`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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