“The best time I ever had”–producer Richard D. Zanuck reflects on his work with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

Richard D. Zanuck bears a legendary Hollywood name, but as he told Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not a nostalgia guy.” Mr. Zanuck is more interested in the movies he’s making right now: “These last few years, working with Tim Burton, it’s been the best time I’ve ever had.” Three of the 75-year-old Mr. Zanuck’s recent ventures–Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–were collaborations with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and the trio are planning to film a new version of Dark Shadows sometime after Johnny concludes work on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Johnny Depp has high praise for Richard Zanuck: “A more elegant and distinguished gentleman you couldn’t hope to meet, let alone collaborate with,” JD told Geoff Boucher. The feeling is apparently mutual. Boucher’s profile of Mr. Zanuck, published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, includes the following vignette of the producer watching his star perform on the green-screen set of Alice in Wonderland: “Richard Zanuck sat behind Burton and watched as the director guided Depp and costar Crispin Glover through a sword fight for a climactic fight scene,” writes Boucher. “As Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, both in costume, watched, Depp worked on his new blade technique [. . .] Glover, meanwhile, was balanced atop stilts that would make his knavish character resemble a playing-card character come to life.”

Notes Boucher, “Even with all of that going on, Zanuck was more interested in young visitors to the set that day: Depp’s children, who had come to see their father do imaginary battle. ‘Johnny is a terrific father,’ Zanuck whispered. ‘Those kids mean everything to him. He’s one of the biggest stars in history, but that’s not what matters most to him.'”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the article; you can read more excerpts on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum. To read the full profile, called “Richard D. Zanuck is a working legend,” CLICK HERE; it’s an engaging profile of a fascinating man.

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