Tim Burton has a new movie in theaters today. Needless to say, it’s a “re-imagining” of a famous existing property made over in the director’s signature visual style and starring Johnny Depp in the lead role. You can complain about that if you must, but this is how Burton likes to work, and it won’t be the last time that he does. While we wait for the inevitable announcement of which old movie, TV show or work of classic literature that the Burton-Depp combo will tackle next, we thought that we might toss some suggestions their way in this week’s Roundtable.
We’ve already had a few versions of this story already, but I’d really like to see what Tim Burton would do with ‘The Wind in the Willows‘. This classic 1908 children’s book by Kenneth Grahame has Burton’s name written all over it. I’d expect a much darker, twisted interpretation, of course, and maybe this could be the first adaptation entirely in CGI animation, which is something Burton hasn’t done yet himself. Without question, Johnny Depp would have to voice Mr. Toad, but I could also see him pulling multiple duties as Mole, Ratty and Mr. Badger. Helena Bonham Carter would also need a character in there somewhere, and the Chief Weasel could be voiced by Michael Keaton. Let’s also make it 3D! With Disney’s backing, I could foresee this becoming a huge hit.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Tim Burton already reanimated one long-dead TV series with a rich, dense mythology to explore. Why not make it two? When I said “rich, dense mythology”, you probably already know precisely what I have in mind, don’t you? That’s right: ‘Small Wonder’! Can’t you picture it? Helena Bonham Carter as V.I.C.I., the android modeled after a human girl. Johnny Depp as Jamie, the flesh-and-blood human “brother” to that pixie-like little robot. Johnny Depp as Ted, too, the giant mind who brought V.I.C.I. to life. Maybe Deep Roy could play a sinister foreign robot sent to destroy… Wait, I think I’ve taken this gag too far and need to stop now. Sorry.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
‘The Night Stalker‘ – Depp as Carl Kolchak investigating all manner of Burtonized beasties? I’d pay to see that.
‘UFO‘ – Short-lived British series from 1970 set in a slightly optimistic (technology-wise) version of 1980 in which we have a moon base (staffed by sexy purple-haired ladies), super-sleek cars and spacecraft, and we’re facing a pesky alien invasion problem. (They’re harvesting us for our organs!). Depp would play Commander Edward Straker, who poses as the head of a film studio while really running the secret organization (SHADO) charged with identifying and eliminating the alien threat. I could see both Burton and Depp sinking their teeth into this one, though the scope might be a little ambitious for Burton, whose stories normally play out in a tighter, more self-contained setting.
‘The Mod Squad‘ – Classic ’70s police drama designed to appeal to the young, hip counter-culture crowd. Johhny Depp as The White Guy, Barack Obama as The Black Guy (he’ll need a job after the White House gig), and Farrah Fawcett (CGI) as The Blonde Girl. C’mon, Farrah already has the right hair style for it. And yeah, I know it was made into a movie once, but did anyone actually see that? A veritable lock for Oscars sweep. Too bad we’ll have to wait until 2016 for one of the leads to become available.
As much as I love the Tim Burton movies that are the least Burton-ish (‘Big Fish’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’), I would like to see him take on the failed franchise ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events‘. I saw the first film, which felt like a rip-off of Burton’s trademark style, thinking the whole time that it would have been so much better had Tim Burton done it. My wife loves the books, and I usually agree with her opinion, so I’ll go off her word. After all, the books have to be better than the Jim Carrey movie!
M. Enois Duarte
I think the gothic director should test his visionary talents by Burtonizing ‘All in the Family‘. that would be hilarious. A little weird to be sure, but hilarious nonetheless. Robert De Niro will play Archie Bunker and Barbara Streisand could be Edith. I know, I know, that’s not exactly along the lines of the show’s white Conservative / Protestant fundamentalist approach to comedy, but this is Burton after all. In his hands, the Bunker family would live in the Addams mansion on 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Helena Bonham Carter would play Gloria and Johnny Depp would be Micheal. (Depp as Michael actually does seem kinda funny.) Unfortunately, with my luck, the movie will end up some sort of Z-grade micro-budget affair that only airs on an obscure late-night horror movie show, and the director is some dude named Timothy Burtonowski.
Tim Burton should remake ‘Labyrinth‘, if only for the joy of watching all the die-hard Jim Henson fans explode internet message boards complaining that no one should ever remake such a classic. Thinking back on it, though, it’s right up Burton’s alley. He can create as many oddball sets as he wants. He’ll most likely CG the crap out of all the puppets, which he thinks will add a modern vibe to it, but will only fuel the endless flames of criticism that will come his way. Johnny Depp could star in the David Bowie role. (That’s the biggest no-brainer of this whole what-if). Burton could also find some way to shoehorn Helena Bonham Carter into the movie. Finally, his last go-to Burton calling card would be casting a really pale actress as the lead, like Mia Wasikowska, Jayne Wisener, or Bella Heathcote. It’s just too easy. You know that he’s thought of this already, and at some point in time, we’ll hear this exact news. That’s why you’re shaking your head right now, because you freaking know this will happen.
My favorite of Burton’s “re-imaginings” are ‘Sleepy Hollow‘ and ‘Sweeney Todd‘. I prefer the films where the director indulges his darker tendencies over his whimsical affectations. For that reason, I think that the writings of Edgar Allan Poe would be a natural fit for the Burton treatment. Something like ‘The Masque of the Red Death‘ or ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue‘ would offer plenty of opportunity for Burton to go crazy with his visualization, while letting loose with some good, bloody, hard-R violence. Unfortunately, the failure of this year’s John Cusack vehicle ‘The Raven’ has no doubt put a damper on Hollywood’s enthusiasm for Edgar Allan Poe, so Burton and Depp will probably need to hold off a few years before attempting another Poe revival.
Failing that, how about ‘Flash Gordon‘ or ‘Buck Rogers‘? Burton’s only previous attempts at science fiction may have resulted in the misbegotten ‘Mars Attacks!‘ and ‘Planet of the Apes‘, but I hope that doesn’t mean he’s given up on the genre altogether. I’d love to see what weird ideas he’d bring to a genuine space opera, and these old movie serial franchises would be perfect vehicles for his oddball humor and camp sensibilities.
I bet that our readers have some good ideas for this. Tell us about them in the Comments.
[Editor’s Note.: Before we go, I just need to make a brief announcement regarding the blog posting schedule for the next week. I will be traveling to a series of conferences all week. (You’ll hear about those at some point soon.) I’ve tried to lay out some posts for the week, and will try to work whenever I can. I can also guarantee you that there will be some content available here every day, including our participation in a pretty cool feature that will run throughout the week. However, it’s very likely that our number of blog postings may be a little skimpier than usual on some days. Don’t worry, things should get back on track when I return. –JZ]