Frankenweenie's Inspiration? Tim Burton's Childhood Dog

10/04/2012 at 05:00 PM EDT

Tim Burton Talks Frankenweenie Inspiration, Dog Pepe
Victor and Sparky, stars of Frankenweenie, and Tim Burton (inset)
Disney ; Inset:Ryan Miller/Getty
Director Tim Burton's cannon of films has always featured elements of the supernatural or spooky, but the inspiration behind his new film Frankenweenie was, believe it or not, grounded in the real.

"I had this strong connection with a mutt we had named Pepe, and it was a good connection. Like your first love," he tells Reuters of the relationship that inspired the story about a boy named Victor who brings his beloved pet Sparky back to life.

"The dog was not meant to live very long because of a disease he had, but he ended up living quite a long time," Burton continues. "So you have this strong connection, and then you think: 'Well, how long is this going to last?' You don't really understand those concepts of death at the time."

Frankenweenie serves as a safe and positive way for kids to explore those feelings, according to the director, who dubs his film, "a fantasy, a wish-fulfillment."

Bringing his experience with Pepe to the silver screen also allowed Burton to tap into his imagination when it came to decisions like the dog's breed.

"My original drawings for the film are quite abstract. I was trying to make the dog more general with the right kind of spirit," he says. "But when it came to going with a real dog, [using a bull terrier] definitely felt like the right type. They're quite special-looking. The ones I've known have got good personalities."

Frankenweenie hits theaters Friday, October 5.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Adam Levine's Wedding Details!
  • James Garner: 1928-2014

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Latest Photos

Stars and Their Pets

Iggy's Main Squeeze

From Our Partners