Tim Burton On Diversity in Film: 'Things Either Call For Things, or They Don’t'

Image via Fox

In a recent interview, director Tim Burton had some fun things to say about why his upcoming children’s movie has a mostly white cast.

Burton is promoting his latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, based on the popular YA book. In their piece, Bustle notes that given the novel’s range of characters, the director had the chance to literally cast a wide net, but the actors in the movie consist of primarily white people and the man who’s been in every movie ever made, Samuel L. Jackson. Here’s Burton’s response to a question about this issue:

“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he says regarding on-screen diversity. But “things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct, like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black — I used to get more offended by that than just — I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”


If he doesn’t care, he doesn’t care and it’s not his agenda. But Burton doesn’t really explain why this particular film didn’t call for a varied cast. Maybe what he’s trying to get at is the annoying issue of filmmakers blatantly trying to cull brownie points for casting one-half or one person who isn’t white or when they treat the idea of inclusion as some tedious P.C. quota. Or maybe he means that certain worlds depicted on screen are exclusionary or secluded for story sake. If so, that isn’t clear.

Samuel L. Jackson, for his part, is rather indifferent about the whole thing. “I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” Jackson told Bustle. “And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”

Image via Warner Bros.

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