Director Tim Burton on ‘Wednesday’: ‘I felt it was written for me’

By Alex Fraser

LUCCA, Italy (Reuters) – Filmmaker Tim Burton steps into the macabre and supernatural world of the Addams Family with new series “Wednesday”.

The Netflix show, released on Nov. 23, is based on Wednesday Addams, usually seen as a child in previous Addams Family shows or movies, but now at a high school for outcasts, trying to harness her psychic powers and being a teenager.

Burton, known for mixing the weird and charming in films which include “Edward Scissorhands” and “Big Fish”, directs the first four of eight episodes of the new series.

“I feel like it was written for me because…I felt like I was her as a boy in school,” Burton told Reuters at the Lucca Comics and Games pop culture festival in Italy.

“That feeling about family, school, technology, therapy, it just spoke to me…so it was very easy to identify with all of that. The Addams Family has been done very well in different ways. I just like the idea of focusing on Wednesday and seeing her as a teenager.”

The series addresses trauma and mental health with Wednesday, played by Jenna Ortega, visiting a therapist – scenes Burton said were important to him personally.

“I still have issues…I feel very lucky…I had an outlet, whether it’s drawing or making films, to sort of exercise some of those demons and deal with some of those issues,” Burton said.

“And so seeing her…and how she deals with it was important to me.”

“Wednesday” stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman as Wednesday’s parents, Morticia and Gomez Addams, while Christina Ricci, who portrayed Wednesday in two 1990s films, plays teacher Miss Thornhill.

Ricci previously worked with Burton on “Sleepy Hollow”, alongside Johnny Depp, a frequent Burton collaborator.

Asked if he would work again with Depp, who is trying to rebuild his career after an ugly defamation fight with his ex-wife Amber Heard, Burton said: “If the right thing was around then sure.”

“I don’t really have any I’m going to work with my ex-wife or my friends or this or that because…I just do things because I want to do them.”

(Reporting by Alex Fraser; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Editing by Angus MacSwan)