It is no secret that Tim Burton has a core group of individuals with whom he prefers to work. The announcement that the primary voice cast of Burton’s upcoming flick, Frankenweenie, is composed entirely of familiar names in the Burtonverse comes as no surprise, then.
Burton first retold the classic story of Frankenstein back in 1984, with the short film Frankenweenie. 26 years and several blockbusters later, Burton is remaking that black & white, low-budget feature into a 3D, stop-motion animated feature, which is due on March of 2012.
The original Frankenweenie starred kid actor Barret Oliver – who appeared in popular 80s titles like The Neverending Story and Cocoon – as Victor Frankenstein, a young boy who resurrects his beloved dog after it is accidentally killed. Shelley Duvall (The Shining) and Daniel Stern (Home Alone) played the boy’s parents, who are naturally a bit concerned about his violating the laws of nature.
Martin Short (Mars Attack!) will voice Victor’s dad this time around, while Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas) will provide the vocals for his mom. The two have signed on to voice a total of ten characters in Frankenweenie, including that of – as identified in John August’s screenplay for the film – Bob, Mr. Bergermeister, Weird Girl, and Gym Teacher.
Joining Short and O’Hara will be Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice) in the role of Elsa and Oscar-winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood) as Mr. Rzykruski. No word yet on whether Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter will lend their voices to Frankenweenie, but will anyone be shocked if they do?
O’Hara has a fairly expressive (if shrill) voice, which she lent to the monster Judith in last year’s Where the Wild Things Are. Short has arguably the most comically expressive vocal tones of the crew. Both are fitting choices to voice a slew of what will undoubtedly be eccentric characters – with Ryder and Landau (literally) providing some voices of reason.
Burton’s last venture with stop-motion animation – the 2005 flick Corpse Bride – was not as inspired or creative as his previous efforts. It is still good to see him returning to the style of filmmaking that got his career going – hopefully, a return to his roots will help him recover some of his old creative spark as well.
Frankenweenie arrives in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on March 9th, 2012.