"It's got a lot of blood in it and that's fine by me"–Stephen Sondheim discusses the film of SWEENEY TODD

Speaking at the Theatre Royal in Sydney, Australia last Friday, Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the music and lyrics for the award-winning musical SWEENEY TODD, discussed Tim Burton’s film adaptation, due for release at the end of the year. “It has got a lot of blood in it and that’s fine by me,” says Sondheim of the film, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious demon barber of Fleet Street. Sondheim acknowledges that some of the musical has been cut in the interest of time, but agrees that doing the full stage text would make the film “too long.” As for the cuts, “There are songs that have been cut, and cuts within some of the songs, but generally it is pretty much the score,” says Sondheim. As for the twists and turns of the story, “The plot is very little changed . . . . It is pretty faithful.”

Sondheim understands and respects the challenge of writing for the film; he co-wrote an acclaimed mystery movie, THE LAST OF SHEILA, with actor Anthony Perkins in 1973. Although the pair won the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America, for best mystery film of the year, Sondheim never wrote another screenplay, nor has he any further aspirations to turn screenwriter: “Film is a director’s medium,” he says, “and I would not have the patience to direct even if I had the talent for it.”

The Zone thanks emma for the report from Sydney; you can read the full article from The Australian on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet