Some years back, the MoMA in New York City curated a massive Tim Burton exhibition filled with concept art, storyboards, and other ephemera from Burton’s films. The surprising thing to me after attending was how many never-before-screen sketches and drawings were on display. After hearing what Ortega had to say about the way Burton would direct at points, it’s clear that the master of gothic fantasy (Burton’s tied with Guillermo Del Toro) is still just as much of an artist as he is a filmmaker. “First of all, he draws a lot of his shots,” she revealed. “So there were some days I would come into work and he would have his own little picture that he drew of me playing the cello or me fencing and he would say, ‘This is what you’re shooting.'” 

There’s such a childlike sense of creativity that comes through hearing about Burton sketching on the day to help Ortega visualize whatever acting challenge is thrown in front of her. Burton is essentially storyboarding shots for her on the fly, which is a very loose and liberating way to work. Burton would also politely take over at times when he wanted to get the look of Wednesday Addams just right, according to Ortega:

“Even on the first day when they were trying to establish what my hair was gonna look like we ran two hours behind because ‘No her braids are uneven. This one’s lower, this one’s higher.’ He didn’t like the way that my fringe looked at the time so he was just, ‘Hey can I do … do you mind if I do that?’ He asked the hairdresser very politely and just kind of did my hair himself.”