Articles from November 2007



"SWEENEY TODD will be a stunner"–a review of Tim Burton's presentation at the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Critics who attended Tim Burton’s presentation at Lincoln Center on Wednesday night are posting rapturous reviews of the three clips from SWEENEY TODD that were screened as part of Tim’s presentation. Here’s an excerpt from Star-Ledger film critic Stephen Whitty’s Sneak Peek, called “Johnny on the Spot: Depp Goes Deep.” After noting that the film still being edited and won’t be screened in its entirety for two more weeks, Whitty says, “judging from what I saw tonight, the December release will be a stunner. Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography is in color, yet seems to catch everything in sooty shades of grey (with, of course, occasional flashes of silver and bursts of crimson).”

As for the cast, Whitty notes that “Helena Bonham Carter [. . . ] gives Mrs. Lovett an almost feral sexuality. And Depp–who with typical fearlessness is making his musical debut in a piece by Stephen Sondheim, no less–is not only in good voice (particularly performing ‘My Friends’ and ‘Epiphany’) but finally seems in control of the quirks that have occasionally overwhelmed his other work for Burton. His razor-wielding murderer feels like a genuinely wounded adult, embittered, haunted, vengeful.”

Concludes Whitty, “Of course this was only 20 minutes or so of an entire musical, and it’s hardly likely that even the iconoclastic Tim Burton would choose to show us the worst scenes he shot. But what he showed was wonderful, full of drama and detail. And–on a night when so many Broadway theaters are still closed–clearly the best show for miles.”

The Zone thanks Emma for posting Stephen Whitty’s review; you can read it in full on the Porch forum, or here: http://tinyurl.com/ywlghe –Part-Time Poet

Tim Burton rocks The Big Apple with a sneak peek at SWEENEY TODD

Tim Burton took the stage at the Frederick P. Rose Hall tonight as the guest of the Film Society of Lincoln Center for a program billed as “An Evening with Tim Burton: Cinema’s Demon Barber.” Dressed in black, with his customary late-Einstein hairstyle, the director sat with moderator Richard Pena and, with self-deprecating humor, discussed his film career from FRANKENWEENIE to SWEENEY TODD. As a grand finale, Burton showed three clips from SWEENEY TODD which he described as “Sweeney comes home, Sweeney gets pissed off,” and “Sweeney gets down to business.” For those of you with SWEENEY TODD soundtrack albums, these correspond to the songs “My Friends,” “Epiphany,” and “Johanna.” The audience roared its enthusiasm, and the critical reaction, from both professionals and non-professionals in attendance, has been nothing short of rapturous.

To read the rave reviews, click on MESSAGE BOARDS above and go to the Porch, where there is one thread carrying the critics’ reviews (see “Johnny sings! SWEENEY TODD rocks!”) and another thread carrying in-person accounts from the Zoners who attended the event (see “Zoner Reports: An Evening with Tim Burton at Lincoln Center”). We thank Scout, Mrs. Nobody, Chachacheenie, Chocolat, Deppsdebb, and FoxyOperaSinger for posting their descriptions of the evening–you really made us feel like we were there, too.

Many thanks as well to Theresa and Emma for posting all the professional reviews. This being 2007, there is an audio file of the “Johanna” clip floating around YouTube tonight (naturally), although it may not be there long, since it was obviously taped by an audience member under dubious circumstances. You can hear Jamie Campbell Bower and Johnny Depp singing, though (you hear the voices in that order), and it is indeed music to die for. –Part-Time Poet

SWEENEY TODD's "Ultimate Johnny Depp Fan Sweepstakes" sends the winner and a friend to the "global premiere!"

