We Are Movie Geek published today an interview done with Winona and Martin Landau during the “Frankenweenie” Press Conference. Check it some highlights:
What was the experience working with Tim Burton again?
WINONA RYDER: Oh, itâ€™s always amazing. I mean, Iâ€™m trying to think of like new adjectives to use, because I, umâ€¦ it, it truly is just such a special experience all every time and, and even also just being around him when just heâ€™s one of my favorite people I think in the world that â€“ just to be around.
WINONA RYDER (Cont): So, it never really feels like work in that way even though it is very creative and, and, umâ€¦ but working with him is very different than, uh, you know, uh, different than other, uh, directors, in the, in the sense other wonderful directors Iâ€¦ that I love, but Tim is very, uh, unique in the way that he, um, heâ€™s veryâ€¦ he was very expressive. I donâ€™t know if youâ€¦ have you talked to him yet today?
WINONA RYDER: So, like, yeah, well he does this and heâ€™ll killâ€¦ weâ€™ve been talking to this [CHUCKLES]. Heâ€™ll come up to you and go, you know, just if you, g-â€¦ um, you know. And youâ€™ll go oh, yeah, okay. [CHUCKLES] And, and thatâ€™s all, all it is. It, itâ€¦ Martin, you know, you had that experience too.
MARTIN LANDAU: I mean we nev-â€¦ we never finish a sentence, you know. [CHUCKLES] Youâ€¦ youâ€™d rehearse and heâ€™ll come at you and say, you know, I, Iâ€¦ we just rehearsed and, and you, you know whatâ€™s missing for Tim without having him tell you. So, then you, you, you again. You know, again. [CHUCKLES] And then you do it and you add that element, and he comes oh, heâ€™ll say exactly. And then heâ€¦ heâ€¦ let sh-â€¦shoot it. Yeah, I know. Clean. Okay.
MARTIN LANDAU (Cont): So, if anyoneâ€™s standing there, uh, say to you, you â€” no oneâ€™s finishing his sentence for God sakes. [CHUCKLES] I meanâ€¦ this is aâ€¦ but itâ€™s kinesthetic and you know what he wants.
MARTIN LANDAU (Cont): And, and but he creates a playground for the actors, and, and itâ€™s so much fun. And even in this instance where youâ€™re alone and aâ€¦ you know, youâ€™re not working with another actor, but youâ€™re visualizing it and Timâ€™s there. And, and itâ€™s just pleasant. Now, gâ€¦ all good directors create a playground, but theyâ€™re all a little different. You know, and they speak differently, uh, but a good director he doesnâ€™t direct a whole lot. He hires the right actor and then he lets them go. And, and the ones that direct too much are usually film students who havenâ€™t directed before. [CHUCKLES]
WINONA RYDER: Yeah, but whatâ€™s, uh, uh, another thing just because I know this is, uh, print and then, and stuff, and I sometimes, you know, I just wanna make sure to say that e-â€¦ even if heâ€™s not verbal, even if it is this Iâ€¦ you always feel very safe. And if you want you canâ€™tâ€¦ you haveâ€¦ you feel like if you wanna talk about itâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: You just donâ€™t need to, â€™cause youâ€™d know itâ€™s the telepathic thing that happens. And, and his, hisâ€¦ all of his movies itâ€¦ to me haveâ€¦ you know, with all the darkness thatâ€™s associated with him [COUGH], Tim Burton, itâ€¦ thereâ€™s so much heart in all of his movies. In, in Ed Wood I sobbed. You know, Iâ€¦ it, itâ€¦ and Frankenweenie, which I just saw the other night I was crying, and Edward Scissorhands I always cry.
WINONA RYDER (Cont): And, and, and itâ€™s like he â€” thereâ€™s always, you know, thereâ€™s always someone with, with an incredible amount of, of purity even if they donâ€™t â€” if they look a certain way. Like I, I do feel that, that Lydia from Beetlejuice, which sort of based Elsa a little bit on, the reason that she could see the ghosts was because she was actually, a youngâ€¦ she did have a purity with all of her obsession with, with death, you know, because she was not caught up in everything the way her parents were.
