Articles from August 2007

SWEENEY TODD featured in October EMPIRE: "The most 'Tim Burton' movie Tim Burton could ever make"

“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

DreamWorks confirms SWEENEY TODD to carry R rating

Don’t believe the widely-circulating rumors in the press that claim that director Tim Burton has been asked to “trim the gore” from SWEENEY TODD because the studios were uneasy with the blood . . . and that rumor that Burton was supposed to deliver a PG-13 film is balderdash, too. “DreamWorks has always said it was an R,” reports Variety’s Thompson on Hollywood. “Anyone who knows the show knows that it involves killing and meat pies.” Adds Thompson, “My sources say that the issue of cutting back the violence is ‘wild rumors.’ Neither studio has seen the whole film; it won’t screen until the third week of September. But as a measure of their enthusiasm, on the basis of all that they have seen and the strength of their marketing materials, the studios have decided to release the movie wide at Christmas instead of limited at Christmas and wide in January. That suggests they expect robust holiday business. As for the violence, the movie is what it is. That’s not going to be the issue.” Many thanks to emma for posting the article on the Zone’s News & Views forum–you can read more SWEENEY TODD news there. –Part-Time Poet

Christmas comes early for Deppheads–SWEENEY TODD to open wide in the U.S. on December 21st, Variety confirms

Johnny Depp will be singing in time for Christmas — everywhere,” writes Pamela McLintock of Variety (by “everywhere,” she means in North America–apologies to our friends across the pond(s), who will still have to wait until January to see SWEENEY TODD). “DreamWorks and Paramount have decided to go wide with director Tim Burton’s bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical SWEENEY TODD on Dec. 21.” This is a change from the original plans for a platform release, which would have given SWEENEY TODD an Oscar-qualifying run during Christmas week in a few select cities to build buzz, with a wider opening on January 11th. Having seen footage of the film, “the studios believe SWEENEY will work as a holiday pic,” says Variety, and have opted to give the R-rated film a wide opening on about 1,500 screens on December 21st.

The original plan for a limited release was based on the thought that “SWEENEY TODD is less commercial and less accessible than most musicals because of its darker storyline,” writes McLintock. “However, when DreamWorks execs began seeing clips from SWEENEY, they realized it had far broader appeal, particularly with Depp starring as the revenge-seeking barber of Fleet Street who uses his blade in gruesome ways to seek justice for the deaths of his wife and child. The hope is that SWEENEY will be the sort of signature role for Depp that Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise was.”

Wow–now we can’t wait for December 21st! Many thanks to Theresa for posting the Variety article on the Zone’s News & Views forum; you can read it in its entirety there. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp to present Tim Burton with the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival

Confirming rumors that have been swirling for several days, an official press release from the 64th annual Venice Film Festival states that “the Festival’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement is to be awarded to Tim Burton by his long-standing colleague, Johnny Depp.” So we will be looking for a pair of golden lions–Tim Burton and Johnny Depp–to arrive in Venice for Tim Burton Day, Wednesday, September 5th. Special events for Tim Burton Day include a screening of the digital 3D version of the Burton classic, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and “a world premiere of some sequences from the eagerly-awaited SWEENEY TODD.” The awards ceremony–by invitation only–begins in the Sala Grande at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, followed by the screening of NIGHTMARE (in English with Italian subtitles. I wonder if the SWEENEY TODD clips will be subtitled, too?)

Do plan to take a vacation day or call in sick on September 5th and join us here on the Zone–we’ll be celebrating each new picture or news release as it arrives and cheering for Tim and Johnny. Many thanks to emma, Mon^Depp, Gilbert’s Girl and Charlotte Depp (who brought us the first rumor that Johnny would present the Golden Lion); you can read all the details on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The official announcement is on the website here: –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END and Johnny Depp big winners at 2007 Teen Choice Awards!

