By Adam Foster
The 1990 film Edward Scissorhands was in pre-production and Tom Cruise was favored for the title character until the audition of a listless television star changed everything. Not only for the film, but also the lives of director Tim Burton and his new lead actor, Johnny Depp. The names Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have become synonymous with each other so much so that it approaches absurdity. Over the past two decades, Depp and Burton have collaborated on 8 films, most of which can be characterized as strange and absurd. Absurdity is undoubtedly a common thread between the two men. According to Burton it is this strange and abstract partnership on which they both thrive.
In the book Burton on Burton, Depp addresses the working relationship he and Burton have developed over the years: “I know very deeply that Tim trusts me, which is an amazing blessing, but that is not to say that I am not always paralytic with the fear of letting him down. In fact, that is first and foremost in my thinking as I am approaching the character. The only elements that keep me sane are my knowledge of his trust, my love for him, and my profound and eternal trust in him, coinciding with my hefty yearning to never disappoint him.” Depp is allowed the freedom to add quirks, personality traits, dialogue, and any other additions he deems fitting for his character. It is this freedom that makes working with Burton so exciting and challenging for Depp.
Over the course of reading a number of articles, it is obvious the respect and admiration Depp and Burton have for one another. Their personal relationship is so close that Depp is the godfather of Burton’s son, Billy Ray Burton. The success of their professional relationship is unquestionable as well; their first seven films have grossed over two billion dollars worldwide. Yes, TWO BILLION. Now that’s a bromance.