If you have a valid U. S. passport, are a MySpace member, are over 18, and have always wanted to attend a red carpet premiere of a Johnny Depp movie, the My Space site for SWEENEY TODD has a very tempting proposition for you! The “SWEENEY TODD Ultimate Johnny Depp Fan Sweepstakes” promises “a chance to meet Johnny Depp at the global premiere” (in a city to be named later–no details yet on the premiere); the winner will receive coach airfare for two from the nearest major airport to the premiere city, two nights lodging, round trip ground transportation to and from the airport, and two tickets to the SWEENEY TODD premiere (note it is for the film only, not the afterparty). The contest is open now and will close on Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. To enter, simply log in to your MySpace profile, then visit the Sweepstakes website at http://tinyurl.com/2w5oxq Follow the onscreen instructions to add the Sweepstakes profile as a “Friend” and presto–you are entered in the Sweepstakes. You may enter only once in the Sweepstakes period.

Please note . . . the winner must be at least 18 years old and must possess a valid United States passport, which certainly implies travel outside U.S. borders will be required. The prize is not transferable, so don’t enter unless you are prepared to travel over the holidays–you won’t be able to auction your prize on Ebay and pay off your mortgage. The winning entry will be drawn on December 17, 2007 and the Sweepstakes may take up to 5 days to notify the winner; the winner then has 72 hours to reply before an alternate winner is selected. You can read all the Sweepstakes rules on the website listed above.

This is a fantastic opportunity for adults with a MySpace page and a valid passport–take a shot and you may have the New Year’s surprise of a lifetime. Thanks to Emma and FANtasticJD for the Sweepstakes information, and good luck to all the Zone’s readers! May there be a global premiere in your future. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END nominated for People's Choice Awards–vote now!

Awards season is under way! The People’s Choice Awards nominations have been announced, and Johnny Depp is contending in two top categories: Favorite Male Movie Star (which Johnny has won in 2005, 2006, and 2007, but who’s counting?) and Favorite Male Action Star. Johnny is nominated for playing Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END; his co-star Keira Knightley also earned a nomination in the Favorite Female Action Star category. Other nominees for Favorite Male Movie Star are Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis; the other contenders for Favorite Male Action Star are Matt Damon and Bruce Willis.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END earned nominations for Favorite Movie (other nominees are THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM and TRANSFORMERS) and–here’s an unusual category–Favorite Threequel, where the other nominated films are THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM and SPIDER-MAN 3.

The People’s Choice Awards winners are determined by public polling, so cast your vote and make your voice heard! You can vote here: http://tinyurl.com/2prdbb The winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, in a live broadcast on the CBS network at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Thanks to Theresa for breaking the awards news–you can read more about the this year’s People’s Choice Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum.–Part-Time Poet

Announcing 5 new articles for the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive!

We have just added five new articles to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive for your reading enjoyment. Here’s a list of the new interviews in chronological order:

(1) From Cosmopolitan, January 1991: “Johnny Depp: Hollywood’s Tough, Rough New Romeo” by Tom Burke catches Johnny just as EDWARD SCISSORHANDS comes into theaters–surprising people who only knew Johnny’s work from JUMP STREET. Johnny meets the reporter in McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan, and the reactions of the people in the bar add a lot of lively local color to the profile.

(2) From TV Hits, May 1991: “The Good Life” by Edwin J. Bernard is a question-and-answer session focusing on Johnny’s music career as well as his work on PLATOON and JUMP STREET.

(3) From Film Review, August 1993: “Deeply Deppy” by David Aldridge is a charming profile that dates from the UK promotion for BENNY & JOON. The section where Johnny talks about his affection for silent movies and the style of acting in silent films is especially pertinent, since he and Tim apparently approached SWEENEY TODD as “a silent film with music.”

(4) From The Sunday Herald, March 11, 2001: “An Interview with Johnny Depp” by Graeme Virtue is part of the UK promotion for CHOCOLAT, and it catches Johnny at a blissful time of life, when he is happily settled with Vanessa and Lily-Rose in France. Johnny speaks at some length about fatherhood, and also about acting with Juliette Binoche, and about the problems of debuting a film in France in which the French characters don’t speak French, but English.

(5) From Woman, January 30, 2006: “Johnny Depp” by Gabrielle Donnelly; the focus of this brief profile is domestic–Johnny the family man. Given the magazine’s audience, it’s not surprising that most of the anecdotes revolve around Johnny’s interactions with Lily-Rose, Jack, and Vanessa, and not the details of movie-making. Short and sweet.

