The movie-maker loves working with Depp and fought hard to get him on board Edward Scissorhands, but insists studios were frightened of his unpredictability and reluctance to be a celebrity.
Burton tells Empire magazine, "He's always been known as a good actor, but you know, Hollywood is a very safe community, and it's like their attitude towards me: they think he is a good actor but they are also a little bit worried because he likes to transform himself.
"He's more like Lon Chaney than he is a leading man. I hope and I think that they see an integrity to him and, except in my movies, they like the way he looks. Of course ever since the Pirate movie made money it's been different, because they see that as meaningful."