At Disney's D23 Expo earlier this month, it was announced that
Tim Burton was going to turn his original live-action short, Frankenweenie, into a feature-length stop motion film!
The 30-minute short was Burton's live-action directorial debut. But the 1984 original actually got him fired from Disney, because the studio deemed the film too scary for kids. But the short-film helped him land his feature debut, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which served as a catalyst for the other projects in his twenty-plus year career; including Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, and a slew of other films that help him carve his signature in film.
Burton's modern day suburbia retelling of Frankenstein, was a live-action fantasy that starred Barret Oliver as Victor Frankenstein, a boy scientist who brings his dead dog back to life after it gets hit by a car. After he reanimates his furry friend, the dog is rejected and persecuted by an angry mob.
The original short also starred Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall as the young scientist's parents, Ben and Susan Frankenstein. Paul Bartel, an extremely young Sofia Coppola and Jason Hervey were also featured as some of their neighbors.
Last week Venkman reported on some new details that had come out concerning the full-length adaptation. Since it will be in stop motion, he begged the question, "So does this mean [Tim Burton] will get the original actors to reprise and voice their roles?"
Earlier today, I got to ask one of the original Frankenweenie stars Daniel Stern, that very same question.
Of course Stern must be coming back, right??? He has one of the most recognizable voices in Hollywood!!! Stern narrated The Wonder Years for it's five seasons, voicing the grown-up version of Kevin Arnold.
During our round-table interview with Stern for Whip It--Drew Barrymore's directorial debut in which Stern plays Ellen Page's father-- I asked him if he'd be reprising his role in Tim Burton's full length version of Frankenweenie.
His answer surprised us as much as the question surprised him. Wide-eyed, Stern said:
Is he doing it?!
I am assuming I'm starring in it. He hasn't called. I didn't even know about that.
Stern went onto explain that he has coincidentally starred in several directors' debuts over the years:
I just talked about Tim[Burton], because I was thinking ya know? I've worked with Barry Levinson in his first[film], Tim in his first, Peter Berg in his first, [now] Drew in her first.
He said of the directors:
When you come across these people, who are first timers... in a way, but come with a clarity and a vision and an experience and confidence. It's really brilliant to kinda be part of someone's first thing.
Stern leaned in close to the microphone and joked:
And just to address Tim: When you are apart of somebody's first thing, they owe you a job later. Just to a... just to make that clear.
I responded by joking: We're not gonna say you're responsible for their success, but we're not gonna NOT say that.
Stern clarified and then joked:
You said it not me. I appreciate that... but you're absolutely right.
The room erupted in laughter, and then Stern went on to lovingly reminisce about working with Tim Burton on the original Frankenweenie:
It was a trippy movie to work on. Again, you walk on the set of a first time [director], and the set's built, and you go, 'Holy crap! How did he think of this?' But it's so exciting to be around that creativity. Creativity AND confidence, with a connection.
So Mr. Tim Burton, now that the cat is out of the bag, will you be casting the brilliant Mr. Daniel Stern to reprise his role as Ben Frankenstein??? Will you be asking any of the original cast back?
In Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3, the then young actor who voiced Andy in the originals, came back to voice the now grown up version of the character in the latest sequel. So the path is set, all you have to do is walk it.
I could understand not having Barret Oliver not voice a child, but I'm sure Stern and Duvall would love to work with Burton again.
What do you guys think? Should Tim Burton bring back the original cast to voice their characters for his feature-length stop-motion version of Frankenweenie?
Our Full Interview with Stern, as well as Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, and the rest of the stars of Whip It will be posted up soon!