Tim Burton suspects his Disney days are behind him: ‘I needed to escape’
In late October 2007, five years after launching his animation studio, DreamWorks, and several months after stepping down as chief creative officer, Burton announced he would be returning to live-action, saying he needed a break from his dream of becoming an animated feature maker and wanted to “step away from the day-to-day stress” of running his studio.
A few months later, he joined Paramount Pictures as chairman. While the move was intended to consolidate the studio’s television studio as well as its feature film operations, it soon became clear that Paramount was seeking his resignation. Burton declined the offer.
Then, in the spring of 2009, Burton was called upon yet again. Following the release of his 2009 blockbuster, “Alice in Wonderland,” Burton resigned from his post at Paramount and was replaced by the studio’s chairman, Brad Grey.
Now, at the same time Burton is trying to put the next chapter of his life in order, he says, his Disney years are behind him.
“I needed to escape the stress of being a young executive who had been running his own studio for the first six years of my career,” he told HuffPost Entertainment. “It was time to step away and see what I was going to do with my life, and I wanted to be part of creative decision-making, not a corporate one.”
That doesn’t mean he isn’t still pulling in the cash, though: He’s currently an executive producer on Fox’s “Transformers” series, which began screening as a sneak preview on Jan. 12. He also is in production on a film about the career of artist Norman Rockwell.
He says he hasn’t spent much time thinking about how he might wind up back in the animated film biz, where he had worked in the past and which seemed to be calling to him from a distant galaxy.
“At this point, I’m a much more cynical person than I was when I wrote and produced “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Ice Age” and ‘Tarzan.'”
“I don’t know what I would do in that arena now. It’s not that I don’t want to be a filmmaker — I am — it’s just that I think the time was not right. I don’t think I can go back and be a corporate filmmaker and be the same old me. I want to evolve.”