Imagine a live-action Corpse Bride movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Jenna Ortega and Timothée Chalamet. That’s exactly what fans of the stop-motion film have suggested. And we can’t disagree. It’s a great idea.
If there’s a filmmaker that knows how to knock it out of the park with each new stop-motion film he releases, that would be Tim Burton. Each of his animated films can be considered a classic, with its unique art style and gothic influences always set them apart from other “kid movies.”
2005’s Corpse Bride is a movie that perfectly encapsulates Burton’s style: from the macabre setting to the creepy character designs, this movie has everything you could ask for in a Burton flick. It was also the first stop-motion film ever directed by Burton, as he had only produced two other films using the same animation technique which are usually attributed to him — A Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.
The film was a success among both critics and audiences alike, paving the way for more successful stop-motion projects such as Coraline and Frankenweenie. Now, almost two decades since its release, fans are wondering if Burton would ever be willing to produce or even direct a live-action movie adaptation of his first stop-motion project, Corpse Bride. He turned Frankenweenie, one of his earliest film projects, into a stop-motion feature film — so why not do the same thing with Corpse Bride?
While there have been no rumours about a remake or anything of the sort coming from Burton, fans have already begun their casting for the live-action movie adaptation of Corpse Bride. Among the many names being thrown around on Twitter and other social media platforms, there are two actors who keep showing up as lead candidates for the live-action movie roles of Corpse Bride‘s Victor and Emily: Timothée Chalamet and Jenna Ortega.
When it comes to Chalamet as Victor Van Dort, the decision seems rather obvious. Burton as a filmmaker, has always had a “type” when it comes to his male leads: they’re always gaunt, pale weirdos with pitch-black hair. While Chalamet is certainly not a weirdo, he can absolutely play one, and his physical characteristics make him the ideal pick for someone like Victor.
Timothée Chalamet would be playing the live-action Corpse Bride movie protagonist, who is a mild-mannered victorian-era bachelor who finds himself in a rather complicated affair when he unknowingly marries a deceased bride, Emily. To his surprise, however, he discovers that the world of the dead is just as much alive and well as the living. If anyone can pull this role off, it will definitely be Chalamet — especially considering how darkly comedic this film is.
He would also be reimagining a role that was originally given to Johnny Depp, but thankfully, we don‘t think Burton would mind having another actor take over the part. His recent performances in movies such as Dune and Little Women — not to mention his upcoming starring role in Wonka — should put the young actor right on Burton’s radar.
It’s also worth mentioning that Chalamet is just the right age to portray Victor. As mentioned earlier, Corpse Bride takes place in Victorian England, where Chalamet also fits quite nicely. Still, this would mark the first collaboration between Chalamet and Burton, so maybe this could open doors for future projects together.
The same can’t be said of Jenna Ortega as Emily, however, as she has already met with the mastermind behind Corpse Bride. While Ortega has been popular with tweens for quite a while now, her career has reached a new high thanks to the massive popularity of Netflix’s Wednesday, a modern re-imagining of the Addams Family.
Helmed by Tim Burton himself. Wednesday has become an overnight sensation over at Netflix, and much of the fanfare surrounding the show stems from the fact that Ortega plays Wednesday in a way that feels right at home with the rest of Burton’s signature macabre style.
Jenna Ortega as a live-action movie version of Corpse Bride‘s Emily sounds like a match made in heaven: a beautiful yet eccentric girl whose beauty masks a very strange personality. She isn’t your typical Disney princess — she’s quirky, sarcastic, and doesn’t really care what people think of her. In short, Ortega is perfect for the role! Sure, Emily might be a bit more “sweet” than Wednesday by a mile, but then again, Ortega also has experience playing “cuter” characters in the past, thanks to her experience working on the Disney Channel.
Jenna Ortega and Timothée Chalamet haven’t worked on a project together before, but judging by their previous work, I see no reason why these two wouldn’t get along perfectly. They share similar traits and seem to understand how to capture their niches as performers. Plus, they’re both extremely talented; it only makes sense for them to team up for something.
The only real question remaining here is whether Tim Burton would be up to remaking one of his most beloved films, let alone adapting it to a completely different format.
One of the best parts about animation — traditional or otherwise — is how it gives filmmakers a larger amount of freedom when it comes to storytelling. This is exactly why Burton chose stop-motion filmmaking for Corpse Bride back in the day instead of CGI or a live-action movie. After all, and as I mentioned before, this was the first stop-motion film directed by Burton, and that’s for a reason: the world of the dead, as colorful and unique as it is, would only work using the stop-motion aesthetic. If you don’t believe me, take a look at what the sets on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory look like.
Still, if there’s one filmmaker that could make this happen, it would have to be Burton himself. He knows his stuff, after all. It goes without saying that he understands the genre better than any other director out there today, which means he should know exactly how to adapt Corpse Bride into a live-action movie version.
As I mentioned before, there’s still no word on a live-action movie version of Corpse Bride, but as far as fans are concerned, Timothée Chalamet and Jenna Ortega are the only actors who could play Victor and Emily respectively. Let’s hope that, if that adaptation ever happens, Burton captures lightning in a bottle again and turns Corpse Bride into a live-action movie masterpiece.