Doug Brod
June 25, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dashing actor.War hero. Prolific porno novelist. Alcoholic angora fetishist. But what really makes cult director Edward D. Wood Jr. so special? Answer: He’s the subject of Tim Burton’s upcoming film, an $18 million biopic for Disney that will likely star Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing creator of such epics as Glen or Glenda (1953) and The Sinister Urge (1960). Wood, who died in 1978, had his career goosed posthumously in 1980 when he was named Worst Director of All Time by Harry and Michael Medved in their book The Golden Turkey Awards. Burton’s film (due in 1994) is just the latest chapter in a Wood revival: Last year saw the release of Nightmare of Ecstasy, Rudolph Grey’s biography; and in March, Flying Saucers Over Hollywood, a documentary on the making of Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), Wood’s most notorious cinematic endeavor, was released on video. ”I don’t know why I love misguided passion so much,” Burton says. ”(When people like Wood are) trying quite hard, but they just don’t get it.”

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