Director Tim Burton has spent six months training 200 squirrels for a scene in his latest movie Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

The original 1971 movie didn't include any animals, but the eccentric film-maker was so desperate to create the 'nut room' from Roald Dahl's original novel, he spent millions of dollars teaching the bushy-tailed rodents how to crack nuts and load them onto a conveyor belt.

The painstaking scene took a further ten weeks to shoot at London's Pinewood Studios.

A source says, "We used actual rodents. From birth, we sent them to training school for six months.

"Tim was determined to bring the nut room to life. Using squirrels proved too difficult in the first film but he spent millions of pounds getting it right."

He also created a 24-metre (80-foot) chocolate waterfall and a chocolate river for the movie, which stars Burton's fiancee Helena Bonham Carter and Hollywood hunk Johnny Depp.

06/04/2005 14:02