Today at Comic-Con, Movieweb sat in on both a panel and a roundtable discussion for the upcoming Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. Talking about the movie were producer Allison Abbate and co-director Mike Johnson. During both discussions I found their responses to be both refreshing and inspired. It came across very clearly that this project was one that was very close to all involved.
Corpse Bride carries on in the dark, romantic tradition of Tim Burton's classic films Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion, animated feature follows the story of Victor (Johnny Depp), a young man who is whisked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham-Carter), while his real bride, Victoria (Emily Watson), waits bereft in the land of the living. Though life in the Land of the Dead proves to be a lot more colorful than his strict Victorian upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world, or the next, that can keep him away from his one true love. It's a tale of optimism, romance and a very lively afterlife, told in classic Tim Burton style.
This discussion opened with a taped greeting from Tim Burton. He explained that he wasn’t able to attend the festivities because he was “currently in London finishing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride”. After that, we were treated to about a 10 minute clip of the film. It was filled with singing skeletons, the scene where Victor and the Corpse Bride meet for the first time and many other special FX (the scene where the skeletons “share” a beer was my personal favorite). Allison and Mike started to field questions by the audience but first explained that there was “no CGI” used in this movie. They also explained that Danny Elfman sang the song that we heard in the clip and that he plays the role of Bonejangles in the film. There are 4 musical numbers in the film.
They were then asked how hard it was to get a studio behind a stop motion, 2-D animated film and Allison explained “It’s always hard to get a movie made... so I think it’s the same” no matter what kind of film you are making. Johnson added that he “knew the film would be compared to CG ... and that one of the single biggest challenges was the veil” that the Corpse Bride wears. They then went on to say that everything about the character’s “voice performance” determines how the shots are going to go for that character. When asked how they both worked with Tim Burton, Johnson explained that “Tim had an idea for the tone,” so the animators would go off and create various scenes “and Tim had final approval.”They were then asked if they any pressure with Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, because of the enormity of Nightmare’s fan base. “We wanted to show how much stop motion had progressed.” Johnson stated, while Allison added that even with the various progressions it was “not much easier.”
Lastly, they talked about how Tim Burton had been developing this project for 10 years, and that it took another 3 years to get a completed picture once it was “greenlit.” They also said that the DVD release of the film will have a decent amount of “Behind the Scenes” footage, so that we can see how certain shots evolved over a period of time.
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride will be hitting theaters September 23, 2005.