Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Tim Burton is Autistic (Episode 41)

Tim Burton is Autistic (Episode 41)

Join us as we dive into the spectacular (and spooky) mind of this Autistic director and his Autistic characters and friends!
Autistic Podcast | Is Tim Burton Autistic? Autism Podcast | Join us as we dive into the spectacular (and spooky) mind of this Autistic director and his Autistic characters and friends!
A: Twist! Turn! Upcoming! Okay, I can't wait to hear that one. M: Tricks and treats all around.

Happy Halloween!

*TW: This episode was recorded prior to the allegations against Danny Elfman breaking.  TACP stands with victims of assault and wish the Autistic community comfort and healing as we grapple with our feelings, both individually and collectively. Please, take care. For more support and resources, please read our guest blog “When Your Special Interest Turns Out to be Problematic.”

Autistic hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, are talking all things Tim Burton! While he hasn’t shared about a formal autism diagnosis, Burton publicly identifies as Autistic, which is no surprise to the Autistic community, based on his creative style, tendency to work repeatedly with the same actors he connects with, and stories that center misunderstood outsiders.

Burton was fascinated by classic monster movies as a kid and felt he related to the "monsters" for being different—something Autistic individuals know all about! Growing up, he enjoyed dedicated, creative expression by making homemade monster movies.

Burton struggled in school and was considered a bad student. He may have had dyslexia (or, perhaps, a similar reading difference that is unique to the Autistic hyper-connected brain) which made reading difficult.

“I've seen some people who are genuinely dyslexic—because it's an issue with rods and cones and they can make glasses and all this other sort of stuff—but, a lot of autistic people, our ‘meat eyeballs’ don't move as fast as our lightning fast brains. So we sort of skip over words and letters and our brain fills in the blanks, and it may not be accurate.” —Matt

Burton had trouble connecting with his father who didn't understand his creative interests. His mother owned an artsy cat-themed gift shop which likely influenced him as a child and his later career as an adult.

After being fired by Disney for making Frankenweenie (considered too dark), Burton connected with Paul Reubens who asked him to direct Pee-Wee's Big Adventure based on seeing Burton's short film Vincent.

Many of Burton's films feature misunderstood outcasts and themes of feeling like a misfit (Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, etc). He gravitates towards other Hollywood eccentrics and outsiders—many of whom we think might also be on the autism spectrum.

Burton works repeatedly with the same actors like Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter who "get" his Autistic communication style. He has called his relationships an "unwritten language."

“But I never really thought of it from like, if you have an autistic communication style, there will be fewer people who naturally get you, just percentage wise. And so when you find people who get you, whether they're allistic or autistic, it's like, can I stick with the people who get me? Because it's so tiring otherwise.” —Angela

Burton has sometimes struggled creatively when pressured to make big moneymakers, but when left to his own creative process, he makes movies that become wildly popular cult-classics with strong followings, especially in the Autistic community.

At 06:40 Angela figures something out—what is it, and what clues from Matt led her to that discovery?

Related episodes…

Who invented motion pictures? This Autistic artist! Motion Pictures are Autistic

Was Walt Disney Autistic? We think so! Episode 26: Disney is Autistic

Whether you relate to the book-loving beauty or the isolated beast, check out Episode 34: Beauty & the Beast is Autistic

Burton’s recent Netflix show features an Autistic character…or does it? We get into it, in Episode 17: Wednesday is Autistic?

Ready for a paradigm shift that empowers Autistics? Help spread the news!


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Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit