Tim Burton, 57, On Creative Integrity

Photo by Nadav Kander

Photo by Nadav Kander

Q. Not only does “Frankenweenie” hark back to the start of your career, it seems to refer to many of the features you’ve made since the original short. Is that by design?

A. If I really thought about it, that’s something I would probably not do. [Laughs.] I don’t consciously make those points of: I did this, I’m going to put that in there as a reference to myself. Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It’s less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.

Q. That can be deeply disheartening at that age, to learn that you’re bad at something.

A. It’s the same with drawing. If you look at children’s drawings, they’re all great. And then at a certain point, even when they’re about 7 or 8 or 9, they go, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can. I went through that same thing, even when I started to go to CalArts, and a couple of teachers said: “Don’t worry about it. If you like to draw, just draw.” And that just liberated me. My mother wasn’t an artist, but she made these weird owls out of pine cones, or cat needlepoint things. There’s an outlet for everyone, you know?

Interview via The New York Times