Drinks all around! PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END and its outstanding cast dominated the voting in the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, winning in the categories Choice Action Adventure Movie; Choice Movie Actor, Action Adventure–Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow; Choice Movie Actress, Action Adventure–Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann; and Choice Villain–Bill Nighy as the tentacley Davy Jones. Congratulations to all the winners! The victories would have been even sweeter if the pirates had been present to pick up their surfboards in person, but since no one from AT WORLD’S END was in the auditorium, the awards were simply announced quickly. Many thanks to all the Zoners on the East Coast who watched the awards show in real-time and posted the results as they happened; you can read the play-by-play of the Teen Choice Awards in the Pit. –Part-Time Poet

"Like a silent movie with music"–Tim Burton talks about his SWEENEY TODD

Director Tim Burton spoke to Robert Hofler of Variety about his upcoming film of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical SWEENEY TODD, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Although his leads are, says Hofler, “a decade or two younger than most Sweeneys and Mrs. Lovetts who’ve trod the stage[,] Burton likes it that way, saying his two serial killers convey a ‘weird, faded hopefulness. It somehow clicked strongly for me.'” Nor does the fact that neither Johnny nor Helena has professional experience in musicals concern the director unduly: “When they talk and then sing, it is not two different things,” Tim told Hofler. “Hopefully, it feels of a piece.”

Burton doesn’t think of his SWEENEY TODD film as “a musical,” exactly. “In fact, it’s like a silent movie with music. Like an old horror movie,” he told Hofler. “The emotions come through. Johnny enjoyed that silent-actor style of acting. It was liberating.” Liberating, yes–but also, in Burton’s words, “scary risky.” After all, SWEENEY TODD is a much-honored masterpiece. According to Hofler, Burton reassured Stephen Sondheim that his work was in good hands: “I told Stephen: ‘I know Johnny. I know he wouldn’t say yes if he couldn’t do it.’ ” Adds Burton, “Everybody went on that faith.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for the great interview; you can read it in its entirety on the Zone’s News & Views forum, or here: Our thumbnail is from a new SWEENEY TODD poster; thanks to DeepinDepp for posting it. We love the atmosphere of Sweeney amidst the swirling London fog, his razor in hand. You can see the complete poster here: –Part-Time Poet

Join the Zone's Movie Nights discussion of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Greetings to Johnny Depp supporters everywhere–we shake you warmly by the hand and invite you to sample the Zone’s discussion of Tim Burton’s 2005 film, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, on the Movie Nights forum. The first discussion questions will appear on Friday, August 24th, and will continue to arrive in random and unpredictable order until all of our CHOCOLATE FACTORY cravings are satisfied. Please visit often and share your thoughts, whether they are dark, light, semi-sweet, or nuts! –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END nominated for British National Movie Awards!

Responding to the serious lack of awards shows to honor movies, ITV has decided to host a new one: the (British) National Movie Awards. The emphasis here is on popularity with the public: nominees must have done very well indeed at the box office, and the winners will be chosen by popular vote (see link below). Johnny Depp is nominated for “Best Male Performance” for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END. Seven other actors are also nominated–a very crowded field!–including Johnny’s castmate Orlando Bloom, HARRY POTTER stablemates Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, SPIDER-MAN 3’s Tobey Maguire, new James Bond Daniel Craig, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD’s Bruce Willis, and Shia LaBeouf from TRANSFORMERS. AT WORLD’S END’s Keira Knightley will only have to contend with five other nominees for “Best Female Performance;” her competitors include Judi Dench and Eva Green from CASINO ROYALE, Kirsten Dunst from SPIDER-MAN 3, Megan Fox from TRANSFORMERS, and Emma Watson from HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END is nominated in the “Family Film” category, along with FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, and SPIDER-MAN 3. Other film categories include “Action/Adventure,” “Comedy,” and “Animation.” The nominated films represent the four biggest box-office grossers in each category.

Winners will be determined by public vote; ballots may be cast online, by telephone or by filling out a form at the local movie house. To vote online, click here: The National Movie Awards will be presented September 28th at London’s Royal Festival Hall; the ceremony will be broadcast live on ITV1.

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl, GAO, and Theresa for news stories and Kazren for the voting link; you can read several articles about the British National Movie Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

SWEENEY TODD, starring Johnny Depp, featured in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Fall Movie Preview

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Fall Movie Preview issue (cover date August 24, 2007) contains a full-page feature (page 100) on SWEENEY TODD, including some lively remarks from director Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Mrs. Lovett. “A bloody musical about a homicidal barber and his human-pie-making partner doesn’t exactly sound like standard Christmas viewing,” observes EW, “but that doesn’t bother Burton.” Nor does it bother Bonham Carter: “There’s still such a humanity to it, and that’s what Tim always brings.”

