There's something spooky about Tim Burton. Maybe it's his movies, which tend to feature rattling skeletons, dark humor, and macabre themes. Or maybe it's the fact that when you Google "Tim Burton life," stories come up about his obsession with Vincent Price and his very real fear of shellfish. And then there's the whole Disney chapter - he was an apprentice at the animation studio, but was fired after his work was deemed too dark and twisted for children. But Burton's biography is marked by success as well: during his decades in Hollywood, he's created blockbuster films and introduced audiences to enduring characters like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice.
Even with all of that mainstream success, Burton is still thought of as an oddball. For every award-winning film he releases, there are always a handful of weird facts about Tim Burton written in the review. Perhaps these bizarre Tim Burton facts are what make him such a skilled director.
He Made A Kung Fu Version Of Hansel And Gretel
In the early '80s, the Disney Channel tapped Burton to direct a new version of Hansel and Gretel. His Japanese-themed adaptation of the classic children's story featured stop-motion animation and a kung fu fight between Hansel, Gretel, and the witch.
Disney ran it just one time on Halloween in 1982, and it was never seen on the airwaves again. Many fans thought the TV special was just an urban legend, until it popped up at MoMA in a Burton retrospective.
He Threw A Halloween Party At The White House
President Obama asked Burton to help him throw a Halloween party at the White House in 2009. Burton designed the room to look like the fantastical tea party from Alice In Wonderland. He even convinced Johnny Depp to show up in costume and in character as the Mad Hatter.
Disney Fired Him Because His Work Was Too Disturbing
Burton made Frankenweenie not once, but twice. He originally completed it in 1984 as a short film for Disney, but it got him fired from the storied animation studio. Studio execs said he had wasted their money, and test screenings convinced marketers that kids would be frightened by the film.
Burton went on to become a huge Hollywood success after Disney dumped him, which allowed him to come back and make Frankenweenie the way he always wanted to.
He Didn't Actually Direct "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of Burton's most famous films, but he didn't direct it. He developed and produced the animated feature, but frequent collaborator Henry Selick was the man calling the shots behind the camera. Burton was in the middle of shooting and editing Batman Returns for Warner Bros. when work began on The Nightmare Before Christmas.