We thank Theresa, FANtasticJD, DeepinDepp and Part-Time Poet for donating the articles to the Archives, and Theresa and Joni for putting them on the website. To read the new articles, click on the JDZ ARCHIVES button above, select JOHNNY DEPP ZONE ARCHIVES, and click on the “Interview Home” button. There are direct links to the new interviews at the bottom of the Interview Home Page. Enjoy . . . and you may want to look around at the other 150 interviews there, as well as the quotes about Johnny, writings by Johnny Depp, and fan fiction by Zone authors while you’re in the Archives. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp tops TiVo "wish lists," says the company

Got a DeppWish? You’re not alone . . . . A spokeswoman for the TiVo company confirms that Johnny Depp consistently heads more TiVo “wish lists” than any other performer. “Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp trumps Oscar winners Clint Eastwood, Julia Roberts and John Wayne in a ranking of the most ‘wish-listed’ actors by subscribers to TiVo,” reports today’s New York Post. “The wish list allows TiVo users to set up their system to record all week anything that features a certain actor. Depp has held the title eight of the past 10 weeks, said company spokeswoman Rachel Helfont.” Well done, Johnny and TiVo users! We’re glad to see you’re putting that technology to good use. –Part-Time Poet

SWEENEY TODD on cover of December issue of FILM REVIEW

Media interest in the yet-to-be-released Tim Burton film SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, starring Johnny Depp, remains at a high level: now the British monthly FILM REVIEW has chosen SWEENEY for the cover of their Winter Preview issue. The website seems to hint at new interviews with director Burton and his Mrs. Lovett: “Director Tim Burton and star Helena Bonham Carter tell us how they are making the cut with their murderous musical.” However, UK Zoners who have seen the magazine say the material looks familiar, perhaps gleaned from publicity done during the Venice Film Festival. Still, the FILM REVIEW cover looks great, and we applaud their taste in subjects. If you have difficulty finding FILM REVIEW on your local newsstand, you can order a copy directly from the website: http://tinyurl.com/26pj23 Many thanks to Emma for sharing the news! –Part-Time Poet

Movie News–SHANTARAM author Gregory David Roberts speaks in Italy

SHANTARAM author Gregory David Roberts spoke recently in Italy about his best-selling novel and plans for the upcoming film, to be directed by Mira Nair and starring Johnny Depp as Roberts’ semi-autobiographical alter ego. Zone member Peachy was in the audience for Mr. Roberts’ presentation, which she found “extremely enjoyable;” he discussed how he came to write SHANTARAM, the main themes in the novel, and his (horrific) experience being incarcerated in Germany, among other subjects. You can read Peachy’s full account of the evening on the Zone’s Porch forum, including her own impressions of the author; we thank her so much for sharing her experience with us! Here are a few of Peachy’s comments that have to do specifically with the film of SHANTARAM:

“When asked about the film, he said that as he spoke the script was being finalised by Eric Roth, Mira Nair and Johnny Depp. He himself wrote the first draft. When asked if he could tell us what had been kept and what had been cut, he said that he had not seen the final script,” writes Peachy. “What he did know, though, was that he himself had cut out the Village scene (where Prabaker takes Lyn to his village) and had the ‘christening’ scene take place in the slums instead; however, apparently Mira Nair loved the village scene so much in the book she had it put back in!”

Is the author concerned that the film of SHANTARAM might be “disappointing to him and to readers of the book?” Reports Peachy, “[H]e said that he had placed the utmost faith in the directors, producers, actors and everyone involved, and that he did not intend to interfere. He said it is now up to them to make of it what they can.” She concludes, “He came across as being really serene now.” According to Peachy, Mr. Roberts is at work on a sequel to SHANTARAM–lovers of the novel will be very happy to hear that! –Part-Time Poet