WINONA RYDER (Cont): And, and thatâ€™s why, you know, with little, little kids still today, like little, little kids, when they come up and they, they say are you the girl from Beetlejuice like itâ€™s a [CHUCKLES] such a wonderful, warm, like amazing feeling for me. And, and, and whenâ€¦ when weâ€™re associated with, with those associated with those films itâ€™s â€” it like literally like Iâ€™m â€” you can probably see it in me right now.
WINONA RYDER (Cont): Iâ€™m a getâ€¦ Iâ€¦ it makes me so happy and, and [LAUGHS], you know, even doing a, uh, a junket, weâ€™ve all been here and like yeah [SIGHS], you know. [COUGH] And Iâ€™m so happy to, to be here and to, to be taughtâ€¦ â€™cause this film is so special and, and to be here with Martin, too, you know.
Winona, can you recall your first impressions of working with Tim back on Beetlejuice and what you mightâ€™ve learned from him as an actor?
WINONA RYDER: Um, I mean I, I remember vividly, vividly, you know, meeting him in a waitingâ€¦ I, I wasâ€¦ beenâ€¦ didnâ€™t look on life really. I had black hair and was wearing and I was waiting, and I was talking to someone in the waiting room for a while and just about, you know, movies and music, and then after about 30 minutes I was whatâ€¦ do you know when this Tim Burton guy is showing up, [CHUCKLES] â€™cause I may be in the wrong building. And, and heâ€™s like oop, thatâ€™s me. [LAUGHS] And I was like what? I had no idea that a director could be so like cool in that way. And, uh, like just like, you know, I had only worked with sort of more, uh, authority.
MARTIN LANDAU: Austere.
WINONA RYDER: Austere, yeah. [CHUCKLES] But, um, you justâ€¦ I just find what Martin is saying so interesting and too, because the, the â€” when he says science is here, but itâ€™s also here. (Points to head and heart) And it dâ€“ it, it just in, in he means â€” it means so many things, and what heâ€™s saying about, you know, that it can be used for (SIGHS), you know, itâ€™s, itâ€™s likeâ€¦ with anything, with technology with the internet, which, which Iâ€™ve always, you know, been a little bit afraid of, but I do acknowledge the great that it could do in, in, in terms of like exposing corruption and giving voices to people, but then thereâ€™s this other side of it thatâ€™s like a little creepy. And, and so, itâ€¦ but yet itâ€™sâ€¦ it isâ€¦ advancing itâ€™s technology. Itâ€™s, itâ€™s goingâ€¦ moving real fast. I, I think Iâ€™m a little old-fashioned, and Iâ€¦
MARTIN LANDAU: Thatâ€™s all right.
WINONA RYDER: I like eye contact and books, and, and [LAUGHS], and, uh, Iâ€™mâ€¦ well, I have LPs still, you know. I, I, uh [LAUGHS]â€¦ you, you know.
MARTIN LANDAU: You had a â€” you had to go to a library to look up something and it was usually a couple of miles away. Now itâ€™s at your fingertips and you donâ€™t use it properly.
WINONA RYDER: Yeah. Iâ€¦ itâ€™s true. I mean I, Iâ€¦ you know, my best friend was my library card, you know. [CHUCKLES] I spent so much timeâ€¦ thatâ€™s where I, I learned, you know.
MARTIN LANDAU: Well, scientists, you know, again we, we have to acknowledge them. I was mentioning earlier that it, it, uh, uh, Man and Superman, a, a play that, uh, George Bernard Shaw wrote, and the other half of it, which is Don Juan in Hell. He wrote it in 1903, which was before the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, and he talks about the megaton bomb. And the devil says things like, uh, manâ€™s greatest inventions come out of trying to destroy his fellow man. The greatest advances in science come from destroying people, notâ€¦ I mean those kinds of things are what, uh, Rzykruski things about.
