"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: http://tinyurl.com/27xkru 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: http://tinyurl.com/3432zo –Part-Time Poet