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Tim Burton, the legendary director of 1988‘s Beetlejuice, just gave fans an exciting new update regarding its upcoming sequel Beetlejuice 2.
Wednesday star Jenna Ortega will dive back into the horror genre with a leading role in the Beetlejuice sequel, teaming up with the original movie’s star Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton.
The sequel was forced to shut down production due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, although those involved are eagerly awaiting the chance to get back to work and complete the film.
Speaking with BFI, Beetlejuice 2 director/producer Tim Burton updated fans on where the sequel stands in terms of completing production.
When asked how the movie is coming along, Burton revealed the crew only had “a day and a half left” of production to finish before the strikes started, noting that filming is “98, 99% done:”
“Good, except we had a day and a half left before the strike happened. I feel lucky that we got as far as we did. It is like 98, 99% done. It was a great experience. It reinvigorated my love of making movies.”
Burton also addressed how great it has been for him to work with the original film’s stars, including Delia star Catherine O’Hara, sharing that he kept in touch with this cast more than other movies he’s made:
“Yeah, incredible. It’s so weird because I don’t overly keep in contact with people, but this was very special, because obviously the sequel had been talked about for 35 years. I truly never quite understood the success of the first one. It’s one of life’s beautiful mysteries.”
He also explained that he “didn’t look at the first movie” while making Beetlejuice 2:
“When I did this one, I didn’t look at the first movie, because it didn’t feel like it would help. I treated it just very much as a project where, after 35 years, the anchor for me is what happened to Lydia, what happened to the Deetz family? What happened to the living people? What happens to people we see at one stage in their life, then you see them many years later? What the fuck happened to that person?”
Burton’s core ideas for the film center on what happened to the human characters after more than three decades off the big screen:
“What happened to Catherine? What happened to Charles? This is what interests me. This is what gives it an anchor for me. Where are these people after 35 years?”
There were also no real digital effects used for this sequel, with Burton and company focusing on “puppets, strings, wires, [and] makeup” to capture the same spirit the original movie had in 1988:
“So that anchored the emotion and the feeling, then working with Michael and Winona and Catherine, and also with Jenna [Ortega] and having these new people, all this beautiful new blood into it. We ended up doing the same idea – no digital effects, puppets, strings, wires, makeup, and tried to shoot it with the same spirit; with all these actors, they’re so good at improv. I didn’t realize until lately, we shot about the same number of days as the first one.”
In the end, it brought Burton “back to the good old days” to work that way on Beetlejuice 2 while rekindling his relationships with so many of the original cast members:
“Working with these people again, and seeing them all, it was very emotional for me. Again, just going back to the old, same puppets and techniques. It goes back to the good old days.”
Getting the news that Beetlejuice 2 is mere days away from finishing production (whenever cameras can get rolling) is certainly an exciting prospect, meaning that the only big thing to complete after that will be more minimal CGI work and special effects.
While Deadline reported that the film is currently set for release on September 6, 2024, whether the sequel makes that date will all depend on when the aforementioned strikes come to an end.
Chances are high that Warner Bros. is working hard on post-production for Beetlejuice 2 with the movie being very close to completely shot, assuming not much has to be redone in reshoots.
Currently, Beetlejuice 2 is set to debut in theaters on September 6, 2024.