We might associate director Tim Burton's macabre characters and gothic aesthetic more with Halloween than with Thanksgiving, but Burton's upcoming contribution to a Thanksgiving tradition may change all that. Burton was recently asked if he would contribute a balloon float for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the gloomy auteur gladly accepted.
"It's such a surprise to be asked, and it was great," Burton said in an interview with The New York Times. "It's such a surreal thing that you don't even believe what you're hearing. Somebody's trying to play a joke on you or something. It had that kind of feeling."
The massive character float, known as B. Boy (B. for short), is playful and somewhat innocent, yet it does not come without a grim Burton background story to bolster the concept. B. was made from the leftover balloons used in children's parties at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Forbidden from playing with other children because of his mangled teeth and stitched-together face, B. fled to the basement where he watched Albert Lamorisse's "The Red Balloon" and dreamt that he would, one day, be able to embrace his balloon roots and float into the sky.
The "Edward Scissorhands" director has been in the crosshairs of the parade after they introduced their Blue Sky Gallery balloon series in 2005. Previous contributors to the series have included internationally renowned artists such as Jeff Koons, Keith Haring and Takashi Murakami, who escorted his creations in a custom-made costume. Despite Murakami's direct involvement in the parade, don't expect Burton to walk side-by-side with B. Boy. "I'll probably be hiding somewhere, in a building," he stated. "That's why I'm not an actor - I'm more a stay-behind-the-camera kind of a person. My marching-band days are over. I did that way back when, and I was pretty bad at it then, so leave it to the experts."