MARTIN LANDAU: You know. Uh, heâ€™s, heâ€™s so aware of, of, uh, the importance of, of knowledge and science. And, andâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: And exploring.
MARTIN LANDAU: As, as, as Winona says, he, you know, heâ€™s got a big heart, and heâ€™s completely misunderstood, because he doesnâ€™t compromise. And he doesnâ€™t soft-soap anything. Heâ€™s got the fastest brain mouth coordination. I mean anything comes into his head comes out of his mouth.
WINONA RYDER: Yeah.
MARTIN LANDAU: And, andâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: No, filter.
MARTIN LANDAU: And I had this vision as I say of, of, of him lasting at each school for two months before they [LAUGHS] fire him, and heâ€™s probably the best teacher theyâ€™ve ever had. And he seems himself in that little boyâ€¦ as a young man. Andâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: I mean what a thing to hear, you know, youâ€™ve justâ€¦ you know, that whole theâ€¦ itâ€™s justâ€¦
MARTIN LANDAU: Heâ€™s a catalyst. You know, heâ€™s what inspires the kid to make the movie. [LAUGHS] Uhâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: Yeah.
MARTIN LANDAU: I mean and, and, anâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: And, and then to Tim is, uh, inviting his teacher who from, uh, whoâ€™s, uh, 82 to the premiere. So, I canâ€™t wait to meet that teacher. And thank that teacherâ€¦
MARTIN LANDAU: Tomorrowâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: â€¦for giving usâ€¦
MARTIN LANDAU: â€¦ tomorrow night literally theâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: Yeah.
MARTIN LANDAU: â€¦one of Timâ€™s teachers is coming to the premiere. I meanâ€¦ and, and if he has an accentâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: â€¦the reason why youâ€™re here.
MARTIN LANDAU: â€¦like my characterâ€¦ Iâ€™m gonna run out. [LAUGHS]
MARTIN LANDAU: I donâ€™t know whethâ€“ whether it is or not.
WINONA RYDER: I donâ€™t know.
MARTIN LANDAU: I didnâ€™t ask him, but, but itâ€™s one of his teachers from Burbank.
Winona, can I ask, um, youâ€™re always kind of, you are often gravitated towards dark films and dark characters. Sparkling, very beautiful. Youâ€™ve never really tried onâ€¦ or, you know, [CHUCKLES] inherited that kind of real Hollywood sex symbol role. Can I ask why?
WINONA RYDER: Um, well, I think I justâ€¦ well, thank you [LAUGHS] first of all. Um, I, itâ€™s interesting, because I did the first, you knowâ€¦ even with Beetlejuice, you know, I wasnâ€™t, uh, considered. I was sort of an awkward kid. I sort of started at puberty and, uh, went through it on film. And, um, but, but Lydia was a bigâ€¦ you know, one of my favorite roles, because I, I related a lot to her. And then that did lead to Heathers, but I had to really fight quite hard to be, uh, cast in Heathers, because I wasnâ€™t considered attractive enough to, uh, be in aâ€¦ theâ€¦ that sort of popular girl click. I wasnâ€™t theâ€¦ but I, I, uh, I, I just have been really lucky, and, and the directors that Iâ€™ve worked with, and, and I think, um, Iâ€™m notâ€¦ I donâ€™t gravitateâ€¦ you know, thereâ€™s like a [CHUCKLES] thereâ€™s a line that I justâ€¦ I was watching, uh, you know, First Wives Club last night, and thereâ€™s this line where sheâ€™s like there are three roles in Hollywood for women, babe, district attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy. [LAUGHS] And I was like oh, my God, to see like what Tim has given me [LAUGHS]â€¦ thatâ€™s not funny.
MARTIN LANDAU: Itâ€™s funny. It is funny.
