"Just amazing"–a Zoner's firsthand report from "An Evening with Tim Burton" at Lincoln Center

Several Zoners were lucky enough to get tickets to “An Evening with Tim Burton: Cinema’s Demon Barber” at Lincoln Center last night, and to share what they saw there. You can read full accounts on the Zone’s Porch forum, and they are delightful. Here is an excerpt from Scout’s report: “I am just back from the Tim Burton night at Lincoln Center. It was a wonderful time. They showed clips of all of Tim’s films, and then he and a moderator would sit on stage and discuss them. They did this in three segments, and the third segment was called ‘The Collaboration with Johnny Depp.’ The audience cheered! Tim was asked if he wanted to say anything about Johnny before they showed the clips. He sort of paused, then with a dry kind of wit said, ‘No, he gets enough attention.’ It was very funny.”

Scout says that Tim’s affection for Johnny was obvious. “He [Tim] spoke the whole night with great warmth and was very personable, and you could tell he and Johnny have a tremendous relationship. He spoke in general terms about the importance of liking the people that you end up spending so much time with on the set, and how he enjoys when characters just emerge as shooting takes place and when the actors improvise and are able to do it very well.”

As for the clips from SWEENEY TODD, Scout reports: “They ended the evening with showing some extended scenes from SWEENEY TODD, and this was truly amazing. I have seen both Broadway productions and love the music very much. I knew Johnny could handle the part BUT I was not prepared for what I saw. In my opinion, Johnny sings the parts (we heard three complete songs) fantastically! I mean he is not just ‘handling’ the music, he sounds superb, like he has a trained voice.” She adds, “The songs they showed were ‘My Friends;’ one segment called ‘Epiphany’ that is part of the trailer of Johnny singing in the street to get men into his chair; and the last was ‘Johanna,’ where he sings about his daughter while he is slitting throats. It is just amazing to see, because Johnny is totally this crazy Sweeney, singing beautifully–but as a crazy person–the fantastic Sondheim lyrics.”

A bit more on the response to the SWEENEY TODD clips: “Before they showed the SWEENEY clips, Tim emphasized that it was still a work in progress, but no mention was made of the premiere,” says Scout. “After each song segment was shown, the audience cheered, and also at the end they went wild. If anyone from the studio was there [and] interested in audience reaction, they should be VERY excited and thrilled by what they saw. . . .” And Scout’s own reaction to the clips? “December 21st can’t come fast enough.” Agreed!

We thank Scout very much for sharing her account of the evening with the Zone’s readers–you can read many more wonderful reports on the Porch. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp tops Forbes Magazine's list of top-earning actors

According to FORBES Magazine, Johnny Depp ranks first on the list of top-earning actors in Hollywood. Says Forbes, “He generated $92 million during the 12 months ending June 30, more than any other single actor, regardless of age group.” The magazine’s feature focuses on actors over 35 and their deal-making clout–“Nothing generates income in Hollywood like a proven track record,” notes Forbes–but here, too, Johnny transcends any age restrictions. He is the #1 earner, period . . . largely thanks to a certain roguish pirate and a ship called the Black Pearl.

“Just five years ago, the idea that Depp would ultimately become Hollywood’s top-earning actor would have been inconceivable, even laughable,” says Forbes. “Depp had long commanded more respect than box-office pull for his offbeat but critically acclaimed roles in films such as EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, ED WOOD, [. . .] and CHOCOLAT. Then he unexpectedly hit pay dirt in 2003 with the release of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, the first installment in what turned out to be a massively profitable franchise for Walt Disney Pictures. Depp’s charismatic portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow struck just the right balance between Hollywood appeal and his own inherent weirdness, transforming him into a mainstream box office star.” Of course Forbes’s focus here is strictly financial and not artistic, but it is always pleasant to see a great artist rewarded for his work.

The Zone thanks Kazren for sharing the story; you can read the full article on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

"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