"I would like to work with Johnny Depp," Julia Roberts tells VANITY FAIR

Add the luminous Julia Roberts to the list of A-list actresses who want to share a movie screen with Johnny Depp: in the December issue of VANITY FAIR, the Oscar-winner confesses that even after nearly 20 years in the business, she still has some career dreams to fulfill. “I would like to work with Johnny Depp,” Roberts tells VANITY FAIR. “I’ve known him a long time. I think he’s so interesting, and I think we look alike in a funny way. So Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp and I will play brother and sister in something.” If Ms. Roberts’ Deppwish comes true, she would be the second female in her family to play a relative of Johnny’s onscreen; when Johnny appeared as George Jung in BLOW in 2001, Julia’s niece Emma Roberts played Johnny’s daughter. The Zone thanks Donna B. for sharing the story. –Part-Time Poet

"Demon Barber, Meat Pies and All, Sings on Screen:" The New York Times profiles Tim Burton's SWEENEY TODD

Sylvaine Gold presents a lengthy behind-the-scenes article on the making of Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET in the November 4th edition of the New York Times. That’s a serious expression of interest in a film that will not be seen in the U.S. until December 21st. The reporter calls bringing the “grim and glorious” Sondheim musical to the screen “a gamble,” especially with untested singers in the leading roles; screenwriter John Logan admires his gambling colleagues and their decision to go all-in for SWEENEY. “It took courage and a certain lunatic leap of faith to think we could really bring this wild beast to the screen,” says Logan. And how did director Burton ask his frequent (but non-singing) collaborator Johnny Depp to consider playing Sweeney Todd? Gold reports that Burton gave Johnny the soundtrack album and asked, “Would you ever think about doing something like this?” Johnny’s response after listening to the score? “I may sound like a strangled cat.” Says Gold, “Mr. Burton took that as a yes. ‘If he didn’t think he could do it, he would have said no.'”

Gold sees the demon barber fitting in well with the “gallery of memorable weirdos” that Tim and Johnny have already created on film: “With a Susan Sontag patch of white streaking his pompadour, ghostly skin and distraught eyes, this Sweeney is both wretched and mad,” writes Gold. Responds Johnny, “He needed to have a look that would say a lot about what he’d been through.” Mission accomplished–to see a larger view of the lovely Leah Gallo photo of wretched, mad Sweeney that accompanies the Times article, click here: http://tinyurl.com/2faj7k Many thanks to emma for posting the New York Times article; you can read it in full on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

"She pulled through beautifully, perfectly"–Johnny Depp says daughter Lily-Rose is fully recovered from March illness

In early March of 2007, Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose developed a sudden, critical illness and was hospitalized in London; production on SWEENEY TODD shut down for a while, and legions of Depp fans prayed as they never have before. In his new interview with ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Steve Daly, Johnny addresses those harrowing days and confirms that Lily-Rose is now in perfect health. Here is what Johnny told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:

EW: Back in March, reports appeared that your daughter Lily-Rose, who was 7 at the time, had been hospitalized in London with a very serious illness. Where were you in making SWEENEY TODD?

JD: We were about 3 weeks into shooting.

EW: How bad did things get?

JD: To say it was the darkest moment, that’s nothing. It doesn’t come close to describing it. Words are so small. But knowing that those people, Tim and the crew, shut down and stood by and waited . . . . I didn’t know if I was coming back. I remember talking with Tim, saying, “Maybe you need to recast.”

EW: But your daughter is fine now?

JD: You bet. Now every single millisecond is a mini-celebration, man. Every time we get to breathe in and exhale is a huge victory. She pulled through beautifully, perfectly, with no lasting anything. Once we were given the all clear, I had to dive back into the work, and I had to get back in there for Tim.

The Zone thanks H2H for posting the article. It’s a pleasure to hear confirmation from Johnny himself that Lily-Rose has made a complete recovery; we wish her, her parents and the entire Depp clan good health, happiness, and many more reasons to celebrate. –Part-Time Poet

USA TODAY features SWEENEY TODD in its Holiday Movie Preview

The Weekend edition of USA TODAY, published on November 2nd, prominently features SWEENEY TODD in its Holiday Movie Preview: “[S]tar Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton have claimed a macabre musical corner of Broadway as their own,” writes Susan Wloszczyna. Her article contrasts supposedly “heavy” or dark offerings with “light” escapist entertainment, pointing out the contrasts in this year’s holiday slate. “I consider SWEENEY TODD to be on the dark side, but entertaining,” stresses producer Richard D. Zanuck. “It’s nearly wall-to-wall music, almost operatic in nature. But once you get into it,” Zanuck promises, “it becomes very natural.” Nor is the amount of blood spilled in the movie worrisome, says Zanuck, because “it is taken out of the realm of realism. [It’s] a Kill Bill kind of blood. It’s not to be taken seriously.”

