i was at my desk and i would be asleep with the pencil and when somebody wouldome in i could just wake up and then start doing it and then go back to sleep. >> rose: (laughs) >> so i learned... that was one of my... i learned how to sleep
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sitting up. >> rose: why am i not surprised by any of this? (laughs) >> i'm surprised they didn't fire me sooner. >> rose: let me take a look at some of the things that are in this exhibition before we get too far. number one, these are images, crus litter. tell me about this. >> well, that was... i won a $10 check from the city of burbank. that was my first... >> rose: first thing you mold? >> well, that was the first thing i kind of did, yeah. on garbage trucks in the city of burbank. >> rose: that's amazing. you were 15 15-? >> yeah, 14, 15, whatever. >> rose: and how did it get the hands of people who will r going to use it? a context? >> it was a contest, yeah. >> rose: all right. so the next one is untitled. take a look at this: 1982. the next is untitled. all these were at your house or your office or where are they? >> they were in drawers and like i said i wasn't as organized as i thought. and honestly when they pulled
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some of this stuff out i was kind of surprised. bu yes, it's just... >> rose: the next one is untitled, dinosaur, 1985. >> that was from "pee-wee's big adventure." that was an image from a dream." >> rose: you like color. is red your color? >> well, we did something in the movie with a... we shot it where the giant dinosaurs are and we lit them up and there was a dream sequence that we had kind of a big red dinosaur. >> rose: (laughs) >> all right. the next is the joker, 1989. here he is, jack. >> well, this is before anything you know... >> rose: this is before anything? >> well, this is before i started doing the movie or anything. i was just kind of playing around it. like i said, the drawings for me it's just... it helps because my mind goes all over the place. it just helps focus me. and it actually helps me focus my thinking a bit more. >> rose: do the drawing. now, today, if you're planning a
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new movie, do you think first in terms of drawings? >> no, i mean, it depends. movies can come different ways. i mean, if something comes to me some type of project, say disney or something comes to me, "alice in wonderland" or something else there's a definite... that's something that's a known thing. so that comes slightly differently. then there's thing like "scissor hands" or "nightmare before christmas" those things from nowhere in a way from me that are more drawing initiated by drawings. >> rose: speaking of "scissor hands" look at this. >> yeah, that was early. there were lots of different... in, you know, versions of him. >> rose: did johnny depp show up for this or something? somebody told me he might have been around for your exsfwhigs that's whey heard. >> it was nice. i saw a lot of people, friends, that i hadn't seen. a lot of people from disney and johnny and helen. >> rose: someone told me that... to ask you this.
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are you edward scissor hands? >> (laughs) well... well, luckily i picked johnny. i can't... you know, nobody's going to accuse us of looking alike, you know what i mean? but, you know, it was a very autobiographical in the sense that that came from a very... you know, this teenage years for me were quite trau mat nick the sense that, you know, i... by that point the moniker of being weird was so stuck on me that people, i think, were freaked out by me. and so i didn't seem to have many friends. i didn't have many girlfriends or things at that time. and i was a very lonely, i felt very lonely and i just felt like there was something wrong, i felt like i had all this emotion but i couldn't touch anybody. and i was also the kind of person that, you know, had trouble with physical contact and so if somebody were to hug me, i just... i would... i had this like flinch mentality sort of thing. so the character, it was a representation of all those
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feelings i had as a teenager and as a... unfortunately well into my 20s that same feeling. and, so, yeah, that was probably the most autobiographical of any purely. >> rose: is this in part the way you were raised and your parents? >> i think so. that sort of late '50s early '60s sort of nuclear family suburban... you know, it's like the hermetically sealed world. and there was not a lot of showing of emotions and a lot of showing of... you know, not attacked... that's why ilways had italian friends because i was amazed by the tactile... >> rose: i love it. i love it. >> have you overcome this flinching? >> well, it depends on who's hugging me. >> rose: (laughs) well, yeah. >> but i've gotten better and i've gotten better at... i was completely non-verbal as well so i mean, that's... making movies has definitely helped me to try to communicate better.
