Johnny Depp and Tim Burton (photographed by Andrew Eccles) grace the cover of the December 17th issue of NEW YORK MAGAZINE, which not coincidentally happens to be devoted to the Best and Worst of 2007; the duo are credited with “The Best Serial Killer Musical Ever!” Here’s a bit of the Q&A with reporter Logan Hill, who inquired about the cuts to Sondheim’s musical . . . in particular, the decision to cut a lot of the demon barber’s dialogue. Apparently Sweeney Todd is now a man of few (spoken) words:
JD: We focused on the dangerous and unsettling idea of stillness, that he [Sweeney] doesn’t look many people in the eye, or say much. For the image of the character, we decided on something that was iconic, almost.
TIM BURTON: Like Boris Karloff and some of those old Universal horror films. We really wanted his eyes and the music to tell the story.
JD: We never thought of him as a lunatic, we always looked at him as the original victim in all this. He had his family pulled away from him and sent off to prison–it’s very tragic.
Q: Johnny, Broadway actors would kill for this part. You didn’t even take voice lessons.
JD: I don’t know what I brought to it–or if I brought anything at all. I brought a bit of me to it, that’s really all I have to offer. Sitting in front of a piano doing scales, trying to learn how to sing in some operatic form, just seemed counterproductive. [. . .] But one thing I do–that I don’t remember hearing any of the other Sweeneys do–is English, oddly. [In most productions, Sweeney is played with an American accent.] Especially that East End English. That was something I thought I could add.
The Zone thanks Emma for posting the article; you can read the interview in full on the News & Views forum of the message boards. To see a larger version of the Eccles photograph, without the headlines, click here: http://tinyurl.com/2re3t2 –Part-Time Poet