The unique and brilliant Tim Burton, whose latest directorial effort Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, based on the best-selling novel, chats to MiNDFOOD about all things peculiar. As always, Burton is funny, inspiring, and above all, a little strange.
Let’s take the title and the word peculiar. How peculiar do you think you are and would you agree that that’s how you found your niche?
Well I mean, that’s why I am here. Luckily I am here and not in jail as I have said before (laughs)
What would you say is your own peculiarity?
I don’t know. I never really analysed myself but I always thought of myself as normal, so I don’t quite think of myself that way. I think my perception of myself is a normal person, but that word in itself is strange and I just think I have always felt that way.
I have known other people, that in a very quiet way, have a certain peculiarity. In fact, the most peculiar thing is somebody who says that they are normal because I don’t really know exactly what that means.
Can you talk about your choice of Eva Green in the lead role?
Because, first of all, I have worked with Eva a couple of times, and I love her. I love her ideas and also going to what I wanted to do with the photographs, there was a certain mystery to the photographs and I have known, as much as I can know, Eva.
She’s got such a mystery about her and she has got such a mixture of humour and mystery and strength and the one other little side aspect is that she looks like a bird and I can see her turning into a bird.
She is like an old Hollywood mysterious movie star to me, somebody that you just don’t know everything about. That is something that I thought was important to the character.
Can you describe your house?
I have the house of an old artist, Arthur Racob, who was a big influence on me. But my bedroom is his old studio. He had these old bars that he used to hang his fairies onto to draw. So I am in a good vibe with something that means something to me and I am quite lucky to live in his house.
Where does your creativity come from? What are your biggest challenges?
Well it’s a great job, there are worse jobs to have but it’s always a lot of conflict trying to get something done. And you don’t want to be the tortured artist in the sense where it’s negative all the time, but I do think there is a certain amount of energy that you need and a certain amount of conflict and maybe you feel you get that every day and you hear the word ‘no’ something like 100 times a day.
So that is all part of it. think once you start doing that, you accept that as part of the job and you just always need that energy. If you ever relax about something, then something is wrong.
But how does it happen?
I don’t know. I have been trying to find out for many, many years and spent millions on therapy and I still don’t know. I am sorry. (laughs)
Can you describe and event that frightened you? And in contrast, where do you find comfort?
Well, they all blend together on a daily basis, I am not quite sure. Comforting, I don’t know if I have ever been comforted. If I eat mashed potatoes I get comforted a little bit. (laughs) But scary was going to school, seeing my family, and I always had a slightly opposite view of things that scared me and things that made me feel comforted.
Watching a monster movie comforted me. Having my aunt visit would scare the shit out of me. (laughs) So things that were normal and not normal, that’s why I always had a sort of skewed version of the way things are.
From all your fantastical and magical film, which one resonates most with you?
It’s hard to pick one because it’s like, if you had children and you went, ‘You are my favourite and all the rest of you are shit.’ I couldn’t do that. But there are aspects of (Edward) Scissorhands, Ed Wood and probably the most would be Sweeney Todd, because I am like that character.
That is probably the closest character to me unfortunately.