Tim Burton and Micheal Keaton’s “Beetlejuice 2” only had a day and a half left of filming when the SAG-AFTRA strike shut production down indefinitely. The Warner Bros.’-backed production started filming in May in London amid the WGA strike.
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“I feel grateful we got what we got,” Burton told The Independent in a recent interview. “Literally, it was a day and a half. We know what we have to do. It is 99 per cent done.”
“On this last one, Beetlejuice 2, I really enjoyed it,” the director also said, about how rare it is to work on a big Hollywood tentpole and actually like it. “I tried to strip everything and go back to the basics of working with good people and actors and puppets. It was kind of like going back to why I liked making movies.”
“Beetlejuice 2” is the sequel to Burton and Keaton’s beloved 1998 cult classic. Keaton is back in the title role, opposite returning cast members Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara. New faces to the franchise include Burton’s “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Monica Bellucci and Justin Theroux. Keaton previously told Empire magazine that Burton was prioritizing practical effects on the “Beetlejuice 2” set.
“Beetlejuice is the most fuckin’ fun you can have working,” Keaton said. “It’s so fun, it’s so great. And you know what it is? We’re doing it exactly like we did the first movie. There’s a woman in the great waiting room for the afterlife literally with a fishing line – I want people to know this because I love it – tugging on the tail of a cat to make it move.”
He continued, “It has to be done as close to the way we made it the first time. Making stuff up, making stuff happen, improvising and riffing, but literally handmade stuff like people creating things with their hands and building something. Fuckin’ great. It’s the most fun I’ve had working on a movie in I can’t tell you how long.”
For Burton, “Beetlejuice 2” marks his first feature directorial effort since 2019’s “Dumbo.” He swore off working for Disney after the experience of making a tentpole there.
“The thing about ‘Dumbo,’ is that’s why I think my days with Disney are done,” he said last year at the Lumière Festival in Lyon. “I realized that I was Dumbo, that I was working in this horrible big circus and I needed to escape. That movie is quite autobiographical at a certain level.”
Warner Bros. is set to release “Beetlejuice 2” in theaters on September 6, 2024.