Ed Wood


2h 7m 1994

Brief Synopsis

The legendary B-movie director fights to realize his vision of how films should be made.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Biography
Drama
Period
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Todd Russell
Distribution Company
Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Location
Hollywood, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 7m

Synopsis

Ed Wood, the brains behind 1959's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and 1953's "Glen or Glenda?" gathers together a group of strange friends to make movies so terrible they have become classics.

Crew

Josephine Matthew Adair

Location Assistant

Scott Alexander

Screenplay

Carrie Angland

Makeup

Ray Anthony

Song

John Arkell

Song

Colleen Atwood

Costume Designer

Leonard Auletti

Song

Kerry Bailey

Production Assistant

Rick Baker

Makeup

Matt Barry

Casting Associate

David Bergad

Assistant Sound Editor

Beth Bernstein

Art Department Coordinator

Alan Blaisdale

Director Of Photography

Angela Bonner

Production Assistant

Paul Boyington

Main Title Design

Paul Boyington

Visual Effects Supervisor

Alan Braden

Song

Irene Brafstein

Other

John Branagan

Stunt Coordinator

Dina Brendlinger

Production Assistant

Francie Brown

Dialect Coach

Tim Burton

Producer

Bruce Campbell

Song

Clark Campbell

Apprentice

Andrea Canovas

Apprentice

Pat Carman

Transportation Coordinator

Phil Carr-forster

Camera Operator

James Carson

Visual Effects

John F Cassidy

Key Grip

Joan E Chapman

Dialogue Editor

Lisa Chino

Assistant Sound Editor

Stephanie Colin

Costumes

Kyrsten Mate Comoglio

Assistant Sound Editor

Bridget M. Cook

Hair Stylist

Bruce Corkam

Assistant

Jeff Courtie

Adr Mixer

Joshua S Culp

Visual Effects

Stefan Czapsky

Director Of Photography

Bill Dance

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Allison M Davies

Artistic Advisor

Kenny Davis

Dolly Grip

Robert Dawson

Main Title Design

Pam Difede

Assistant Editor

Patrick Dodd

Dialogue Editor

Don Donigi

Consultant

Jessica Drake

Dialect Coach

Richard Duarte

Foley

Tom Duffield

Production Designer

Trevor Duncan

Song

Ray Evans

Song

Dolly Ferry

Property Master

Michael Flynn

Coproducer

Ernie Fosselius

Dialogue Editor

Vic Fraser

Other

Gary Gillingham

Production Accountant

Steven Givens

Best Boy

Otniel Gonzalez

Props Assistant

Keith Grant

Other

Lawrence Grassedonio

Production Assistant

Rudolph Grey

Book As Source Material

Jane Harrison

Accounting Assistant

John Hermansen

Production Assistant

Bruce Robert Hill

Set Designer

Sam Hinkley

Dialogue Editor

Al Hobbs

Production Assistant

Amy Hobby

Assistant

Richard R Hoover

Consultant

Evan Jacobs

Visual Effects

Howard Jensen

Special Effects Coordinator

Victoria Jensen

Apprentice

Larry Karaszewski

Screenplay

Sandra Kaufman

Assistant Editor

Lidia Kavina

Soloist

John Keating

Song Performer

Tom Keefer

Best Boy Grip

John Kurlander

Music

Julie Laprath

Accounting Assistant

Hal Lary

Transportation Captain

Chris Lebenzon

Editor

Michael Lehmann

Executive Producer

James Leonard

Production

Scott Levitin

Dialogue Editor

Linda Lew

Foley

Ed Lippman

Location Assistant

Jay Livingston

Song

Dennis J Lootens

Rigging Gaffer

Barry T Lopez

Grip

Dave Luke

Rerecording

Lucia Mace

Hair Stylist

Ken Mantlo

Boom Operator

Paul Marco

Special Thanks To

Elizabeth Matthews

Location Manager

Nancy Mcardle

Costume Department

Jeanne Mccarthy

Casting Associate

Susan P Mccarthy

Production Coordinator

Michael A Mccue

Assistant Director

Jim Mcloughlin

Production

Rob Meisenholder

Accountant

Roger Meryett

Foreman

Scott Mislan

Location Assistant

Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Assistant Sound Editor

Diana Leigh Myers

Location Manager

Jennifer Myers

Foley Artist

Keith Neely

Art Assistant

Ve Neill

Makeup Artist

Christopher S Nushawg

Set Designer

John Nutt

Sound Editor

Margie O'malley

Foley Artist

Peter Tully Owen

Production Assistant

Korla Pandit

Song Performer

Korla Pandit

Song

David Parker

Rerecording

Philip J Pettiette

Production Assistant

Kevin Pike

Special Effects

Jeryd Pojawa

Production Designer

Michael Polaire

Unit Production Manager

Erik Polczwartek

On-Set Dresser

Perez Prado

Song Performer

Perez Prado

Song

Richard Quinn

Assistant Sound Editor

Matt Rose

Production

Cricket Rowland

Set Decorator

Brian Ruberg

Adr Mixer

Lee Runnels

Other

Todd Russell

Cable Operator

John Samson

Construction Coordinator

Walter P Scharfe

Special Thanks To

Richard Schirmer

Rerecording

Stephanie Schwartzman

Assistant

Ellen Segal

Music Editor

Mark Segurson

Production Assistant

Tom Seid

Editor

Michael Semanick

Rerecording

Howard Shore

Original Music

Howard Shore

Music

Gregory K Simmons

Assistant Director

Michelle Skoby

Assistant

Kenn Smiley

Costume Supervisor

Lydia Smith

Other

Tammy L Smith

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Janna Stern

Script Supervisor

Jane Ann Stewart

Production Assistant

Mark Streapy

Camera Operator

Joy Taylor

Assistant Property Master

Wesley Terry

Production Assistant

Vickie Thomas

Casting

Edward Tise

Sound

Mike Topoozian

Assistant Director

Yolanda Toussieng

Hair Stylist

Eric Tramp

Assistant Camera Operator

Rosemarie Unite

Dga Trainee

John Vecchio

Gaffer

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Music

Kathy Wood

Special Thanks To

Tammy Wood

Assistant Production Coordinator

Mary Works

Assistant Sound Editor

Paul Zydel

Adr Mixer

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Biography
Drama
Period
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Todd Russell
Distribution Company
Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Location
Hollywood, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 7m

Award Wins

Best Makeup

1994
Ve Neill

Best Supporting Actor

1994
Martin Landau

Articles

Ed Wood


At first glance one of the least likely people to have their life story filmed is Ed Wood, the flamboyantly bad filmmaker sometimes called "the world's worst." But however awful his films might seem initially, they do hold up to repeated viewings almost as surely as Citizen Kane (1941), but for completely different reasons - the sheer ineptness is fascinating, often reaching inspired peaks of lunacy. Wood's life was also quite unusual and at times deeply depressing as he scurried for decades around the fringe of Hollywood. So it was only a matter of time before Tim Burton added the director to his gallery of outsiders in a film simply titled Ed Wood (1994).

Ed Wood was a fascinating figure. For years he wrote numerous scripts and cheap paperback originals, sometimes even getting the chance to direct. He's remembered today primarily for a trio of stupefying, low-low budget films: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958), Glen or Glenda (1953) and Bride of the Monster (1956). All are mind-blastingly ramshackle concoctions but also genuinely entertaining and constantly fascinating. (Wood also directed several other films such as Jail Bait, 1954, and the tawdry thriller The Sinister Urge, 1961, but these are actually dull in comparison with the unholy trio mentioned above.) On top of that he was a WW2 veteran (he participated in the invasion of Tarawa, a bloodier event than D-Day) who liked to wear women's clothing. He even had a girlfriend, Dolores Fuller, who later wrote songs for Elvis Presley.

