"I think he's amazing in it"–Tim Burton discusses Johnny Depp's performance in SWEENEY TODD

In a recent Q&A with Mike Collett-White of Reuters, director Tim Burton fielded some questions about his upcoming film of Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical SWEENEY TODD. Thanks to Theresa, you can read the entire interview on the Zone’s News & Views forum (thanks very much, Theresa!), but here are a few excerpts that relate specifically to Johnny Depp’s performance in the title role.

REUTERS: Johnny Depp has been quoted as likening his singing voice to “the mating call of a rutting stag.” [. . . H]aving directed him in a musical, do you agree?

TIM BURTON: That sounds like him! No I don’t. He’s great. When I asked him to do it I had no idea if he could sing or not. I know he’s in a band and all that, but then when he said yes, I knew that he wouldn’t say yes unless he himself knew he could do it. That’s the great thing about him, he’s always up for a challenge and I think he’ll surprise people. I think he sounds amazing.

REUTERS: You regularly work with Depp. Would you have considered making this movie with anyone else in the lead?

TIM BURTON: I was involved with SWEENEY TODD about 10 years ago. It just never happened. He (Depp) would have been too young for it at that point. Things have a weird way of working themselves out. On stage they always portray them (Todd and partner in crime Mrs. Lovett) as old, like in their 50s or whatever. But it just felt more passionate somehow to have them younger than that in the movie, sort of in their 40s. In some ways it’s kind of a luck thing where yeah, I might have made it with somebody else but I’m glad I didn’t, because I think he’s amazing in it.

For the rest of Tim’s remarks, see the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet