30 Frighteningly Fun Facts About Your Favorite Tim Burton Films

Updated on August 1, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

Tim Burton is a mega-successful filmmaker and artist, known for his eccentric and Gothic horror and fantasy films. With major movies like Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands, Burton is famous for providing fans with the Halloween spirit 365 days a year. Let's take a look at some frighteningly fun facts about his films.

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1. In Beetlejuice (1988) Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray were all considered for the role of Betelgeuse before Michael Keaton was cast. Tim Burton originally wanted Sammy Davis Jr. in the title role, but studio executives did not like that idea at all.

2. Jack Nicholson loved his performance so much as the Joker in Batman (1989) that at one point, he was watching the film once a week at his house.

3. Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit in Batman. He said that his claustrophobia helped him get in the proper mood to play the character. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn."

4. Winona Ryder dropped out of The Godfather: Part III (1990) in order to star as Kim in Edward Scissorhands (1990). Johnny Depp reportedly convinced her to do the film, and they began dating during production.

5. For her role as Catwoman in Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer went through sixty catsuits during the six month shoot, at a cost of $1,000 apiece.

6. Johnny Depp's wardrobe and prosthetic makeup took one hour and 45 minutes to apply in Edward Scissorhands.

Michael Keaton as the titular character in Beetlejuice.
Michael Keaton as the titular character in Beetlejuice. | Source
Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman.
Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman. | Source
Johnny Depp & Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands.
Johnny Depp & Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands. | Source

7. Though Michael Keaton portrayed the title character in Beetlejuice, he only appears on-screen for 17.5 minutes of the film.

8. Tim Burton said that The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) was inspired after seeing Halloween merchandise in a store being taken down and replaced by a Christmas display. The juxtaposition of ghouls and goblins mixed with Santa and reindeer sparked his imagination.

9. Mark Wahlberg joined Planet of the Apes (2001) after meeting with Tim Burton for only five minutes. He was so anxious to work with the director that he agreed to play any part, and dropped out as Linus in Ocean's Eleven (2001) to do the film.

10. Nestlé provided 1,850 bars of real chocolate for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

11. Johnny Depp adopted Goldeneye, the horse that played Gunpowder (Ichabod Crane's horse) in Sleepy Hollow (1999), when he heard it was going to be put down.

12. When asked if he would ever direct a sequel to Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton replied, "I'd rather jump out a window."

The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. | Source
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13. In Big Fish (2003), Ewan McGregor was cast as Young Ed Bloom when producers noticed the striking similarity between him and pictures of a young Albert Finney, who plays Senior Ed Bloom.

14. Deep Roy played every Oompa Loompa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, repeating the same movements several hundred times. While these were put together digitally, every Oompa Loompa represents a separate performance by Roy. In recognition of this, his salary was raised to $1 million.

15. Corpse Bride (2005) had a fifty-five week shoot, during which 109,440 individually animated frames had to be set up and filmed.

16. For her role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Helena Bonham Carter rehearsed her songs while practicing baking techniques, in order to perfect the quick, syncopated rhythm of the music.

17. In Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Red Queen and White Queen's palaces were designed to resemble Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World.

18. The puppets in Corpse Bride were 25 to 28 centimeters (9.8 to 11 inches tall,) and some of the stages were so large that animators could actually fit through the set doors, with minimal crouching.

Deep Roy as an Oompa Loompa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Deep Roy as an Oompa Loompa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. | Source
Corpse Bride.
Corpse Bride. | Source
Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. | Source

19. Tim Burton insisted that Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street be bloody, as he felt stage versions of the play, which cutback on the bloodshed, robbed it of its power. For him, "Everything is so internal with Sweeney, that the blood is like his emotional release. It's more about catharsis than it is a literal thing."

20. Johnny Depp said in an interview that he considers Sweeney Todd to be a long lost relative to Edward Scissorhands.

21. In Frankenweenie (2012), the pet cemetery features the grave of Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

22. Mia Wasikowska beat out both Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan for the role of Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton said that it was her gravity that won her the role.

23. To prepare for his role as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows (2012), Johnny Depp undertook a weight-loss regime and a diet of green tea and low-sugar fruit, getting his weight down to one hundred forty pounds.

24. For her role in Big Eyes (2014), Amy Adams consulted with the real-life Margaret Keane, who was in her late 80s at the time. According to Adams, Keane was overwhelmed by the notion that anybody would want to make a film about her life.

Mia Wasikowska as Alice in Alice in Wonderland.
Mia Wasikowska as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. | Source
Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows.
Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows. | Source

25. In Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016), scenes in the present, outside loop have a blue tint to them. Scenes inside the loop are in full color. This is similar to The Wizard of Oz (1939), where scenes in Kansas are monochrome, but scenes in Oz are in color.

26. It took a group of around 100 people three years to complete The Nightmare Before Christmas. For one second of film, up to 12 stop-motion moves had to be made.

27. The studio originally wanted to call Beetlejuice "House Ghosts." As a joke, Tim Burton suggested the name "Scared Sheetless" and was horrified when the studio actually considered using it.

28. The idea for Edward Scissorhands was inspired by a drawing Tim Burton had done when he was a teenager. The drawing depicted a thin, solemn man with long, sharp blades for fingers. Burton stated that he often had a hard time retaining friendships and was often alone. "I get the feeling people just got the urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don't know exactly why."

29. Tim Burton regularly casts the same actors in his film projects. Johnny Depp has been in nine of his films, ex-partner Helena Bonham Carter in seven and Christopher Lee in six.

30. Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas is Tim Burton's favorite character. Skellington has made cameos in many of Burton's other films, including James and the Giant Peach, Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow and Beetlejuice.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. | Source
Beetlejuice.
Beetlejuice. | Source
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton.
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson

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      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 months ago

        Almost as good an idea as watching one film a day to keep the reviews coming!

      • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel M Johnson 

        2 months ago

        That sounds like a pretty good idea!

      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 months ago

        I might have me a Tim Burton marathon someday!

      • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel M Johnson 

        2 months ago

        I’m really glad you enjoyed the list! I think everyone can relate in some way to his experience, which is why I think he inspires so many.

      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 months ago

        Great list! I enjoyed your information very much. I can relate a lot to Tim Burton growing up. Never maintained friendships and I felt alone most of the time.

      • N.E. Wright profile image

        N E Wright 

        2 months ago from Dover, Delaware

        Wow, I did not know most of what you have written. I enjoyed learning the information you included. Thanks for sharing.

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