So, Tim Burton made another movie about weirdos — wonderful, delightful, heroic weirdos. With “Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children,” the legendary director tackles Ransom Riggs’ bestselling series about a cadre of kids with superpowers: one who can fly, one who’s invisible and a newbie, Jake (Asa Butterfield), who enters their world and proves he has powers of his own. Lording over them is Burton’s current muse, Eva Green, who plays the eponymous headmistress. Burton talks about how monster movies can be therapeutic for picked-on kids and whether or not he’d ever do another Batman movie (spoiler: who knows?).
What motivated you to make a movie adaption of Ransom Riggs’ novel?
At some point in our lives we have been misfits and have had to struggle to be understood. Perhaps I was a peculiar child, who lived between tragedy and comedy, so I was attracted to the novel by Ransom Riggs and the approach he made through images. That got to me.
You point out that you were a peculiar child. Did it set you apart from your classmates in a good or bad way?
I have my own peculiarities, and like everybody else I keep some wounds from high school. As a child, you never forget those feelings of being different; they stay with you forever. They would say I was peculiar because I loved monster movies. So you go through that sort of thing in your childhood and occasionally later in life. There are many people out there who feel that way, but the important thing is to make sense of that difference.
What is it about monster movies that appeals to you?
I've never been afraid of monster movies at all. It’s strange how monsters are always perceived as bad, and in most monster movies they are rarely bad. And kids love to dress like monsters. I think costumes and masks are a great release for small children. They somehow make you feel "normal." It is revealing and liberating, because those who do not follow the stereotypes of beauty and fashion are dubbed "weird.” People think I'm weird because of my hair, my dark side and my movies. And the truth is, well, maybe I am. [Laughs]