USA TODAY took SWEENEY TODD seriously enough to make it the one movie they featured on their front page; look who’s in the right corner, above the fold, advertising the movie preview section? http://tinyurl.com/27jrlt Yup . . . the homicidal barber and his pie-making partner! And the USA TODAY story quashes some foolish rumors about SWEENEY TODD’s running time being overlong–not so, reports Wloszczyna. “SWEENEY moves in a swifter fashion than some musicals of late,” she writes, “shaved down to a mere 108 minutes from the 2 1/2 hour stage version.”

The Zone thanks emma for posting the USA TODAY article; you can read it in its entirety on the News & Views forum. For a larger version of the newly released Leah Gallo photo of Sweeney with his razor, click here: http://tinyurl.com/2mdbcd –Part-Time Poet

Happy 4th Aniversary to Oprah Noodlemantra's Book Club!

We’re celebrating! The Zone’s book club, the first-ever group dedicated to reading works recommended by or associated with Johnny Depp, is celebrating its 4th anniversary! Yes, the one and only Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club turns four at two minutes past midnight on November first. There are no words to adequately thank ONBC’s dedicated moderators, Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas, who have been at the helm of ONBC from the beginning and have given thousands of hours to reading, writing about, and responding to inquiries about Johnny Depp’s favorite books. They have created a forum full of insight and camaraderie, truly worthy of the man who inspired it. The current book discussion, John Fante’s ASK THE DUST, is the 24th on ONBC . . . a list that began with Stephen King’s SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN in November 2003. You can see all of the earlier titles on ONBC’s reading list on this lovely anniversary greeting made by Liz: http://tinyurl.com/2yssyd

Many thanks to Liz, DITHOT, and all the Noodlemantras for four great years of inspiration, a little bit of debate, and a lot of merriment. We couldn’t be prouder of you . . . and we hope, as an anniversary present, that Johnny Depp gets photographed walking out of a bookstore with a couple of great novels in his hand. We’d like to add a few new titles to the reading list! –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp on cover of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Holiday Movie Preview!

Johnny Depp, in costume as the demon barber of Fleet Street, glowers from the cover of the November 9th issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY; this is the “Holiday Movie Preview” issue which promises “The Inside Scoop on 39 New Films.” But EW gives the most ink–6 full pages–to Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, including some lovely new pictures from the film, and a one-page Q&A interview with Johnny, his first since May. The article delves into Johnny’s preparation for the role–in particular, his process for discovering Sweeney Todd’s singing voice . . . which, contrary to rumors, did not involve hiring a vocal coach, but did involve long hours holed up in a West Hollywood recording studio making demos with former Kids bandmate Bruce Witkin. “Did you let your family in on your SWEENEY singing practice?” asks EW reporter Steve Daly. Johnny responds, “When I was doing the demos in Los Angeles, I came home and played it for Vanessa. That was one of the more frightening moments. You go, I’m gonna fall on my face.” And what was the Depp family’s reaction to his efforts? Says Johnny, “They said, ‘Is that you?‘”

The Zone thanks Q for breaking the news, and FANtasticJD posting the cover. You can read the EW article in full on the Zone’s News & Views forum; to see a photo of Johnny (as Sweeney) with his nemesis Alan Rickman (as the treacherous Judge Turpin), click here: http://tinyurl.com/2tw9q7 The EW website offers an extended version of Steve Daly’s interview with Johnny that’s well worth reading; you can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/yoq5e3 Thanks to jdfan for posting the link. –Part-Time Poet