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>> rose: you were non-verbal? >> very non-verbal. i mean, i mean... i remember people... i can still see david geffen looking at me going... and he was the first person to say "what the hell are you talking about? you speak in..." he actually said it correctly. i would speak in every fifth word. i would kind of say a word and then i'd skip the next three or four words and go to the... and it was a weird... i mean, that's when... that's when i was getting better. ". >> rose: like "i, brooklyn... better..." >> that makes more sense. >> rose: there's a linear quality to that at least. (laughs) >> i get that one. so making movies has definitely helped me kind of come out of michelle. but, yeah. >> rose: well, thank god for then that, then. i mean, coming out of your shell makes it more fun or not? >> well, i feel... it's nice to communicate. it's nice to finally be able to,
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like, hug people and, you know feel goods about it. >> rose: but all of this stuns me because you've been on this show with me before. you are a perfect guest. a perfect guest. >> come on. >> rose: i'm serious! you don't get better than you are because you can take every question and massage it and give it... lift it up and turn it around and give it color and flip it upside down. >> rose: but the problem is, what you don't real size halfway through my answer i forget what i'm talking about. >> rose: (laughs) >> and i'm like, okay, i hope i'm remembering. >> rose: well. all right. take a look at this. this is a page from your notebook which is undated. my god. >> see, that was... >> rose: that's the one i should have stolen. >> that's...... that's... yeah. that looks like something that was too much free time on their hands, i think. but, hey, that's what we... that's what i love. >> rose: you think a guy would have free time with that?
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god, read this to me. >> there's phone numbers on there. >> rose: this is ronald reagan. >> well, just sort of... i was thinking about him one day and just... i don't know. just... well, i just... i was always fascinated by him saying that he didn't dye his hair and he's like 90 years old and he didn't dye his hair. he's the president, he's lying. if he's talking about his hair, what else is he lying about? this doesn't seem right. >> rose: the next one is untitled clown series 1993. >> well, we all have that good healthy fear of clowns. >> rose: you have a fair of clowns? >> well, i'm yet to mean the person who finds clowns funny. >> rose: that right? >> yeah. >> rose: because it's just simple stuff? >> i don't know. they're always terrified. >> rose: when you go to a circus don't you see kids laughing all the time? >> i don't! maybe it's because i'm so freaked out i don't see anything. >> rose: are they scary because... what? >> i don't... i think it's just because there's something about
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the mask and the facade. that's why i've always loved doing that in movies with characters and masks. >> rose: like the joker. >> and i remember jack nicholson he was talking and he said... it was really fascinating. and true. it's like when you do put on some kind of mask, things come out that you wouldn't do if you were just you. >> rose: it's a liberating thing. >> yeah, and it's fun to watch that. i love seeing that with people. they really go places that they wouldn't go. changing their thing. you know, but clowns have that and i just found... there's something very disturbing about them and i don't know. i might have been traumatized because i remember having a dirt by a party with chucko the clown. >> rose: (laughs) >> maybe something blocked out of my... >> rose: chucko the clown tried to hug you and that was it. (laughs) >> maybe, or look at me or
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whatever and i think that was it. >> rose: no more clowns for you. blue girl with wine. >> you know, i've always... the stitching thing was always symbolic for me in terms of, again, a feeling of... just sort of... you know, the kind of discome bob lated part... this is just the way i feel, the kind of chaotic sort of... you feel kind of sectioned off. you feel kind of conflicted or you feel like you're stitched togeth just to kind of keep yourself together. it could fall apart at any moment. >> rose: all right, the next one is untitled sketch of a pedestrian. >> i used to go to malls all the time. >> rose: yes, i know. (laughs) >> it was great because i... since i didn't have any girlfriends or anything i just go sit at malls and draw people. >> rose: didn't that attract attention? >> no, no. not really. >> rose: nobody came over and... >> i was very quiet about it. i was pretty discreet about it. >> rose: but you were an
