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April 2, 2006   Articles No Comments

This is an an excerpt from the newly updated third edition of Mark Salisbury’s BURTON ON BURTON published by Faber. The book sells for $14.99 and is currently available at AmazonUk.

Johnny Depp explains his special relationship with Tim Burton

The Guardian – Many a moon has passed since the days of my brief brush with TV stardom, or whatever one might dare call it. I mostly think of them as the do-or-die years: picture, if you will, the confused young man hurtling dangerously towards the flash-in-the-pan at sound-breaking speed. Or, on a more positive note, forced education, with decent dividends in the short term. Either way, it was a scary time when so-called TV actors weren’t eagerly received into the fickle fold of film folk. Fortunately, I was more than determined – even desperate – to break away from my ascent/descent. The chances were nearly impossible, until the likes of John Waters and Tim Burton had enough courage and vision to give me a chance to attempt to build my own foundation on my own terms. Anyway, no time to digress… this has all been said before.

Many a moon has passed since the days of my brief brush with TV stardom, or whatever one might dare call it. I mostly think of them as the do-or-die years: picture, if you will, the confused young man hurtling dangerously towards the flash-in-the-pan at sound-breaking speed. Or, on a more positive note, forced education, with decent dividends in the short term. Either way, it was a scary time when so-called TV actors weren’t eagerly received into the fickle fold of film folk. Fortunately, I was more than determined – even desperate – to break away from my ascent/descent. The chances were nearly impossible, until the likes of John Waters and Tim Burton had enough courage and vision to give me a chance to attempt to build my own foundation on my own terms. Anyway, no time to digress… this has all been said before.

I sit here, hunched at the keyboard, banging away on a ratty old computer, which does not understand me at all, nor I it, especially with a zillion thoughts swirling through my skull on how to proceed with something as personal as my relationship with old pal Tim. He is, for me, exactly the same man I wrote about nearly 11 years ago, though all kinds of wonderfulness have flowered and showered the both of us, and caused radical changes in the men we were and the men we’ve become – or, at least, the men we’ve been revealed as.
Yeah, you see, Tim and I are dads. Wow. Who’d have ever thought it possible that our progeny would be swinging on swing-sets together, or sharing toy cars, toy monsters, even potentially exchanging chickenpox? This is a part of the ride I had never imagined.

Seeing Tim as proud Papa is enough to send me into an irrepressible weeping jag, because, as with almost everything, it’s in the eyes. Tim’s eyes have always shone: no question about it, there was always something luminous in those troubled/sad/weary peepers. But today, the eyes of old pal Tim are laser beams! Piercing, smiling, contented eyes, with all of the gravity of yesteryear, but bright with the hope of a spectacular future. This was not the case before. There was a man with, presumably, everything – or so it seemed from the outside. But there was also something incomplete and somehow consumed by an empty space. It is an odd place to be. Believe me… I know.

Watching Tim with his boy Billy is an enormous joy to behold. There is a visible bond that transcends words. I feel as if I’m watching Tim meet himself toddler-size, ready to right all wrongs and re-right all rights. I am looking at the Tim that has been waiting to shed the skin of the unfinished man that we all knew and loved, being reborn as the more complete radiant hilarity that exists full-blown today. It is a kind of miracle to witness, and I am privileged to be near it. The man I now know as a part of the trio of Tim, Helena and Billy is new and improved and completely complete. Anyway, that’s enough of that. I’ll step off the Kleenex box and get on with things, shall I? Onwards…

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