“On paper, SWEENEY TODD is the most ‘Tim Burton’ movie Tim Burton could ever make,” writes EMPIRE Magazine in their October 2007 issue. “The story of the Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, who used his cut-throat razor a little too literally and provided human filling for the pies baked by his neighbour, it has plenty of fantastical darkness, copious opportunity for eccentricity, and freaks-a-go-go. Plus, he’s roped in real-life wife Helena Bonham Carter (as pie-maker Mrs. Lovett) and virtual screen husband Johnny Depp in the title role. Just one little issue throw it outside the Burton world: singing.”
As for that little detail, Burton found a way to make the Sondheim musical less intimidating: “I think of it like a silent film but with music,” the director tells EMPIRE. “I mean, it’s all very big emotion, like silent film, very Grand Guignol–lots of blood. The idea of mixing a horror movie and musical for me is fascinating.” He also found new reasons to admire his leading actors, neither of whom has much experience with musicals: “Helena’s really surprised me,” Burton says, “and Johnny’s always up for something new. It’s certainly a challenge.”
Johnny Depp confirms his director’s assessment: “I do love a great challenge [. . . . Sondheim’s melodies] were kind of a bugger to deal with, but I think we got there.” Concludes EMPIRE, “Well if anyone can do singing psycho and make it work, it’s Johnny Depp.” Agreed!
The Zone thanks Emma for posting the EMPIRE article–you can read it in its entirety on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet