Tim Burton, the award-winning filmmaker behind hits like Batman and Pee-wee's Big Adventure, turns 58 years old today.
Burton, whose 1984 student film Frankenweenie brought him to Hollywood's attention, has become one of the most beloved directors in Hollywood in the thirty years since then. He's made more than 15 feature films and worked with dozens of the most popular actors in Hollywood, including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alec Baldwin, and more.
After Frankenweenie -- a film that Burton would later remake with a big budget once he became famous -- Burton took Pee-wee Herman to the big screen in Pee-wee's Big Adventure. After a few TV episodes, he would tackle a number of consecutive films that, placed back to back, remain one of the best- and most successful strings of movies ever put together by a director. Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Ed Wood all came together before Burton baffled critics and audiences with Mars Attacks!, which wasn't all that well-received at the time but has become a cult classic since.
Following the success of Batman, Burton was approached by Warner Bros. to make a Superman film. He was set to direct Superman Lives!, a movie with a screenplay by Kevin Smith, which would star Nicolas Cage as Superman. Chris Rock and Cameron Diaz were reportedly attached to the film as Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, and the story would have been a very loose adaptation of The Death and Return of Superman comic book storyline from the '90s. The film fell apart, although there's currently a documentary being made about it called The Death of Superman Lives.
Mars Attacks! would become the first of a number of films that would see Burton adapt other people's source material while applying his unique visual sensibility, much like what he did with Batman. Sleepy Hollow was a huge hit in that vein, but Planet of the Apes disappointed. Later, he would apply that formula -- to mixed results -- to projects like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. Along the way, he completed Big Fish, which many of Burton's fans consider to be the most perfectly Tim Burton-y movie he's ever made.
Later this year, Burton will release Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name; there have been persistent rumors that he would reunite with Winona Ryder for Beetlejuice 2 at some point soon, although it's impossible to know when or whether that film will ever happen, considering that reports keep changing.
Happy birthday to Tim Burton!