This is more or less the world that Burton explores in Ed Wood. The director admits he wasn't aiming for strict faithfulness in his portrait of Wood. "I wasn't there with these people, I don't know them, but I have a feeling about them. So that's what I'm doing. I'm doing my feeling," he told Mark Salisbury in the book-length interview Burton on Burton. Burton remembered seeing several Wood films when he was a child but didn't watch them again while actually shooting Ed Wood. Burton worked hard to achieve the delicate tone of the film. "The movie is dramatic, and I think there are some funny things in it, but it's treading a fine line because I never wanted it to be jokey. Never. I'm with them. I'm not laughing at them." (This attitude is typical of all of Burton's films.)

Before Ed Wood, Burton was in the planning stages of Mary Reilly, an adaptation of Valerie Martin's novel that postulates the Jekyll and Hyde story from the viewpoint of a maid (to be played by Winona Ryder). However, when the studio decided to make it more commercial by putting Julia Roberts into the title role, Burton was replaced. (That film eventually appeared in 1996.) That's when Burton came across a ten-page story treatment about Wood written by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, previously known for the two Problem Child movies. However, the duo wanted to avoid being typed as children's writers. (They would later write more biopics: The Man on the Moon, 1999; The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996; and the forthcoming The Marx Brothers.)

Karaszewski and Alexander had originally approached their USC school chum Michael Lehman, director of Heathers (1989), and he in turn took it to Heathers producer Denise Di Novi. She originally planned to co-produce Ed Wood with Burton. However, Tim, who was between projects, decided to step in as director as well. Surprisingly, Karaszewski and Alexander took only six weeks to produce a 147-page script that Burton agreed to direct without any further changes. (Though apparently Burton later incorporated material from Rudolph Grey's superlative Wood biography Nightmare of Ecstasy.) Burton later claimed one reason he responded so quickly was because he was then living in Poughkeepsie, New York, Wood's hometown. Another obvious reason is that Wood's relationship with Bela Lugosi parallels Burton's own with his longtime idol Vincent Price.

Next came the hardest part. Ed Wood was being developed by Columbia Pictures, but when Burton decided the film "had to be in black and white" - generally considered a commercial no-no - the studio decided to drop the film only a month before filming was planned to start. Other studios were quickly interested but Burton finally went with one who offered him complete control, which, perhaps surprisingly, was Disney. Burton had started his film career as an animator at Disney and they did The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) with him so he felt comfortable working with the company.

With a budget of $18 million, shooting finally started in August 1993. Burton brought back some veterans of his earlier films like Johnny Depp (who'd played another Ed in Edward Scissorhands, 1990) and Jeffrey Jones (from Beetlejuice, 1988). Burton was particularly inspired in his other casting choices, which mirrored the eccentricities of the people that hung out with Wood. Saturday Night Live's Bill Murray was given an early chance to prove what a surprisingly versatile actor he can be, while Burton's biggest coup was getting Martin Landau as Lugosi. ("I think he just could relate to it," Burton remembered, "and had been through enough ups and downs to understand Bela Lugosi.") Landau's spooky performance nabbed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Landau's daughter Juliet (a familiar face to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) also appears. Others include Sarah Jessica Parker (of HBO's Sex and the City series), Patricia Arquette (True Romance, 1993) and in a small role as Vampira the Unknown, Lisa Marie who would shortly become Burton's real-life girlfriend. There are even some actors who appeared in actual Wood films like Gregory Walcott (a film backer), Conrad Brooks (a bartender) and Paul Marco.

Ed Wood ends right after the premiere of Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1959 without chronicling Wood's real-life descent into alcoholism and pornography. The film gathered two Oscars (a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for Martin Landau and one for Best Makeup), and favorable reviews from Roger Ebert, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Leonard Maltin and others. Still, this wasn't enough to pull viewers into the theaters, so Ed Wood became Burton's first film that didn't make money even though it's considered one of his best.

