Articles from December 2007

BREAKING NEWS–Golden Globe nominations for SWEENEY TODD, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Burton!

Great news! The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees for the 2008 Golden Globe Awards this morning, and Tim Burton’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s musical SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET emerged with four nominations: for the film as Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; for Tim Burton as Best Director; for Johnny Depp as Best Actor, Musical or Comedy; and for Helena Bonham Carter as Best Actress, Musical or Comedy. Congratulations and best wishes to the nominees!

Johnny Depp’s SWEENEY TODD nomination is his eighth Golden Globe nod, and the fifth consecutive year his work has been recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Johnny’s previous nominations were for EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1991), BENNY & JOON (1994), ED WOOD (1995), PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2004), FINDING NEVERLAND (2005, his only nomination in the Best Actor, Drama category), CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2006), and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST (2007). Other actors nominated this year as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy are Ryan Gosling in LARS AND THE REAL GIRL; Tom Hanks in CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR, a surprise entry in the comedy category; Philip Seymour Hoffman in THE SAVAGES; and John C. Reilly in WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY.

Tim Burton’s Golden Globe nomination is the director’s first; other nominees include the Coen brothers for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Julian Schnabel for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, Ridley Scott for AMERICAN GANGSTER, and Joe Wright for ATONEMENT.

Helena Bonham Carter was previously nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for THE WINGS OF THE DOVE (1998); she also has three nominations for her work in television miniseries. Other nominees for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical include Amy Adams in ENCHANTED, Nikki Blonsky in HAIRSPRAY, Marion Cotillard in LA VIE EN ROSE, and Ellen Page in JUNO.

Thanks to Intodadepps for breaking the news! You can read a lively discussion about the Golden Globes nominations on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a full list of the 2008 nominees, click here: The Golden Globes Awards will air live on NBC one month from today, on Sunday, January 13, 2008 . . . writers’ strike permitting, of course. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Critics' Choice Awards nominations for SWEENEY TODD, Johnny Depp, and Tim Burton!

Awards season is bringing welcome recognition for Tim Burton’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, although the film has yet to open. This morning the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest critics’ group in the country, honored SWEENEY TODD with five Critics’ Choice Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Ensemble! Johnny Depp was nominated as Best Actor for his role as Sweeney Todd; newcomer Edward Sanders was nominated as Best Young Actor; and Tim Burton received a nod as Best Director. Congratulations!

Many thanks to tocnavforjd and FANtasticJD for the news; you can see a full list of the nominees here: The awards ceremony will be held on January 7, 2008 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and will be broadcast live on VH-1. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on cover of New York Magazine

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton (photographed by Andrew Eccles) grace the cover of the December 17th issue of NEW YORK MAGAZINE, which not coincidentally happens to be devoted to the Best and Worst of 2007; the duo are credited with “The Best Serial Killer Musical Ever!” Here’s a bit of the Q&A with reporter Logan Hill, who inquired about the cuts to Sondheim’s musical . . . in particular, the decision to cut a lot of the demon barber’s dialogue. Apparently Sweeney Todd is now a man of few (spoken) words:

JD: We focused on the dangerous and unsettling idea of stillness, that he [Sweeney] doesn’t look many people in the eye, or say much. For the image of the character, we decided on something that was iconic, almost.

TIM BURTON: Like Boris Karloff and some of those old Universal horror films. We really wanted his eyes and the music to tell the story.

JD: We never thought of him as a lunatic, we always looked at him as the original victim in all this. He had his family pulled away from him and sent off to prison–it’s very tragic.

Q: Johnny, Broadway actors would kill for this part. You didn’t even take voice lessons.

JD: I don’t know what I brought to it–or if I brought anything at all. I brought a bit of me to it, that’s really all I have to offer. Sitting in front of a piano doing scales, trying to learn how to sing in some operatic form, just seemed counterproductive. [. . .] But one thing I do–that I don’t remember hearing any of the other Sweeneys do–is English, oddly. [In most productions, Sweeney is played with an American accent.] Especially that East End English. That was something I thought I could add.

The Zone thanks Emma for posting the article; you can read the interview in full on the News & Views forum of the message boards. To see a larger version of the Eccles photograph, without the headlines, click here: –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp on cover of the January 2008 issue of ESQUIRE

ESQUIRE Magazine starts 2008 with some fireworks–a great new Mark Hom photo of Johnny Depp on their January cover, and a joint interview of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton by Cal Fussman inside. “Burton and Depp are known as two of the strangest, quietest geniuses ever to work in movies,” Fussman begins. “Turns out they’re not that strange. Or quiet.” Fussman presents his subjects in their own words, offering a series of quotes from Johnny and Tim, like a question-and-answer session with the questions omitted. Johnny tells Fussman, “My life is my life because of Tim. Definitely.” He also tells Fussman about the convoluted way in which he was asked to become godfather to Tim Burton’s son with Helena Bonham Carter, Billy Ray.

Tim Burton philosophizes about the director’s lot, and how critical perceptions of his work tend to change over time: “When I did Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, it was on several of the ten-worst-movies-of-the-year lists. Then, a few years later, the same critics who put it on those lists looked back and called it a classic. And I go, ‘What are you talking about? You said it was one of the ten worst movies of the year. Now it’s a classic?’ So you learn that things have a way of balancing themselves out.”

Many thanks to Coruscate for breaking the news and also to addicted2depp for posting scans of the article. You can read the entire article on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the ESQUIRE cover, click here: –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp to film PUBLIC ENEMIES for director Michael Mann

What will Johnny Depp be doing this winter? Preparing to play notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s film PUBLIC ENEMIES, which is scheduled to begin shooting on March 10, 2008 in Chicago. Windy City Deppheads, rejoice!

Yes, it’s official; Variety reports that Johnny and Michael Mann met and settled the deal yesterday in Los Angeles. “Meeting hours before the Hollywood premiere of Depp’s SWEENEY TODD, the director and actor shook hands on a deal that triggers a March 10 start for PUBLIC ENEMIES in Chicago,” says Variety. ” [The] drama is set during the great crime wave of 1933-34, when the government’s attempts to stop Depression-era criminal legends such as John Dillilnger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd transformed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI into the country’s first federal police force.”

PUBLIC ENEMIES will be made for Universal, Variety reports, with Mann and his Forward Pass producing along with Kevin Misher and his Misher Films. Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal will be executive producer.

The current writers’ strike will pose no problem for PUBLIC ENEMIES; director Mann is likely to be satisfied with the script in its current state, as he wrote it himself. The screenplay is based on Bryan Burrough’s 2004 book, PUBLIC ENEMIES: AMERICA’S GREATEST CRIME WAVE AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI, 1933-34.

The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for breaking the news in this fast-developing story–the first whisper of this project appeared in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER on Tuesday, and one day later it was a done deal. You can read more about the project on the Zone’s News & Views forum; to read the Variety article, click here:

The Zone congratulates Johnny Depp and Michael Mann on their new project, and wishes them a swift and satisfying shoot in Chicago. PUBLIC ENEMIES will certainly be on our Most-Wanted list! –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp and Tim Burton attend SWEENEY TODD screening in Los Angeles

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton attending a screening of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET last night (December 5th), as a very proud DreamWorks studio unveiled the film to 700 invited guests in Los Angeles. The screening was hosted by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Stacey Snider in honor of Johnny, Tim–newly crowned Best Director of 2007 by the National Board of Review–and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The LA Times’s Tom O’Neil reports that Johnny, as is his custom, did not watch the film, but he “chatted casually with scores of attendees” before and after the screening.

Regarding the demon barber he plays, Johnny told Tom O’Neil, “I love the character. He’s super complex because there’s a whole lot going on there. Fifty-one percent of the people say he’s a madman and 49 percent say he’s the original victim in the plot.” And what is Johnny’s verdict about Sweeney? “I belive he’s a victim,” Johnny said. “I believe he’s a tragic figure.” You can hear Tom O’Neil’s podcast chats with Johnny Depp and Stephen Sondheim on O’Neil’s Gold Derby page here:

The Zone thanks emma, dharma_bum, mikaDepp and AnaMaria for news and pictures of the Los Angeles screening. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Tim Burton wins "Best Director" award from National Board of Review for SWEENEY TODD

Awards season got underway this afternoon as the National Board of Review announced their 2007 winners. Although they chose the Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as Best Picture, they gave Best Director honors to Tim Burton for his film of Stephen Sondheim’s musical SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Best Actor went to George Clooney for MICHAEL CLAYTON, and Best Actress to Julie Christie for AWAY FROM HER. SWEENEY TODD was also included on the National Board of Review’s list of the ten best films of 2007. Congratulations!