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observer? >> i was an observer, yeah. >> rose: i love to go to stores. just watch shoppers.ñr >> i love... one of my favorite things is people watching. >> rose: me, too. me, too. absolutely. >> you learn more about everything. >> rose: and you fall in love with every face because there's something beautiful about every frigging one of them. >> absolutely. and that's the way you want to keep seeing things. absolutely. >> rose: mickey mouse stretched out of proportion. >> well, that's my days at disney. >> rose: (laughs) well, there you go. you were taking it out on mick, weren't you? >> a lot of frustration back then. >> rose: there is an alien from "mars attacks!" 1996. >> like i said, these things are just... >> rose: (laughs) what? >> they kind of help me... >> rose: stay sane? is that what it is? >> well, like i said, it's because i fly all over the place it just keeps me... i feel like i'm filled with helium sometimes and i just can float away. >> rose: the next one is alien
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from mars then "corpse bride." yeah, that was a project, early sketches of that. >> rose: this is a big book, isn't it? >> yeah, yeah. and it's also good exercise. >> rose: oh, this is great. have you ever thought... suppose you had not found film making as an art as well and just stayed with this, you know where this would all have gone or would it have been the same place it is? >> like i said, i felt lucky to never, like, have this one goal in mind and this be it. when i got to do "pee-wee's big adventure," the first movie i ever did, it was the biggest surprise of my life and i loved that. >> rose: did you know you were good at it then? >> i know i really enjoyed doing it. i think the first time i ever clicked on to that maybe this could be a way for me was because i was such a bad student i... you know, there was a book report due and i didn't read the book and so i just made a little
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super 8 film about houdini. and i got the best grade i ever got and it was like, ooh, okay. >> rose: what does this say? >> well, what it says to me is i was looking for anything to do besides getting a real job, you know? i really... i felt like, ooh, this is... you know, i loved doing it. it was exciting because you get to use everything. when you make a film, you get to... there's a bit of drawing involved, there's a bit of... you know, composition, there's people. you know, it's creating somethg. so you get everything with doing a film, this is the best. >> rose: it says to me we need to find different ways to meure talent, creativity, intelligence and everything else. >> well, i agree. >> rose: and not pigeon hole them because they didn't do well on some test. >> well, firm school there was this who classroom that was devoted to what they call special... the special kids. and what t fact is i think it did them more harm than good.
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they were great. they were no different from really... >> rose: then they began to think something else was expected of them. >> and then they start to believe there's something wrong with them, too. and so it can have a self-fulfilling things which... you know, it's... yeah, there are some problems, people do have problems, it's good to recognize them. good to sort of recognize those things, but just also, like you say, see people... let people be who they are, too. >> rose: and how do you do that with your children? >> well, like, i'm not forcing my movies on them. >> rose: (laughs) >> i don't think he... his friends go, oh, i watched this and that. he doesn't even know what they're talking about. >> rose: etle juice? what was beetle juice, dad? >> i got very excited when he gets good healthy interest in dinosaurs and things. so, you know, i kind of quietly clocked that stuff. that's great, good, he's on the right track. but i don't... i don't try.
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you know, i think any parent you try to do maybe what... you certainly remember what you... your relationship with your own parents and what you did or didn't get so often times if you didn't get something, you try to compensate, you you know? and be a bit more tactile. hug them, tell them that you love them occasionally. things that are simple but that... >> rose: that happens with every generation, almost. you try to compensate for what you didn't have as a child in terms of the way your parents didn't treat you. >> you remember. it kind of scars you in a way. not because they're bad but just circumstances that happen. and so, you know, it's very much in your mind when you have children. >> rose: this has been said about you about movies that they've been somehow therapeutic and cathartic for you but it seems like everything you do is that way for you. this whole question of your relationship to art has been about that. >> you know... yes, it is. and i think that because...
