Le freak, c’est chic: a massive (and massively successful) retrospective peeks behind the curtain at the methods and madness of filmmaker Tim Burton
Last year, New York’s Museum of Modern Art dug into Tim Burton’s archives—illustrations, storyboards, puppets, costumes—to mount a 700-piece homage to the filmmaker’s career. More than 800,000 visitors dropped by the MoMa during the exhibit’s five-month run, making Burton third only to Picasso and Matisse as the museum’s most bankable star. Now in town, the blockbuster show is running in tandem with a look back at Burton’s movies: 16 double bills pair the goth pin-up boy’s works with films that inspired him (The Nightmare Before Christmas with Nosferatu, Batman Returns with Repulsion). All hail the dark arts.
Nov. 26 to April 17, TIFF Bell Lightbox
(Romeo and Juliet), 1981–1984
Burton worked feverishly in his early 20s, though many of his ideas never became films. Here, a look at his unproduced surf-and-turf answer to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.
(Black Cauldron), 1983
An assignment for Disney, where he begrudgingly worked as an animator and concept artist for four years. It was a mutually awkward pairing—the Mouse House rejected many of his ideas, including this one.
A building block for 1984’s Frankenstein-inspired short, starring an early champion of Burton’s, Shelley Duvall. Frankenweenie’s odd sweetness landed him Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which led to Beetlejuice.
(Mars Attacks), 1995
An early sketch of the “ack! ack! ack!”-ing aliens in the Burton bomb that drew inspiration from the 1960s Mars Attacks trading cards, War of the Worlds and the cheeseball oeuvre of his B-movie god, Ed Wood.
(Edward Scissorhands), 1990
A Gorey-esque sketch of Burton’s most popular character, later immortalized by his muse, Johnny Depp, who once said, “Tim rescued me: a loser, an outcast, just another piece of expendable Hollywood meat.”
• Further reading: Tim Burton talks about Toronto, museums and his retrospective »