Interview
Mike Johnson
© Warner Bros. Entertainment
I noticed that the film was dedicated to Joe Ranft.

Yes.

Can you talk a little bit about that?

Yeah, Joe Ranft was the person who originally brought the concept to Tim Burton. This was right after The Nightmare Before Christmas. I guess Tim was trying to find the next stop-motion project to roll into, and Joe Ranft was a storyboard artist on The Nightmare Before Christmas. They had gone to CalArts together and they had a working relationship. So Joe and Tim worked together on these early sketches and early designs and then the whole thing went underground for ten years. Joe was the catalyst and he came out—he was working for Pixar at the time, but he came to London—he watched the reel and gave us a few tips and pointers about which way to steer it, so it was a real tragedy what happened to him, but that was his involvement with Corpse Bride.

I'm sure he's proud.

I hope so.

It's good to get all this background and I appreciate your time.

No problem!

What's next for you?

Next, I have a few ideas that I'm going to try to pitch to people while the interest is there. I've been looking at scripts, none that I've fallen in love with. I think the key is to find something I can stay excited about for three years or however long it takes to do one of these things [laughs]. Between my own stories that I'm trying to develop and some others' scripts, I guess I'll just wait to see what happens. I'm also looking forward to taking a little bit of a rest. The film's out but it hasn't really slowed down for me yet. Probably over the next couple of months it will. Maybe a little break in between might be nice too.

Yeah, well, you deserve it.

Thanks.

I wish you great luck on your next stuff and I'm psyched for you.

I'm glad you liked the film. To me that's the most important thing. People who really understand the process and love the process. It's a film for animators really, so if people who know what's going on like it, that's the most important thing to me.

I think it's great and I thing everyone's going to love it. I think everybody does love it. I know my kids do and I'm not forcing it on them.

[laughs]

I think it's going to live on. I think it's going to be a holiday classic.

Let's hope so. We'll see.

It's just such an amazing time for stop-motion so if ever there's a time to pitch more stop-motion projects, it's probably in the next few weeks. I saw Corpse Bride. It was my birthday weekend. And then I saw Corpse Bride and an early screening of Wallace and Gromit.

Oh, cool!

I know, I was in heaven, I couldn't believe it.

I know, it's so weird, isn't it? Who'd have thought in one month, two stop-motion features come out and both of them starring Helena Bonham Carter. How weird is that?

[laughs] There's room enough for both and it's so cool to see a resurgence. I'm glad it's happening.
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