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whatever makes me up as a personality, it's been very positive, you know? i... i haven't committed any crimes, i'm... you know, i'm the type of person that it feels like i'm glad i have this as a release. it is a catharsis and it is a release and it probably kept me out of jail or other places. >> rose: where do you factor in commercial success? >> well, i mean, you know, it helps you to get other movies made you know? that's really it. i mean, i've alys... i always felt quite lucky. i felt like the first films i made, they made enough money to get the next one made kind of a thing and i also felt quite grounded because, you know, it was a good mixture of pretty most bad reviews, a couple of good ones. so i didn't get egotistical about... because i knew a lot of people that do films, our first film, it's like academy award
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winning going reviews and you go oh, boy, you're in for some real troue, man, on your next one. >> rose: (laughs) exactly. >> because it ain't gonna go... >> rose: right, i know. >> it's nice. i always felt quite grounded about the reality. and, you know, i treat it seriously. if a studio is giving you money, you try to be responsible. >> rose: you're okay with studios, aren't you? or... >> well, look, you... yes. there's a lot of great people, there's a lot of supportive people at studios. i'm not a fan of bureaucracy. but at the same time, it's the same dynamic that follows my whole life. and it happened at disney when they let me draw in a room for a year. it's like, oh, we love you but we're afraid of you. we think you're great but something's wrong with you. >> rose: (laughs) >> and that continues. i can have a very successful movie but even the next one it's like "hmm." i remember... in fact, i remember after batman, it was a successful movie i wanted to do "edward scissor hands."
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i thought i want to be... i deserve a little... it was not a big budget movie, it was a low budget movie but i had real trouble. in fact, i had a deal at warner brothers at the time and i remember... i knew that they wouldn't want to do ""edward scissorhands." we just did "batman." it was great, but i knew they didn't want to do it. so i had this other project and i go "which project do you want? do you want know do hollywood on parade or edward scissorstands in" >> oh. >> rose: (laughs) >> so i got take hollywood on parade and do it. >> rose: where did you take it? >> 20th century fox. >> rose: because you knew they were receptive to it. >> what i ended up doing with that was we developed the script... that was the one time where iust paid the writer, myself, and just to write the script and do a little budget
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and then went to the studio and said "this is the movie, this is the script, this is the budget, yes or no." which is always the best way. the quickest way to get a real answer. >> rose: what happens to the "hollywood on parade"? (laughs) >> it never made it. they didn't want to do that, either, but it's more than like whatever. >> rose: but they did want to do "batman" again. >> yeah, they wanted know do that. that took a while... >> rose: it took a while why? >> but they didn't want me to do a third one. i'll never forget this. i think i pissed off mcdonald's. you can't have a happy meal with a... what's the black stuff coming out of the penguin's mouth. that doesn't fit with our happy meal scenario." so the third one... i remember going in... i actually thought i was going in and i go "i've got some ideas." and they go... the head of the studio goes "well, tim, you don't want to do another one of these, do you? wouldn't you like to do another one of your kind of little...".
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>> rose: (laughs) one of your little nice films. >> you don't want know do another one, do you? oh, no, no. it was over. >> rose: did they ever acknowledge it? >> i knew y. i pissed off the fast food people. >> rose: yeah, but they made money. >> the fast food them? >> rose: no, the movie. it's an interesting acting idea even though different scripts, same character. the joker. on the one hand, nicholson, on the other hand, heath ledger. >> yes. well, the great thing about those kind of characters is it's so... you know, i mean, when i did the first "batman," that was... it was great because comics $'d only been a few. there'd been "superman." but this was the first time we'd been able to take a comic and put some of the psychology, a bit of the darkness that were in those original come i can. and so it felt quite new at the
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time. it was great. it was really exciting and, you know, it sort of feels like it's kind of become the norm in terms of dark comics and things. but... >> rose: but how much of those performances are actor-created? how much are sort of inspired by how you saw the character? either jack or heath? >> well, i mean, jack... but, again, i think they both got probably in their different ways you get into that mask you know? and it just lets out... and that's the great thing. each actor is different that way. >> rose: and you created the mask? the idea of the mask was yours? >> well, that's what that character is. >> rose: right, right. >> it's a clown, it is a mask, and so therefore, yeah. and, you know... but i like doing that. that's the same thing with michael keaton, you know? him as "beetlejuice" he put that makeup on and he became that character. and it just... he wouldn't have