WINONA RYDER: Like it, itâ€¦ what Tim has given me is the in between [LAUGHS] ones, you know. And, and, and, um, and I remember thinkâ€¦ you know, thinking that oh, you know, being offered like the rookie cop on the trail of a serial killer. And I was like Iâ€¦ but I donâ€™t by myself as a rookie cop. You know, there were justâ€¦ I did have a few opportunities to try to go that way, but I, I just didnâ€™tâ€¦ it didnâ€™t, uh, make sense for me.
WINONA RYDER (Cont): Um, I alwaysâ€¦ what Iâ€¦ I just did what I found interesting. I was so lucky that I was able to do that especially like in the â€˜90s. You know, I was really able toâ€¦ and then I, then I sort of like, you know, learned that you have to have a, uh, a life to go back to, because you just canâ€™t pin everything on, uh, on Hollyâ€¦ you know, and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so wonderful about Tim is that it is a veryâ€¦ and listening to Martin, too, is that it, itâ€™s aâ€¦ itâ€¦ the experience itself is the reward. Itâ€™s being present in, in that moment. And even here with you guys Iâ€™ve never been this happy at a junket, [LAUGHS] never been like so excited aboutâ€¦ um, you know, being here and talking about this. This is like not likeâ€¦ and you guys Iâ€™m sure have, have been in that boat [CHUCKLES] way more times than me, but itâ€™sâ€¦ Iâ€™ve been very, very blessed. And, um, and then also in myâ€¦ what I find interesting in my personal life I think probably does have, you know, an effect, you know, but Iâ€™ve been very lucky.
What is your biggest change after working on this filmâ€¦ with Tim Burton?
MARTIN LANDAU: Well, it, you know, change is, you know, itâ€™s aâ€¦ I thinkâ€¦ I approach each character Iâ€™ve ever played as a new person coming from a different environment, physiologically, uh, geographically, emotionally. Uh, Iâ€™ve never had to people that were the same, but the, the fun of this character, uh, reminded me again while I was working on it of my teachers and the ones that are impelled me to be better at anything I tried to do, to excel. And, uh, Iâ€¦ and I, I think thatâ€™s an important thing. Umâ€¦
WINONA RYDER: And to always be learning.
MARTIN LANDAU: â€¦ uh, you know, I meanâ€¦ to be willing to stand up for what you believe. Iâ€™m offered a lot of parts for the old guy. You know, the guy that sits at a table and grunts, uh, where the young people, uh, uh, make fun of. You know, the guy who sits there like this guy here.
WINONA RYDER: And Iâ€™m waiting for like the big Jane roles, which Iâ€™mâ€¦
MARTIN LANDAU: You know, and, and I turn those down [CHUCKLES], uh, because I want a character whoâ€™s alive, and rich, and, and still has goals, and, and, and has an arc. And Tim I mean when he presented this to me I, I just loved the character. I just loved him. Uh, you know, itâ€™s a unique character. [CHUCKLES] This entire picture is aâ€¦ an animated film, but itâ€¦ itâ€™s loaded with characters. Itâ€™s a character driven movie. I see movies nowadays all the time with real actors that areâ€¦ well, you donâ€™t know the character. You donâ€™t know who they are. You donâ€™t care about them. As she said she was moved by this, and I was moved by this. This I mean itâ€™s, itâ€™s aâ€¦ something that isâ€¦ doesnâ€™t have a real [CHUCKLES] person up there, but everyone is real. And you walk away being moved, laughing and enjoying it. And the 3-D isnâ€™t used to attack you. Itâ€™s used to allow you to come into the world. And itâ€™s, itâ€™s terâ€¦ a terrific film. I mean itâ€™s a good movie. Forget that itâ€™s an animated movie. And itâ€™s something that tearâ€¦ has been burning inside of Tim Burton for 30 years. And he finally got to make it, and Iâ€™m so happy to be a part of it. Iâ€™m like pinch me. [LAUGHS] Is this real? Am I reallyâ€¦ itâ€™s wonderful.