“I’m sure I’ll work with Johnny Depp again”

When Tim Burton (Burbank, 1958) was a misfit kid in 1960s California alone he found refuge in the company of fictional monsters such as Frankenstein or The Black Lagoon Monster.

His connection with these terrible, grotesque and fascinating beings not only helped him feel better with the shocks of his daily life, but also ended up being an outlet for his creativity, which was expressed through drawing, painting and photography. . To the point that he himself eventually became the great demiurge of Hollywood in the matter of nightmares and gloomy and dark beings like Beetlejuice or Eduardo Scissorhands, protagonists of cult films for thousands of freaks scattered all over the planet.

For this reason, there could not be a better place to locate an exhibition on the director of Mars Attacks! (1996) that the Ibercaja Delicias Space, an esplanade located next to the Railway Museum with a powerful circus air, thanks to the two tents in which different shows are performed (one of them is a musical by Charlie and the Chocolate Factorya work by Roald Dahl that precisely Burton adapted to the cinema in 2005).

Located at the back of the space, we find the room that houses the exhibition, whose facade could not be anything other than a monster that seems to gobble up visitors. Burton appears through the door honoring the idea that one may have of him: boots, pants, jacket, sunglasses and cowboy hat, all black, and a radiant smile where his good humor crystallizes.

In the 20 minutes that he dedicates to the written press for the opening of the show, not even the references to his fetish actor Johnny Deep (about whom in principle he did not admit questions due to the controversy of his divorce with Amber Heard) or to the frustrated granting of the title of ambassador of Madrid (an initiative of Mayor Almeida stopped in the town hall by the rest of the parties and highly criticized by the chroniclers of the town for the filmmaker’s limited connection with the city) seem to change his countenance.

“I’m sure at some point I’ll work with Johnny Depp again,” he concedes with some parsimony at the insistence of those present. “Do you see the ambassador’s medal hanging on my jacket? They must have granted it to me while I was sleeping, ”she answers with a smile regarding the other controversy.

In Burton’s mind

Tim Burton. in the mazewhich opens to the public this September 29, part of 200 original sketches that have been provided by the creator for the occasion. These pieces are distributed in several rooms that evoke different films and themes from his work, sometimes revealing characters that had never been shown before. Each space, as if it were a blockbuster, is set with lights, video mapping, music, scenery and costumes from his films.

One of the exhibition halls

Thus, we visit the different worlds of Alice in Wonderland (2010) the gloomy and magical universes of Corpse Bride (2005) y Frankenweenie (2012); the gothic tenderness of Edward Scissorhands (1990), the dark comedy of Beetlejuice (1988) or the magic of Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) y Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The curious thing about the exhibition is that, as its name suggests, it is designed as a labyrinth. Each room offers us several doors through which to continue the tour, without knowing what we will find behind each one of them. In addition, it is possible that the itinerary that we follow does not lead us through all the spaces.

“The exhibition represents my mind very well, the chaotic way in which my head works, which I still don’t understand myself,” explains Burton. “You arrive, you open a door and you don’t know where you’re going to end up. It’s also like a movie production, because you don’t know what it’s going to be until it’s cut.”

This exhibition, created by the company Letsgo with the ambition of being immersive, is not the first one dedicated to Burton, since in 2009 it was the MoMA in New York that exhibited some 700 pieces from his collection, most of them drawings and paintings.

“Drawing has always been therapeutic for me,” he explains. “The monsters have helped me deal with my problems because their creation has a very beautiful emotional part. When I feel bad about something, I can connect with them. For example, Eduardo Scissorhands is a character based on how I felt as a teenager. Darkness and light, terror and tenderness or romanticism, are not mutually exclusive, they can coincide when creating a monster”.

Wednesday and social networks

Burton, who hasn’t released a movie since his 2019 adaptation of Dumbo, returns on November 23 with his first series, Wednesdaywhich puts the spotlight on the famous character of the adams family and that premieres Netflix. “Actually I feel like a film director and it has been strange for me to work on this project,” explains the director. “A few years ago I was worried because it seemed that Hollywood was willing to play everything on the card of the streaming. Now, however, I feel that the public is still interested in seeing movies in a large format, even after the pandemic. I have become more positive with this topic than I was before, I think they have their value and that they will always have their space.

[Tim Burton anima a Dumbo]

The streaming It is not the only change that a film industry has experienced in recent years, which is increasingly subject to the influence of social networks. “I don’t like them,” says Burton. “I almost never go into them because they scare me, and when I go in they don’t make me feel good. It’s something that worries me for my children and for the whole world, really. I think they affect the mind in a way that I don’t fully understand. In addition, now the public knows everything about a film before seeing it and this prevents us from seeing things that are refreshing to us. ANDstay happy not to have been born in this time, and to have been able to go see a movie and marvel without knowing anything about it”.

Tim Burton opens his exhibition at Espacio Ibercaja Delicias

Tim Burton opens his exhibition at Espacio Ibercaja Delicias

With the billboard full of superheroes, we sometimes forget that it was Burton who brought the genre into vogue in the 90s with his adaptation of Batman, whose Penguin is the star of one of the exhibition halls. “I remember arguing with the studio every day because my vision was too dark for them, and now it’s something that makes me laugh because it seems that no movie is dark enough, “explains the director. “Mine looks like a fairy tale compared to the ones being made now. It’s funny that during the filming I told Michael Keaton that in 40 years he would be dressed as Batman at the opening of a shopping center or at a child’s birthday party, and the reality is that he has just played Batman again in the new movie The Flash”.

With 19 films shot since 1985, Burton assures that he cannot choose any of them as his favorite since he forgets them at the time of the premiere. “The good ones and the bad ones, whether originals or adaptations, are created by me and are all different. They are like your children, perhaps some of them are uglier than the others but they are still your children”, says Burton amused. “They don’t want to know anything about the cinema. I guess it’s a natural response to rebel against parents.”

Although in the end it is unlikely that he will end up as Ambassador of Madrid, Tim Burton is grateful to have the opportunity to spend these days in the Spanish capital. “Coming to Madrid is exciting, it allows me to see things differently”, he assures. “The people here have a different energy and it’s something I can use as a creator. We artists have to keep an open mind, which is easier when you are a child than when you become an adult”.