With Dark Shadows, opening this weekend, director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp mark their eighth creative collaboration. To commemorate this latest meeting of like-minds, we check out some of the big screen’s most enduring partnerships…
Tim Burton & Johnny Depp
For more than two decades, the film-making purveyor of gothic-tinged weirdness and his kooky muse have been making wonderfully weird work together. Burton and Depp’s shared predilection for the bizarre began with Edward Scissorhands, a story about a gentle genetically engineered soul cursed with cutting implements for digits. From there, it all went even further down the rabbit hole with the brilliant B-moviemaker biopic Ed Wood, a brace of literary adaptations with Sleepy Hollow and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a foray into animation with Corpse Bride and a touch of musicality with Sweeney Todd. It’s been an incredibly fruitful friendship that, despite an ill-advised attempt to out-odd Lewis Carroll with their take on Alice In Wonderland, has seen them both produce some of their best work. Their latest film together, a vampiric flick called Dark Shadows, shows that the Burton and Depp friendship is as strong as ever.
Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro
Taken separately, these two film-making powerhouses have created some incredible work (let’s ignore those Fokker flicks). Together, however, De Niro and Scorsese are unbeatable. A duo with a shared love for improvisation and technical wizardry, they’ve together created some of the greatest movies of all time. At their best when exploring the dark side of the male psyche with the likes of Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and The King Of Comedy, they’ve also created some of the very best gangster flicks ever committed to celluloid with Goodfellas and Casino. It’s a partnership that’s set to continue into the future with the two expected to reunite for a film called The Irishman and a possible sequel to Taxi Driver.
Robert Rodriguez & Danny Trejo
The cinematic equivalent of a lucky rabbit’s foot, Danny Trejo has appeared in nearly all of Robert Rodriguez’s films and unarguably made them all better. His pockmarked, heavily tattooed, handlebar-moustached presence always bring an extra element of danger to proceedings (a history of drug use and a stint in San Quentin prison will help bring that out) and his turns in the likes of Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and Planet Terror saw him rise from bit-part player to top-name star as he eventually got his first starring role in the Mexploitation pastiche Machete. A soon-to-be made sequel and the never-ending supply of Spy Kids films will ensure this partnership keeps on trucking.
Ingmar Bergman & Max Von Sydow
The very definition of a symbiotic partnership, Bergman and Von Sydow’s best work was always produced together – despite the latter making a great fist of going it alone with an unforgettable Ming The Merciless in Flash Gordon. Having met at the world-famous Malmo Municipal Theatre in the 1950s, they developed an instinctive intuition that served them well over the coming years. A lucky 13 films followed, all bona fide classics and many – including The Seventh Seal and The Virgin Spring – going on to influence every facet of cinema from the arthouse crowd to Bill And Ted.
Akira Kirosawa & Toshiro Mifune
Long before Clint Eastwood became an icon with his Man With No Name shtick, Toshiro Mifune had the whole wandering warrior thing down pat thanks to an incredibly fruitful relationship with Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. In a partnership spanning 16 stone-cold classics, the duo pretty much created the strong-and-silent hero trope and went on to influence everyone from Lucas to Spielberg and Scorsese to Coppola. With Rashomon, Throne Of Blood, Sanjuro, Yojimbo and Seven Samurai inspiring film-makers to this day, this was one partnership from which all of us benefitted.
John Ford & John Wayne
A partnership that defined an entire genre and one that could have only been born out of creativity (a more politically opposed duo you’re never likely to meet), John Ford and John Wayne – aka Pappy and The Duke – were the definition of opposites attracting. Over 24 years of making movies together, the two Johns collaborated on an astonishing 21 films and created a mythical vision of the Old West that, while prone to the odd bit of historical revisionism, still inspires. It’s not for nothing that their finest work together, The Searchers, is widely regarded as the greatest Western ever made.