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Danny Elfman On Sequel, ‘Wednesday’ Score In Concert – Deadline

Composer Danny Elfman has expressed his excitement about returning to the world of Beetlejuice, the iconic 1988 film on which he partnered with longtime filmmaking collaborator Tim Burton.

“I love being a fly on the wall when he’s shooting. I’ll be doing that in a couple of months, as you may know, on another Tim Burton project,” said Elfman during the taping for an upcoming episode of Deadline’s The Process, alluding to the sequel. “That is very exciting, to return to that world.”

Elfman shared that someone recently asked him, “Really, after all these years? Michael Keaton?”, referring to the actor’s return as the titular ghoul. “I said, ‘He’s not even going to look that much different. That’s the beauty of the Beetlejuice makeup. He already looked like he was 150 in the first one.’”

Continued Elfman, “It’s perfect, you know? Everybody else has to play the next generation, except for Michael. I mean, he’s still like really fit and really active and really on it. And with the Beetlejuice makeup, I can’t even imagine it’s going to look like he’s changed practically at all. So, I can’t wait for that.”

Also starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder, the original Beetlejuice watches as the spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, hiring a malicious spirit of the same name to drive them out. The film that Warren Skaaren adapted from a story by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson grossed nearly $75M worldwide upon its 1988 release via Warner Bros and won an Academy Award in 1989 for Best Makeup.

Details as to the sequel’s plot are under wraps, though it’s understood that Burton will return to direct from a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the co-creators and co-showrunners of the smash hit Netflix series Wednesday, on which he is a direct and EP, and for which Elfman has composed the score. Keaton and Ryder are expected to reprise their roles, with Jenna Ortega joining the cast as the daughter of Ryder’s Lydia. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is also aboard the project, which will shoot this summer in London.

Elfman’s Beetlejuice comments came during a chat with Wednesday‘s Gough and Millar, during which he expressed his desire to perform his music for the show in concert, as he has for so many of the iconic films with which he’s been involved. “I can see that’s going to have to happen at some point…I think it’s kind of inevitable because we still do this show, Elfman-Burton — you know, music from the films of Tim Burton — and perform it all over the place. I have performances coming up this year and it’s like, that’s got to find it’s way in there,” said the Emmy- and Grammy-winning composer. “It’s inevitable that it’s going to have to happen sometime because I feel like it’s really now part of the Elfman-Burton, Burton-Elfman thing that we’ve created, the Wednesday theme.”

Based on beloved characters created by Charles Addams, Wednesday follows Wednesday Addams (Ortega), a teenager gifted with psychic abilities who looks to solve a mystery and stop a killing spree at her new school, Nevermore Academy. The show proved a breakout phenomenon upon its release last fall, becoming the second most-watched English-language series in Netflix’s history following its first three weeks on the platform and landing two Golden Globe nominations earlier this year including Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, also of course being picked up for a second season.

Elfman shared that he came to the project with a great love of the Addams Family, having grown up with past series adaptations of the ’60s and ’70s. “I’m a child of that era, so…it was definitely a part of my young DNA,” he said. “When I was a kid, it was really the early days of television…And so getting these early shows of The Addams Family and The Munsters and the original Batman, it was such a huge deal for us. Because obviously, a young person can’t fathom what it’s like only having like three channels and a very few number of choices. When something came out that really caught your attention, it was a big deal.”

Elfman also shared that these days, he’s splitting his time between creating quite different kinds of music — classical, rock and roll (evoking his past as founder of the new wave group Oingo Boingo) and “monster music” for a theme park in Orlando. “How to keep yourself fresh is really always the trick for anybody with a long career,” he reflected. “You know, it’s real easy, for me, after a hundred or 110 films or something, just to kind of coast on, ‘All right, I’ve got this certain kind of thing, and I’ll get a couple of films every year, and that’s what I do,’ and rest on my past. But it just doesn’t make me happy. So, I just have to keep working on new, challenging things.”

To view Elfman’s edition of The Process, check back in a couple of weeks.

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