`I'm no cartoon. I'm me. I'm flesh and blood'

Meet the real Bruce Wayne, the man behind the Batman comics. He suffered, the myth prospered. John Lyttle met him on the eve of the opening of `Batman Forever'

LETTER : When Edward D Wood really died

IN reference to Quentin Curtis's review of Tim Burton's Ed Wood (28 May), Edward D Wood Jr died in 1978, not 1969 as stated.

Such a sweet transvestite

Adam Mars-Jones applauds Tim Burton's affectionate tribute to Ed Wood, the worst director in Hollywood history

Who's a pretty boy then?

Johnny Depp is. But maybe he's too gorgeous for his own good. John Lyttle on the star of Don Juan DeMarco and Ed Wood

Wood-tinted glass

You can thank Tim Burton for the latest bloody Ed Wood revival. He's gone and made a biopic of the (too) much celebrated "worst director of all time". Called simply Ed Wood, it opens on 26 May and stars Johnny Depp as the man with a surfeit of enthusiasm and angora sweaters (he openly indulged his transvestism) but a distinct absence of talent. Unfortunately, Burton brings us no closer to either the man or the movies, but then that isn't what the fans are after. They want kitsch, kooks and sets that wobble in a light breeze. You'll get plenty of all that in the NFT's season, Ed Wood Jr: King (and sometimes Queen) of the Mad Mad Bs, now in its second week. Tonight, you can sample his most notorious work, Plan 9 From Outer Space (above), one of three Wood films featuring a washed-up Bela Lugosi. But the question is: will you stay to the end? Wood is a phenomenon that everyone likes to namecheck but you'll be hard pressed to find someone who has stuck one of his films out to the bitter end. Frankly, I'd rather strut through Battersea in pink angora than endure Bride of the Monster, which features Lugosi wrestling an inanimate rubber octopus. But then maybe I'm just weird.

Son of Dracula

Bela Lugosi Jr wants to place a curse on Tim Burton for misrepresenting his father in Ed Wood. Paul Duane reports

CINEMA / Amazing what you can do in a fortnight

HOLLYWOOD is all for originality, so long as it's tried and tested. In a town of formula hits, Tim Burton is a one-off. There have been raised eyebrows about the title of his animated movie, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG) - especially since Burton only produced the film, and was present for little more than a fortnight of its meticulous two-year shoot. And yet you have only to look at the six-minute animated short that comes with it, Vincent (U), Burton's first film, to see that this Nightmare owes more to one man's bad dreams than to all Disney's fantasies. The story of a boy who wants to grow up to be Vincent Price (who provides the narration), Vincent spindily embodies every feature of Burton's Nightmare style - its spidery drawing, macabre humour and tongue-in-cheek horror. It is Charles Addams with a Poe face.

FILM / Life is something to avoid': 'Beetlejuice', 'Batman', 'Edward Scissorhands': Tim Burton has never had a flop. His films have earned dollars 650m, yet he remains the odd man out in the Hollywood mainstream. Now he's into handmade animation and transvestite D-movie-makers

'I'm really sorry,' Tim Burton says as he falls into the room. 'I was really bad last night.' Bad how? Misbehaviour? 'Vomiting,' he says, looking for my hand to shake. 'All night. Being sick in Venice is really kinda sick.'

FILM / Making them like they used to: Studios hate them, actors love them and directors are driven wild by them. Sheila Johnston on the enduring appeal of black-and-white films

Penny Plain, Tuppence Coloured: since the dawn of mass reproduction, monochrome has always been the poor relation, and it often seems as if the movies hurtled headlong into inglorious Technicolor the minute the technology allowed. And yet, now and again, a director will insist that black-and-white can be much more than second best.

Kwai writer dies

French writer Pierre Boulle, whose novels inspired screen blockbusters Bridge on the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes, has died aged 81, Reuter reports from Paris.

Show People: If the cap fits, she'll wear it: Caroline Thompson

DUSK IS falling just beyond a western outreach of the M25, the gloomy hum of which you can hear in the background. The accent of every voice places the speakers inside that ring road. The scene is puddle-spattered Pinewood, last refuge of the British film industry, and we are standing, believe it or not, on the very spot where Gotham City used to be.

Dinosaurs take pounds 5m

The dinosaur thriller Jurassic Park from the film director Steven Spielberg took close to pounds 5m at the box office over its first weekend. The previous highest was pounds 2.7m for Batman Returns.

MUSICAL / A really close shave: Paul Taylor reviews the National's Sweeney Todd

WHEN Sondheim's Sweeney Todd first hit London 13 years ago, the design was in danger of upstaging the musical. Gazing at the huge iron gantries and mobile walkways of Eugene Lee's set, you kept thinking, 'Great, but when is the big chase scene?' It never came. Like all subsequent English productions, this spare, razor- sharp London revival by Declan Donnellan, in the Cottesloe, draws the audience into more intimate contact with the Grand Guignol grisliness and unsavoury farce, the throat slittings and the greedy, incognisant scoffing of human pies. The seven-strong chorus hold the flesh out on forks, temptingly, the public's proximity to the action rendering it a sitting target for the musical's accusatory, quasi-Brechtian stabs at social critique.

Batman takes on the Virginia gun lobby: David Usborne visits the state which is the main source of guns used in crime in eastern America

THE latest episode in the uphill campaign to wean Americans from owning guns features a Batman comic and a hardly draconian proposal to limit Virginians to buying only one gun a month. Nothing in it, though, is meant as a joke.
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Day In a Page

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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
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Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
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Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape