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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Celebrity in its Natural Habitat

Last week The Daily Mail published this article about the home life of Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, no doubt to capitalize on the buzz around the new "Alice in Wonderland", which is coming out Friday. Publicity ploy or not, the article is actually really interesting, and feeds into that "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" vein that is a guilty pleasure for so many (including, alas, myself).

It's hard to say what fuels the interest in celebrity culture. Is it a desire to escape the tedium of our own simple existence by focusing on the grander "news" of the celebrity culture? Is it the social satisfaction that comes from collectively "knowing" these individuals in society? Or is it the sick joy we get from seeing these seemingly perfect people fall from grace and become spectacular train wrecks? Maybe a little of each.

This Tim Burton article certainly focuses on the iconic nature of the subject. He is one of the most recognized auteurs of this generation. And by bringing the focus away from his films and into what its like in his house, we are getting a heavy dose of that "behind-the-scenes" magic that makes people feel more connected and included in the world of their idol.

What makes this article such a choice cut of celebrity meat is the combination of normalcy and the fantastic. Why, Helena B.C. and Tim B. are just like us in a lot of ways! But they're also really, really weird.

1. They live in a grand house in London that they've cut in half to make "his and hers" apartments. They each have their own kitchen, and basically have their own little places that are decorated to their own tastes and are conjoined by a grand hall.

2. Their children (ages 6 and 2) have their own grand house down the street where they live with their Nanny.

3. They met while filming the 2001 remake of "Planet of the Apes". Tim Burton apparently found his future-muse to be "most attractive" when she was in character as Ari. A Monkey.

Um, okay....

EDIT: So the paper published a retraction saying that the kids living in a separate house part isn't true. That they, like their parents, share a conjoined loft area. Keep in mind though, the monkey thing still stands!

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