When Tim Burton saw AI recreations of Disney characters in his trademark style, he was outraged.
“I can’t describe the feeling it gives you,” the Emmy and Golden Globe winner told The Independent. “It reminded me of when other cultures say, ‘Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul.’”
“What it does is it sucks something from you,” the 65-year-old director continued. “It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul.”
Burton has been shooting Beetlejuice 2, the sequel to his classic 1988 horror fantasy movie, however, the film is on pause due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The long-awaited project features original stars Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder, as well as Willem Dafoe and Monica Bellucci. Burton is also coproducing with a team including Brad Pitt.
Burton was just two days away from completing the film when the strike was announced, and is anxious to finish as soon as the actor’s strike ends.
“I feel grateful we got what we got. Literally, it was a day and a half,” he said. “We know what we have to do. It is 99 percent done.”
Burton added that he enjoys creating his films, but not promoting them: “I am really not that good at talking or speaking or trying to sell something, so to speak. Looking back, it’s a very, very strange journey that I can’t quite explain.
Burton said a big budget project like Beetlejuice 2 leaves him exhausted, physically and mentally. He often vows not to do more expensive projects, but his love of the creative process keeps him coming back for more.
“That’s why it is hard for me to watch the movies afterward, because I still feel the emotional whatever of it. I don’t get a release from that. But I do enjoy all the people I’ve worked with,” he said.
“On this last one, Beetlejuice 2, I really enjoyed it. I tried to strip everything and go back to the basics of working with good people and actors and puppets. It was kind of like going back to why I liked making movies.”
Beetlejuice 2 is scheduled to open on September 6, 2024. As Burton waits for the strike to end so he can finish the film, now he is promoting an art exhibition of his work that is launching at the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, Italy next month. The World of Tim Burton will be on view from October 11 to April 7, 2024.