Burton Sleeping With Johnny Again?

April 20, 2010 at 12:45 am (Tim Burton Themes) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I would do anything Tim wanted me to. You know – have sex with an aardvark… I would do it.

Johnny Depp

Depp has signed on yet another film with Burton called Dark Shadows.  If you are a Tim Burton fan you certainly must be a Johnny Depp fan because he’s in almost every Burton film as of late.  Though he is not the only actor that has been used again and again.  Wikipedia created a chart of how many times each actor has been in his films and Helena Bonham Carter is gathering up points as well.


I am not sure of why Burton reuses actors but I will give him, Depp and Bonham Carter credit for creating new characters for each film.  When Depp first came on the scene it was as Edward Scissorhands, a softspoken man with scissors for hands, then forward through time a bit to the fainthearted Icabod Crane who curiosity in Sleepy Hallow almost gets him beheaded, then to Sweeney Todd, the hard hearted man who will stop at nothing to cut the throat of the man who ruined his life, to our most recent the Mad Hatter who is obviously different in appearance with red hair, green eyes and gapped teeth, and of course, well mad.  Each character provides a new voice, accent, tone, posture, NEW CHARACTER.

Both men are brilliant but let us not forget Miss. Bonham Carter, the women with say in Burton’s world.  Not only in appearance starting out with Burton in a full ape costume in Planet of the Apes but presence as well.  Gentle and welcoming mother in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory to the demanding and frightening Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.  There is no stopping this women, she was an ape, then a big headed queen, she will transform herself into her character.

I assume it is easy for Burton to work with the same actors because they are comfortable with each other and know how they work, know what to expect and know that it will be brilliant.


  1. Fletcher said,

    I think it is a little lame that Burton uses the same actors again and again. He is a very talented director, but I wish that he would branch out instead of just pleasing his followers over and over again. Break out of your own box and do something new Burton!

  2. kholoodeid said,

    That’s so weird, we were just having this conversation in my Advanced Reporting class today about how often Johnny Depp is used in Tim Burton’s films. I then pointed out that not only does he use Helena Bonham Carter in quite a few of his films, but that she is one of those actors that I see play the same roles (or similar roles) over and over again. Her role of choice is the goth freak. I’m wondering if she can play anything else…?

    • Manuela B. said,

      I have to disagree with the title goth freak, though i know youre using it loosely K. Shes playing the role first off, that the director/her husband lover whatever/friend wants her to ,and probably wrote just for her. Burton isnt the first director to use his friends and lovers in his films, it just adds to his Auteur identity and way of filmmaking.Also, his style is heavily influenced by German Expressionism which explains his love of black and white, the starkness of these contrasts and his own little touches like his use of spirals, and colors add to it. the films he does are on the darker side, and i think they are amazing. Too many people nowadays have only connected his films but each one is totally different. I also hate that you can buy merchandise from them at places like Hottopic to annoying 13 year old kids who think they are cool and being “goth” by wearing a nightmare before christmas shirt or something…thats just annoying.

  3. Erik A. Williams said,

    I would love to rant about Tim’s constant use of the same people but I’m actually ok with it. The problem I have is that Johnny is a such a freaking amazing actor that I wish to goodness gracious he wouldn’t take on projects like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as it makes him look like a dweeb. I mean Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was fine just the way it was for one. The new version also used CGI wayyyy too much (nothing new for Hollywood there) and what the crap is up with all the Oompa Loompa’s looking exactly alike? L-A-M-E! Anyway I say keep doing your thing Tim, Johnny, and Helena. You guys rock…mostly.

  4. Samantha W. said,

    I think that the Burton/Depp pairing is awesome. From Edward Scirrorhands, Sleepy Hallow, and Sweeny Todd…all three of those movies were original and spectacular in their own way. I haven’t seen the recent Alice and Wonderland, but I have heard only good things about its production. I’m looking forward to more movies from them.

  5. J.Clark said,

    Burton takes flack for constantly using Johnny Depp in his movies, but he could do a lot worse. At least Depp has the acting chops to pull off some extremely off-the-wall characters. And while those characters may have been dreamed up by Burton, Depp leaves his mark on each, and I am pretty sure that said characters would be much different, even lame, without Depp’s creativity.

  6. Jessica Braun said,

    If the acting is done well why doest it matter? I mean Burton hired him for a reason. People need to get off his back.

  7. Sarah said,

    I think this relates to your earlier quote by Burton about movies being his therapy. There’s a reason that he does these movies and a reason the same actors and actresses are interested in doing it. They all share a passion for the topics and I think it’s important to have these people involved because the movies will be that much greater and affect people that much more. And as you say, they do become new characters in each movie and are fully believable. I have never once felt removed from the movie because I saw Johnny Depp do another one. If Burton worked with actors he was not familiar with and didn’t have such a strong connection and relationship with, the movies would suffer and he wouldn’t get the therapy from creating them.

  8. Manuela B. said,

    I agree with you; I am really excited for Dark Shadows. Ive seen the show (DVDs of course, as it is from the late 60s) and it should be interesting to see what they do with it. They both were fans of the show and Ithink its appropriate that Johnny play Barnabas who is a badass 200 year old vampire..Johnny as a vamp, its about TIME. I think Burton uses the same people because they are all close friends (in Helena’s case his lover too, similar to Woody Allen using Mia Farrow in his films when they were together) I think using friends and lovers can act as a muse to the creator, not only will it just be more fun working with each other, but you have such familiarity with each other’s style either in directing or acting, and can play off of each other really nicely. People that groan and go “oh and another movie with the same people” dont understand that this is part of his Auteur identity as a director; along with his style of course.

    Hope this helps MK my dear!


  9. Katie said,


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