Directing a megahit comic book adaptation will open a few doors for a Hollywood director's career. But not all the doors, and especially not one that leads to a kooky movie about a man with razor-sharp blades for fingers.
Such is the lesson Tim Burton learned in 1989 following the $400 million worldwide box-office success of his Michael Keaton-starring "Batman," when the director tried to jumpstart production on "Edward Scissorhands."
"I was like, 'OK, I'm just going to make a low-budget movie,' " Burton told MTV News during a recent conversation. "I found it very difficult, because people thought I just made big movies and that's all I do. I had to really walk away from a lot of things because I'd been penalized for making some sort of big movie. It is a weird trap."
Of course, the director figured out a way to get "Scissorhands" made — maybe it had something to do with casting "21 Jump Street" up-and-comer Johnny Depp in the title role. After returning for a "Batman" sequel in 1992, Burton continued to struggle to get smaller, more personal films made.
"It was even hard to get ['Ed Wood'] going, to do it in black-and-white," Burton said of the 1994 biopic. "But it was a special movie for me. It had a lot of themes in it that I certainly identify with. And again, it indicates the difficulty of getting a project going no matter who or what you are."
Once more, perhaps casting Depp — by that point a major star — in the title role helped ease the minds of studio executives. But over time, Burton's memories of his Hollywood bumps and bruises have faded.
"It's like what women say about child birth," he laughed. "Luckily, they forget after a while, most of them."
Still, some encounters in Tinseltown continue to rankle the director. "I remember being in a meeting where it came this close to 'Beetlejuice' being called 'House Ghosts,' " he said. "I was like, 'Oh, man, straight to video.'"
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.
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