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become that character exactly if he didn't have that getup, you know? and so that is really... and also in "pee-wee's big adventure." that's when i started to learn when you see people take on different personas, is just... you know, it's really interesting. >> rose: there a common link among these knew please? is there any common denominator? >> well, just that i worked on them. (laughs) i got some problems and that's about... >> rose: (laughs) there you go. there you go. i mean, it's just the director finding his release. one film after another. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: that's about what it is. >> you never know what you're going to... theme atally, that's why i don't like to plan too far in advance. you like to have an emotional rounding. you know, i couldn't have done "big fish" until... you know, i wouldn't... i couldn't have done it before my father died, you know in it was only a film
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that... because the feetings were all so strong. i could have only have done that after his death. so the things you never... you have the right timing. >> rose: is there anything inside of you that's longing to jump out that's a film? >> geez, i hope not. one of those things from "alien." >> rose: no, not that. >> (laughs) that's the thing. i like to be as spontaneous as i can. you know, the film is not really a spontaneous medium but i like that do as much as i can. because the closer you can do something to when you are really feeling it, the better off the project's gointo end up, i think. >> rose: but when somebody makes something like "chicago" or "" which i haven't seen. would you say "gee, i'd love to do that. the because it's different. or "dream girls." >> rose: >> i feel i've been very lucky. those kinds of things change. you're... you have those
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deep-rooted things but, you know there's... i guess... no, maybe i'm wrong. i always wanted to do ice capades show. (laughs) >> rose: beauty pageant. >> i could go for that. >> rose: (laughs) you could go for that. what director has informed you the most in terms of... who's had influence on you? was it five or ten or 20 or... all of them? >> it's many, many, many. i always kind of go... the one that always comes to my mind because i remember it's one of the first films is the animated ray harryhouseen. the man who did "jason and the argonauts." i think him... he just wasn't flight theren terms of... you know, in terms of the art and the animation and the design and the emotion in those characters. so i think that kind of really hit me strongly.
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but, you know, i mean, you know, lots of people. you know, roger corman, vincent price movies. >> rose: i think somewhere i saw roger corman is getting some big award, some achievement award in hollywood. >> he's a great guy, too. he's so amazing. i was always a bit sad that he didn't keep directing, in a way, but... because some of those are pretty good, you know? >> rose: jack did a bunch of those, didn't he? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. he did the raven and i think he was in "the terror." yeah. he's in a bunch of those. >> rose: how is johnny depp unique? >> well, he'd like... you know, the reason i love him, he's like... 's not like a leading man, he's more like boris karloff. he's like a mortar rohr movie actor you know? he's kind of ghoot... and he... he, again, he's the prime example of somebody who really loves becoming other things, you know? and that's exciting. he loves putting on the mask and
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the weird clothes and doing it. and, you know, they all find something that they wouldn't find otherwise. so that's exciting to see that happen. there's no vanity that way. often times, you know, the worst thing on the set is like having to do a... they think they don't look good or they think... for whatever reason and that just... if you kind... it kind of takes away from doing the movie. >> rose: and johnny doesn't have that problem. >> no. >> rose: all right, tim burton, the art of tim burton which is this book, this very heavy book here. the exhibition opens on november 22 and the museum of modern art. and what are you going to do with poor alice? (laughs) >> well, wre put here in 3d. >> rose: are we really. >> yeah. >> rose: have you seen cameron >> no. i've got my own. >> rose: but they're telling me that 3d now is... it's different. >> you know, it's no... it's not aimmick anymore. >> rose: exactly. >> it doesn't give you that splitting headache that it used to, you know? there was that thing where, you
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know, it's quite unpleasant to watch in a way. so it's a much more... i actually... for me, alice in 3d was a good mix of material and medium. it felt right to me for that particular property to do in the 3d. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: pleasure. tim burton at moma november 22. museum of modern art here in new york running through april 2010. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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