Producer: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi
Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Production Design: Thomas A. Duffield, Richard Hoover, Michael Polaire
Cinematography: Stefan Czapsky
Costume Design: Colleen Atwood
Film Editing: Chris Lebenzon
Original Music: Howard Shore
Principal Cast: Johnny Depp (Ed Wood), Martin Landau (Bela Lugosi), Sarah Jessica Parker (Dolores Fuller), Patricia Arquette (Kathy O'Hara), Jeffrey Jones (Criswell), G. D. Spradlin (Rev. Lemon), Vincent D'Onofrio (Orson Welles), Billy Murray (Bunny Breckenridge), Lisa Marie (Vampira), George "The Animal" Steele (Tor Johnson), Juliet Landau (Loretta King).
BW-127m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Lang Thompson

Ed Wood

Ed Wood

At first glance one of the least likely people to have their life story filmed is Ed Wood, the flamboyantly bad filmmaker sometimes called "the world's worst." But however awful his films might seem initially, they do hold up to repeated viewings almost as surely as Citizen Kane (1941), but for completely different reasons - the sheer ineptness is fascinating, often reaching inspired peaks of lunacy. Wood's life was also quite unusual and at times deeply depressing as he scurried for decades around the fringe of Hollywood. So it was only a matter of time before Tim Burton added the director to his gallery of outsiders in a film simply titled Ed Wood (1994). Ed Wood was a fascinating figure. For years he wrote numerous scripts and cheap paperback originals, sometimes even getting the chance to direct. He's remembered today primarily for a trio of stupefying, low-low budget films: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958), Glen or Glenda (1953) and Bride of the Monster (1956). All are mind-blastingly ramshackle concoctions but also genuinely entertaining and constantly fascinating. (Wood also directed several other films such as Jail Bait, 1954, and the tawdry thriller The Sinister Urge, 1961, but these are actually dull in comparison with the unholy trio mentioned above.) On top of that he was a WW2 veteran (he participated in the invasion of Tarawa, a bloodier event than D-Day) who liked to wear women's clothing. He even had a girlfriend, Dolores Fuller, who later wrote songs for Elvis Presley. This is more or less the world that Burton explores in Ed Wood. The director admits he wasn't aiming for strict faithfulness in his portrait of Wood. "I wasn't there with these people, I don't know them, but I have a feeling about them. So that's what I'm doing. I'm doing my feeling," he told Mark Salisbury in the book-length interview Burton on Burton. Burton remembered seeing several Wood films when he was a child but didn't watch them again while actually shooting Ed Wood. Burton worked hard to achieve the delicate tone of the film. "The movie is dramatic, and I think there are some funny things in it, but it's treading a fine line because I never wanted it to be jokey. Never. I'm with them. I'm not laughing at them." (This attitude is typical of all of Burton's films.) Before Ed Wood, Burton was in the planning stages of Mary Reilly, an adaptation of Valerie Martin's novel that postulates the Jekyll and Hyde story from the viewpoint of a maid (to be played by Winona Ryder). However, when the studio decided to make it more commercial by putting Julia Roberts into the title role, Burton was replaced. (That film eventually appeared in 1996.) That's when Burton came across a ten-page story treatment about Wood written by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, previously known for the two Problem Child movies. However, the duo wanted to avoid being typed as children's writers. (They would later write more biopics: The Man on the Moon, 1999; The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996; and the forthcoming The Marx Brothers.) Karaszewski and Alexander had originally approached their USC school chum Michael Lehman, director of Heathers (1989), and he in turn took it to Heathers producer Denise Di Novi. She originally planned to co-produce Ed Wood with Burton. However, Tim, who was between projects, decided to step in as director as well. Surprisingly, Karaszewski and Alexander took only six weeks to produce a 147-page script that Burton agreed to direct without any further changes. (Though apparently Burton later incorporated material from Rudolph Grey's superlative Wood biography Nightmare of Ecstasy.) Burton later claimed one reason he responded so quickly was because he was then living in Poughkeepsie, New York, Wood's hometown. Another obvious reason is that Wood's relationship with Bela Lugosi parallels Burton's own with his longtime idol Vincent Price. Next came the hardest part. Ed Wood was being developed by Columbia Pictures, but when Burton decided the film "had to be in black and white" - generally considered a commercial no-no - the studio decided to drop the film only a month before filming was planned to start. Other studios were quickly interested but Burton finally went with one who offered him complete control, which, perhaps surprisingly, was Disney. Burton had started his film career as an animator at Disney and they did The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) with him so he felt comfortable working with the company. With a budget of $18 million, shooting finally started in August 1993. Burton brought back some veterans of his earlier films like Johnny Depp (who'd played another Ed in Edward Scissorhands, 1990) and Jeffrey Jones (from Beetlejuice, 1988). Burton was particularly inspired in his other casting choices, which mirrored the eccentricities of the people that hung out with Wood. Saturday Night Live's Bill Murray was given an early chance to prove what a surprisingly versatile actor he can be, while Burton's biggest coup was getting Martin Landau as Lugosi. ("I think he just could relate to it," Burton remembered, "and had been through enough ups and downs to understand Bela Lugosi.") Landau's spooky performance nabbed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Landau's daughter Juliet (a familiar face to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) also appears. Others include Sarah Jessica Parker (of HBO's Sex and the City series), Patricia Arquette (True Romance, 1993) and in a small role as Vampira the Unknown, Lisa Marie who would shortly become Burton's real-life girlfriend. There are even some actors who appeared in actual Wood films like Gregory Walcott (a film backer), Conrad Brooks (a bartender) and Paul Marco. Ed Wood ends right after the premiere of Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1959 without chronicling Wood's real-life descent into alcoholism and pornography. The film gathered two Oscars (a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for Martin Landau and one for Best Makeup), and favorable reviews from Roger Ebert, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Leonard Maltin and others. Still, this wasn't enough to pull viewers into the theaters, so Ed Wood became Burton's first film that didn't make money even though it's considered one of his best. Producer: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi Director: Tim Burton Screenplay: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski Production Design: Thomas A. Duffield, Richard Hoover, Michael Polaire Cinematography: Stefan Czapsky Costume Design: Colleen Atwood Film Editing: Chris Lebenzon Original Music: Howard Shore Principal Cast: Johnny Depp (Ed Wood), Martin Landau (Bela Lugosi), Sarah Jessica Parker (Dolores Fuller), Patricia Arquette (Kathy O'Hara), Jeffrey Jones (Criswell), G. D. Spradlin (Rev. Lemon), Vincent D'Onofrio (Orson Welles), Billy Murray (Bunny Breckenridge), Lisa Marie (Vampira), George "The Animal" Steele (Tor Johnson), Juliet Landau (Loretta King). BW-127m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Lang Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski were nominated for the 1994 award for Best Original Screenplay by the Writers Guild of America (WGA). The filmmakers purchased rights to Rudolph Grey's oral biography "Nightmare of Ecstasy" after the "Ed Wood" screenplay was already finished, largely to secure legal rights to the stories of various individuals who collaborated with Wood during his careers as filmmaker and porn scribe.