As for the director himself, Burton was intrigued by the challenge SWEENEY TODD posed: “To do an R-rated musical with 70 percent singing was kind like, ‘Well, I haven’t done that one before,'” he told EW. “It’s exciting to keep surprising yourself and see what happens.” Apparently that’s a philosophy shared by the actor who plays Burton’s Sweeney Todd, who can now add singing a musical lead as an entry on his lengthy resume. “[Johnny] was game for it,” Burton said. “When I first heard him, I was amazed.”

Many thanks to emma for sharing the EW story; you can read the full article on the Zone’s News & Views forum or here: . The article includes a half-page publicity photo by Leah Gallo of Johnny Depp as Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. –Part-Time Poet

Announcing a new gallery for the Johnny Depp Zone!

We are happy to announce the latest addition to the Zone’s permanent photo galleries: a collection of pictures from the FINDING NEVERLAND premiere in London on October 17, 2004. The premiere was a fundraiser for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity–yes, the same hospital to which Sir J. M. Barrie bequeathed the royalties to PETER PAN–and it was a very festive evening. Many Zoners attended this event and sent us reports from the red carpet and the afterparty, and we had a lot of fun on the Zone watching the pictures come in. Our new gallery includes pictures from the red carpet, the introduction of the stars inside the theater, and the afterparty.

To view the FINDING NEVERLAND LONDON gallery, click on the PHOTO GALLERIES button above. Select THE DEPPARTMENT and scroll down to “Johnny’s Public Appearances.” Many thanks to sleepy, bonnie, AnaMaria and Theresa for their contributions to the gallery; you have brought back many happy memories! –Part-Time Poet

For your reading pleasure–six new additions to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive

If you’re looking for something Johnny-related to read while we await news of SWEENEY TODD and SHANTARAM, we have just added six more articles to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive. The articles run the gamut of Johnny’s career, with the earliest dated from the JUMP STREET era and the two most recent from the AT WORLD’S END promotion last May. Here’s what you’ll find:

Monika Guttman’s 1988 article for the Sun Sentinel, called “21 Jump Street Actor Wants to Shake Image,”shows Johnny already chafing at his teen idol image.

Grace Marks’ 2003 Evening Standard article called “Johnny at 40” is part of the promotion for the original POTC; it features the famous quote where Johnny says he would like to have 100 children.

We have added a pair of Q&A interviews with Johnny about THE LIBERTINE, one from the BBC and one from, from November 2005.

From May 2007, you’ll find the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY cover story on AT WORLD’S END called “Days of Plunder,” and an interview by Martyn Palmer called “Johnny’s Treasure Chest” which ran in The Mail on Sunday. It’s well worth a look, since Johnny gave so few interviews for AWE. The Palmer article contains (among other things) Johnny’s confirmation that Lily-Rose was treated at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital during her illness.

Many thanks to FANtastic JD, Theresa and emma for the interviews, and to Theresa for transcribing and coding them for the Archives. You can view the articles here: –Part-Time Poet

Merry Christmas–Johnny Depp's SWEENEY TODD to open wide in North America on Christmas Day!

A special holiday gift for Deppheads in region 1–Ann Oldenburg at USA TODAY writes that Tim Burton’s film of SWEENEY TODD, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious demon barber of Fleet Street, will be opening in wide release on Christmas Day. Previously, the film was scheduled for only limited release at Christmas (necessary to qualify for awards season), with wide release following in January. Great news! Oldenburg also debuts a new SWEENEY TODD publicity photo by Leah Gallo, showing Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as his partner-in-crime, Mrs. Lovett. You can see a bit of the photo in the thumbnail at left, the larger version is posted as our Picture of the Week. Many thanks to OhioPirate for sharing the news!–Part-Time Poet

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton expecting their second child in December–congratulations!

