Arts & Entertainment

Filmmaker Tim Burton explores ‘outcast among outcasts’ in new Netflix series

By Gonzalo Sanchez

Lucca, Italy, Oct 31 (EFE).- American filmmaker Tim Burton said Monday at a European fan screening of his first TV series “Wednesday,” which centers on a character from The Addams Family franchise, that he identified with her complete outsider status.

“It’s funny because Wednesday goes to a school of outcasts, but she’s an outcast among outcasts,” he said at the Lucca Comics & Games conference in this northwestern Italian city. “So that’s kind of how I felt in school. This project really spoke to me. It’s exactly how I felt about school, my parents, other people. And so even though she’s at a place for people like her, she doesn’t like to join the party.”

The director of “Beetlejuice” (1988), “Edward Scissorhands” (1990) and “Corpse Bride” (2005) returns to the gothic atmosphere that has made him famous in this new series that will premiere on Netflix on Nov. 23.

The eight-episode series focuses on the lone daughter of the Addams clan, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega), who is confronted with a series of mysteries and homicides while studying at Nevermore Academy, although socializing with her classmates is perhaps her biggest challenge.

“I grew up watching (The Addams Family) TV series. I also like Charles Addams’ original cartoons,” in which that fictional family first appeared in 1938, Burton said. “They were really inspirational to me. But the thing that intrigued me the most was the Wednesday character … I felt like Wednesday when I was a teenager.”

Even though the snarky adolescent is the focal point of the series, the remaining members of the original family are present, including the iconic Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and her dapper husband Gomez (Luis Guzman).

And perhaps the most unique character from The Addams Family, a disembodied hand known as “Thing,” will also appear in Burton’s series as a somewhat older version of the one seen in the 1991 “The Addams Family” film and its 1993 sequel “Addams Family Values.”

The world conjured up by Burton is equal parts mysterious and grim, but the uncertainty is perhaps further heightened in this series by the echoes of new, potentially pernicious realities such as social media.

“I’m afraid of the Internet. I find that when I start looking things up I just go down a dark hole and looking at funny cat videos or something,” he joked at Lucca’s Teatro del Giglio.

Burton also said of his foray into the TV series format that it has been a good experience but that he plans to go back to what he knows best.

“I enjoyed doing this TV series, just because it was interesting to have a different pace, a slower kind of burn. But obviously for me, I still love movies. I still think there’s a place for movies these days,” he added.

Although Burton has had some of his biggest box-office success with films based on comic books, particularly “Batman” and “Batman Returns,” he said he struggled with that genre as a child due to a dyslexia-type condition.

“I love all forms of art. I just had trouble because of my mind. I had trouble reading comics because I never knew which box to read,” he said. EFE


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