Winner of the 1994 American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male -- Motion Picture (Martin Landau).

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) from the Boston Society of Film Critics. Also cited for best cinematography.

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Also cited for best cinematography and best musical score.

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) from the National Society of Film Critics. Also cited for best cinematography.

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) from the New York Film Critics Circle. Also cited for best cinematography.

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) from the Society of Texas Film Critics.

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States August 1997

Released in United States Fall September 28, 1994

Released in United States May 1995

Released in United States on Video April 18, 1995

Released in United States September 1994

Wide Release in United States October 7, 1994

Shown at Cannes Film Festival (in competition) May 17-28, 1995.

Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.

Shown at New York Film Festival September 23 - October 9, 1994.

Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 2-5, 1994.

The production company for director Tim Burton paid author Rudolph Grey a reported $125,000 for the film rights to "Nightmare of Ecstasy," his 1992 oral biography of Ed Wood, Jr.

Began shooting August 5, 1993.

Completed shooting November 17, 1993.

Released in United States 1994 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 23 - October 9, 1994.)

Released in United States on Video April 18, 1995

Released in United States May 1995 (Shown at Cannes Film Festival (in competition) May 17-28, 1995.)

Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.)

Released in United States September 1994 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 2-5, 1994.)

Released in United States Fall September 28, 1994

Wide Release in United States October 7, 1994