In March 1991, Pedota, a photographer, was working for a company that delivers food from trendy L.A. restaurants when the call came from Burton's office for a large lunch order, including a tomato and basil pizza, Burton's favorite. Pedota seized the order, and the moment. (He rated a $15 tip.) A week later, armed with Burton's number, he called and said he wanted to drop off a gift for his longtime idol—a photograph of a woman made up like the evil queen from Snow White, which he had hand-painted. Burton met Pedota and loved it. Dozens of phone calls and meetings later, Warner Bros, asked Pedota to shoot Batman Returns stars Danny De Vito, Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer. Says Burton of the movielike luck: "This should happen more often."
Initially offered $10,000, Pedota refused: "I said, 'This isn't just any movie, this is Batman, baby.' " He settled for $35,000, segued to part-time deliveryman, and—attuned to the spirit of Hollywood—restored his 1958 Jaguar. His custom license plate reads BATJAG.
The car is in keeping with Pedota's photographic goal, which, he says, is to combine "fantasy, attitude and drama." He's currently doing private portraits, including one of Burton. And with the Bat in the bag, he dreams of taming another wild creature. "One day," says Pedota, "I know I'll photograph Madonna."