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Catching up with Martin Short

The veteran comic actor talks reteaming with Tim Burton, playing it straight and whether he’ll be back on ‘Arrested Development.’

Martin Short first worked with Tim Burton in 1996's "Mars Attacks!" Given Burton's penchant for familiar faces -- or voices -- it's no surprise Short is back for "Frankenweenie," voicing three very different characters in the stop-motion animation feature. Martin says it's always nice to be asked back -- as long as the director is any good.



How is it being a part of Tim Burton's troupe, having a director say, "I want you back"?

Well, obviously if the director is horrible you say, "Who gives a s---?" [Laughs] But in Tim's case, you're honored, you're complimented. And we did really like each other. We like each other a lot.

You don't hear a lot of bad things about Tim.

Because of his position of power and his reputation of creativity, he would therefore be allowed to pull off being moody one day on the set. ... But I always see him, especially in a work situation, in a joyful, joyful state of mind. He's happy to be there. That's the trick of Tim, he's not what you think he would be -- or what one might think he might be, which would be, "I wonder if he's scary? I wonder if he's brooding?" He's just a joke guy.



But behind all-black clothing and sunglasses and the hair.

Well, that's his hair. And I think that he just likes black jackets.



How often during these press junkets are you reminded of your own celebrity interviewer character, Jiminy Glick?

Well you know, the misconception of Jiminy was that he was satirizing you guys, and he wasn't at all. He was satirizing morons with power.



Which of your characters do people ask you to reprise the most often?

I mean, obviously people will talk about Franc, they'll talk about Jiminy, they'll talk about Ed Grimly or Jackie Rogers Jr. You know, they'll talk about these characters that have been around for a while. But sometimes they'll go obscure. I did an episode of "Arrested Development," and people come up and talk about Uncle Jack.



Is Uncle Jack showing up again in the relaunch of the show?

I had dinner with Mitch Hurwitz about a year and a half ago and he said, "We've got to get Uncle Jack back," but no one's sent the script. Let's put it that way. But I loved that guy.



You voice three characters in this film, but your primary character — Victor’s father — is pretty normal. Is that odd for you?




I think if that were the only voice I was doing, I might — I would’ve done it anyway because it’s Tim, I love Tim — but if it were not Tim, you kind of go, “Well I don’t know why you need me for this.” But I’ve always made sure in my specials over the years that there was one scene where I played myself to give the audience an understanding of that’s who he is.

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