The film of SWEENEY TODD won’t be the only major production debuting in December for Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter–the couple will also be welcoming their second child. Helena’s publicist, Karon Maskill, confirmed the pregnancy to, stating that Helena and Tim “are very happy to be expecting their second child later this year.” The new Burton baby will join big brother Billy Ray, born in October 2003; Johnny Depp is Billy Ray’s godfather. Thanks to Theresa for sharing the happy news; you can read the press release on the Zone’s Porch. Congratulations and best wishes to Helena and Tim!–Part-Time Poet

"Johnny Depp can sing" says SWEENEY TODD co-star Laura Michelle Kelly

Elaine Paige of the BBC persuaded SWEENEY TODD’s Laura Michelle Kelly to divulge a few details about the film in a recent interview. Ms. Kelly, who won the Olivier Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her role in MARY POPPINS, plays the Beggar Woman in Tim Burton’s film. Asked to disclose somthing about the movie, Ms. Kelly replied, “All I can say is that Johnny Depp can sing [. . . ] and everyone is going to really pleased. It was just brilliant fun and he was such an incredible man. He talked about his children all the time, he’s a great family man.” Ms. Kelly had kind words for her other collaborators as well: “Helena Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Lovett, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing it after seeing her every day, dressed in these fantastic outfits and the hair just how you could have imagined it. Tim Burton directed it; [. . .] he’s got his own style in there, and he loves music. He’s really passionate about it, and it’s good to see that.”

In a separate “Ask a Star” interview with, Laura Michelle Kelly was asked what Johnny Depp “will bring to the part” of Sweeney Todd. Here’s her reply: “Johnny’s going to bring something completely natural, sinister and heartfelt to the part–his voice is great and he’s such a great friendly guy. I love working with him. I’m excited about the film coming out in December.” So are we, Ms. Kelly!

The Zone thanks emma for the Kelly interviews: you can read both on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

ONBC prepares a new book discussion–John Fante's "Wait Until Spring, Bandini"

Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club has announced its next selection–John Fante’s classic Wait until Spring, Bandini. Fante’s series of Arturo Bandini novels (which also includes Ask the Dust) is a favorite of Johnny Depp–in fact, Johnny was scheduled to write an introduction for the newest Canongate edition of Wait until Spring, Bandini until his schedule got too crowded this spring. (The best-laid plans . . . .) A coming-of-age tale set in Colorado during the Depression, Wait until Spring, Bandini explores the frayed relationships in an Italian family through the eyes of the eldest son. Fante’s writing is supple, vivid, and passionate, and his stubborn characters always ring true. Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas will be posting background tidbits on Wait until Spring, Bandini throughout the month of August, and the ONBC discussion of the novel will begin after Labor Day. Do stop by for what is sure to be a very stimulating discussion! And thanks, as always, to Liz and DITHOT for their outstanding work. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and AT WORLD'S END nominated for Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards

The Nickelodeon TV network hopes to emulate the success of their Kids’ Choice Awards across the pond–for the first time ever, they are hosting a UK edition of the popular green slime-fest. The awards will take place at ExCeL London on Saturday, October 20, before an audience “of thousands.” Johnny Depp is nominated for Best Movie Actor for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, along with castmate Orlando Bloom, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rowan Atkinson. Keira Knightley received a Best Movie Actress nod for AT WORLD’S END; she is joined by Emma Watson, Cameron Diaz, and Dakota Fanning. Nominees for Best Movie include PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END; HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX; SHREK THE THIRD; and THE SIMPSONS MOVIE. Voting is currently underway in 16 categories; you can cast your ballot here: Be patient, though–the site can be quite slow to load. Thanks to Gilbert’s Girl for posting the Kids’ Choice announcement on the News & Views forum, and congratulations to all the nominees! –Part-Time Poet

SHANTARAM to begin filming in January 2008, says director Mira Nair

In a radio interview with the BBC Asian network, director Mira Nair confirmed that she will begin filming SHANTARAM, starring Johnny Depp and Amitabh Bachchan, in January 2008. Bachchan told the Mumbai Mirror, “Yes, they have asked me to block my dates from January 2008 to May 2008.” Art director Nitin Desai is building sets to recreate Dharavi, where the protagonist of SHANTARAM lived while in Mumbai; due to the difficulty of location filming, the Mirror reports, “Most of the shooting is likely to take place in the studio and very little of it may happen at actual locations.” Mira Nair told the BBC that Mychael Danna will compose the SHANTARAM soundtrack; Danna has scored more than 60 films, including Nair’s MONSOON WEDDING and VANITY FAIR. However, expect some musical surprises from SHANTARAM–the Mumbai Mirror reports that Johnny Depp will be doing a masala item number, in true Bollywood style, composed by Vishal Bharadwaj. Many thanks to emma for the very intriguing SHANTARAM news–you can read several articles from the Indian press on the Zone’s News & Views forum.–Part-Time Poet