Tim Burton Gets the Creeps From Artificial Intelligence Imitating His Style

Tim Burton has made a career out of making films that unnerve and delight audiences at the same time. But the AI-generated imitations of his signature style that have popped up online just plain unnerve him.

The director of “Beetlejuice” and its upcoming sequel didn’t hold back in his thoughts on artificial intelligence in a new interview with The Independent, saying he was creeped out by a BuzzFeed piece in which AI was used to recreate various Disney characters in the signature Burton style made famous by films like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride.”

“I can’t describe the feeling it gives you. It reminded me of when other cultures say, ‘Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul,'” Burton said.

The filmmaker admitted that he thought some of the pictures the AI software came up with were “very good,” but they still felt like a violation of the artistic process that has been a “therapeutic thing” throughout his life.

“What it does is it sucks something from you. It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul,” he said.

Burton isn’t the only one who has condemned the software imitations of his signature style. Since AI burst into mainstream culture a year ago, Wes Anderson has also been a popular target for recreations, including videos where AI software generated “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” parodies in the style of the “Asteroid City” filmmaker.

“If somebody sends me something like that I’ll immediately erase it and say, ‘Please, sorry, do not send me things of people doing me,'” Anderson told The Times back in June. “I don’t want to see too much of someone else thinking about what I try to be because, God knows, I could then start doing it.”

Burton’s next film “Beetlejuice 2,” is set for release on Sept. 6, 2024.

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