The puppets used neither of the industry standards of replaceable heads (like those used on The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)) or replaceable mouths (like those used by Aardman Studios in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)), but instead used precision crafted clockwork heads, adjusted by hidden keys. This allowed for unprecedented subtlety, but was apparently even more painstaking than the already notoriously arduous animation. One animator even reported having recurring nightmares of adjusting his own facial expression in this fashion.
Composer Danny Elfman originally wrote the part of Bonejangles, looking for another musician to sing it, but after failing to find a voice that fit, director Tim Burton asked Elfman if he would sing it himself. The result was so brutal on his vocal chords, that Elfman was left hoarse whenever he had to voice the character.
The puppets were 25 to 28 centimeters (9.8 to 11 inches) tall, and some of the stages were so large, that animators could actually fit through the set doors, with minimal crouching.
The maggot's voice, mannerisms, and facial appearance are an impersonation of Peter Lorre.
The movie had a 55-week shoot, during which, 109,440 individually animated frames had to be set up and filmed.
Multiple identical puppets had to be created, so that more scenes could be accomplished in a shorter period of time. In all, fourteen puppets of the Bride and Victor were created, and thirteen were created of Victoria.
The first original stop motion animated film Tim Burton has directed or produced since The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Tim Burton): (dead dog): Victor is reunited with his deceased (and now skeletal) dog, Scraps. A picture of a younger Victor with a living Scraps is visible at the start of the film.
When Victor plays the piano, he leans back and the nameplate says "Harryhausen", a reference to stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.
Albert Finney was the leading choice to play Grandpa Joe in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), but when Tim Burton was attached to direct, he nixed the idea, because the only big name he wanted in the movie was Johnny Depp, so Burton cast Finney in this movie to apologize. Burton reportedly also offered a role to Sam Neill, who turned it down.
This is the first feature to be made with commercial digital still photography cameras (31 Canon EOS-1Ds MARK II SLR cameras with Nikon Lenses), instead of film cameras.
There is a character named "Elder Gutknecht." Translated from German to English, his name means "Elder Good Servant."
Mr. Bonejangles and his skeleton band, are partly inspired by the cartoon The Skeleton Dance (1929), but are also heavily influenced by Cab Calloway and his band, as they appeared in rotoscoped form in several Betty Boop cartoons. The piano player wears shades, like Ray Charles, and his movements are based on Charles' mannerisms. The character Bonejangles is based on the famous dancer Bill Robinson, who was called "Bojangles".
In the beginning of the movie, Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp), releases a captive butterfly through a window. Johnny Depp's character, Ichabod Crane does something similar in Sleepy Hollow (1999), when he releases a caged Cardinal out of his bedroom window.
Johnny Depp and Sir Christopher Lee also worked together in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).
Emily uses the word "hopscotch". In the Markus Zusak novel, "The Book Thief", he uses the same word, and Emily Watson was in the film adaptation, as well as voicing Victoria.
In the special features section, Johnny Depp said that stop motion animation is a dying art. Actually, that is not true. There never has been that much done with this art form, and even the great Ray Harryhausen never got to do a complete movie in stop motion animation, like this one.