Tim Burton Explains His ‘Abstract’ Relationship With Johnny Depp

'Alice in Wonderland' director/star duo have made movies together for almost 20 years.

In a surprise appearance at Comic-Con in July, during Tim Burton’s presentation of his upcoming “Alice in Wonderland” adaptation, star Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance onstage. The crowd went from wildly intrigued to out-of-its-collective-mind turbulent.

That’s how it usually goes when these two artists collaborate, as they have six times in the past and have again for “Alice” (and will yet one more time next year for “Dark Shadows”). Fans are fascinated by Burton and really fascinated by Depp, and almost anything they do together ratchets up the attention to feverish levels. So what actually happens when Johnny and Tim get in a room together to chat about making a movie?

“That’s the thing — we don’t really know,” Burton laughed to MTV News. “It’s very nice to have someone that you can have a completely abstract conversation with and leave the room, feel like everything’s fine, and then realize that if you pick it apart, you have absolutely no idea what either of you said.”

They first worked together on 1990′s “Edward Scissorhands” and went on to collaborate for “Ed Wood” (1994), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), “Corpse Bride” (2005) and “Sweeney Todd” (2009), for which Depp received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. “Alice” is set for release next March, and Burton earlier told us “Shadows,” an adaptation of the supernatural 1960s soap opera, will shift into production next year. After making movies together for almost 20 years, Burton explained, the two men thrive on the very abstractness of their creative partnership.

“That’s a sign of knowing somebody and connecting with somebody,” he said. “I don’t pretend to know [him]. If I don’t know who I am — this sounds like a bad therapy session — but I don’t pretend to know anybody else. That’s what keeps it all cool.”

MTV is taking you “Behind the Screen” on Friday, September 4, at 7 p.m. Tune in to check out exclusive clips from “Jennifer’s Body” and “Ninja Assassin,” your first look at “Clash of the Titans,” a special appearance by Rain and a revealing exclusive interview with Megan Fox.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Alice in Wonderland.”

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