This week marks the release of acclaimed director Tim Burton's retelling of the beloved Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory about eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) and Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), a good-hearted boy from a poor family who lives in the shadow of Wonka's extraordinary factory.
MovieWeb got a chance to attend the press junket recently held in the Bahamas where Johnny Depp is currently filming the upcoming Pirates sequels. Taking time out of their busy schedules, (Tim Burton is currently finishing up post production on his stop-motion follow-up to The Nightmare Before Christmas, aptly entitled Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, which Johnny Depp also stars) both director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp sat down for some interviews with the press.
Tim, So like many of your films, this film and its main character has father issues.
Tim Burton: Yeah, I got some problems; you might have seen me enough to realize that by now, haven't you?
Well from what I remember you were always saying Burbank is idyllic, and even though they boarded you up in a room... But what's going on with that? Why did this happen?
Tim Burton: I guess they just didn't want me to escape. I don't know. But you know, those kinds of things in your life...movies you try to work out your issues, then you realize those kinds of traumatic issues just stay with you forever and they just keep reoccurring, and no matter how hard I try to get them out of my head, they just sort of stay there.
Why are you working with Johnny again?
Tim Burton: Johnny and I have this sort of preface that we speak in the abstract to each other and yet somehow can understand each other. We never like to use one reference. But we like the same things. We both thought about how in every city there was always some kids show whose host that had weird hair and weird clothes that sort of spooked you out. And when you got older, you're like "who are these people." So we were using that kind of reference. And the good thing about Daul's writing is that he left that character ambiguous. Even though we gave him a back story that wasn't in the book, there was a weird, mysterious nature to the character felt important.
What about the Michael Jackson...?
Tim Burton: Here's the deal, big difference: Michael Jackson likes children, and Willy Wonka can't stand them. To me that's a huge difference in the whole persona thing.
Were there mannerisms that either were unconsciously...?
No, we never talked about that before. I never made that connection before, because Willy Wonka really can't stand children. He has some problems, but I guess you can say they both have problems. But we all have problems?
But are you worried about that perception?
Tim Burton: No it says more about the people making that reference. Like I said, it's like night and day.
Is there something about Wonka that scares you?
Tim Burton: That's what I love about the book and Dole's writing. He was an adult writer for children, he didn't speak down to children. He was very clever about being both specific and subversive and off-kilter and leaving you guessing a little bit. We tried to keep that feeling in what we were trying to do.
Can you talk about why you used Deep Roy for all the oompa loompa?
Tim Burton: There were three options: you either hire a full cast of oompa loompas or the more modern approach, you make them all CG, but I worked with Deep before, and he is just an oompa loompa. There's no question in my mind. And to have the human element, and not all CG effect was important. And it seemed more surreal and Daul-esque to have him be everybody. And it was also, on a technical term, more cost-effective than doing all special effects and we could use him in certain shots, and to interact with Johnny rather than adding him in later.
You and Jen obviously felt you had to deepen the Wonka character by adding the back story. Would the project been as attractive if you couldn't make Wonka more of a rounded person in that way?
Tim Burton: You know if you have an eccentric character, and it's fine in the book, but if you have someone acting that strangely, you kinda want to get a flavor as to why he is acting so strangely. Otherwise he is just a weirdo.
Click below to launch the audio interviews from the junket!
Don't forget to take a look at our video interviews from the junket as well as a whole slew of clips from the film, trailers, teasers, tv spots, photos and much more! CLICK HERE