The Zone thanks Ventoux and Bohemian for posting the news; you can read more about the awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton appear on NBC's THE TODAY SHOW to promote SWEENEY TODD

No, that’s not a promotion picture from DONNIE BRASCO–that’s a screencap of Johnny Depp as he appeared on NBC’s THE TODAY SHOW this morning, when he and Tim Burton did an interview with Al Roker to promote SWEENEY TODD. Roker called the film “one of the most haunting movies I’ve ever seen”–high praise–but he echoes some of the critic’s concerns about the amount of blood shown onscreen. Was there any pressure from the studio to tone it down at all?

“No,” Tim Burton replies, “because they knew what the show was [. . . ] . You know, he [Sweeney] kills people and there’s cannibalism, so it’s not like they’re going to change [the plot].” The director then suggests that the dark storyline may have a therapeutic effect: “It kind of makes you feel better about your own life, in a way, watching this movie, you know? [. . . .] It’s like, ‘Well, gee, my life isn’t so bad after all.’ ” Al Roker agrees: “I’m not slitting anybody’s throat and I’m not eating anybody.”

Roker does notice that Johnny is “cringing” every time a film clip airs, and Johnny confirms that he has yet to see SWEENEY TODD. “It’s not that scary,” says Tim in a teasing older-brother voice, and Johnny responds, “I’d like to see Tim’s work, but unfortunately I’m in it.”

Many thanks to addicted2depp and Chenault for news of the TODAY SHOW appearance, and to emma for sharing a transcript of the broadcast; you can read the transcript on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of AnaMaria’s lovely screencap, click here: FANtasticJD has also shared some terrific screencaps; here is one of Johnny smiling and another of Johnny, Tim and Al Roker on the TODAY SHOW set The Zone thanks AnaMaria and FANtasticJD for their work–what a way to brighten up a December morning! –Part-Time Poet

"Seamless, coherent, and vibrant, with [. . .] haunted and musically adept lead performances"–VARIETY gives SWEENEY TODD a great review

VARIETY’s Todd McCarthy has joined the chorus of major critics giving excellent reviews to Tim Burton’s film adaptation of SWEENEY TODD. “Both sharp and fleet, SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET proves a satisfying screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s landmark 1979 theatrical musical,” writes McCarthy. “Where much could have gone wrong, things have turned out uniformly right thanks to highly focused direction by Tim Burton, expert screw-tightening by scenarist John Logan, and haunted and musically adept lead performances from Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.”

Although “[s]ome Broadway purists will gripe about how the film of SWEENEY TODD omits and abridges certain songs,” McCarthy notes, “Burton and his cohorts have [. . .] imaginatively reconceived the piece as a work of cinema; strictly in film terms, SWEENEY is seamless, coherent and vibrant, with scarcely a trace of ‘Broadway.’ “

The reviewer has high praise for Tim Burton’s direction: “Eschewing trademark mannerisms and flights of fancy, and yet fully imprinting the film with his signature, Burton strongly delivers the dark core of this story,” says McCarthy. “Burton stages the singing sequences with precision and fluidity; as most of them are intimate one-or-two-person affairs and not production numbers in the traditional sense, he approaches them as he would dramatic scenes, in degrees of closeup and with an emphasis on content and forward movement. [T]his represents one happy instance of a film made by a director without stage experience that genuinely serves the intentions of the original piece.”

VARIETY also praises Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the iconic roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. “Heavy curiosity will center on how Depp, in particular, manages the vocals (all the actors performed their songs themselves). The answer is, perfectly well, thank you,” says McCarthy. “The ever-resourceful thesp doesn’t take the half-measure of sing-speaking in the manner of Rex Harrison or Richard Burton, but puts across his many numbers with an agreeable voice that effectively registers the lyrics’ import. The same goes for Bonham Carter, a similarly untrained vocalist, who works in the same vein of successfully acting her role through song. There is deeply buried emotion and charged motivations in both characters that Depp and Bonham Carter consistently express.”

The Zone thanks Ventoux for sharing the VARIETY review; you can find it on the Zone’s News & Views forum, or read it in its entirety here: Congratulations to the cast and crew of SWEENEY TODD! –Part-Time Poet

"Johnny Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages"–The Hollywood Reporter gives SWEENEY TODD a rave review

“Bottom line: Bloody good,” declares Kirk Honeycutt of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER in his review of Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Regarding Johnny Depp’s performance in the leading role, Honeycutt says, “Johnny Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages,” and as for Tim Burton’s direction, “the show couldn’t have fallen into better hands.” Adapting a classic Broadway musical for the screen, particularly one with such tragic, non-traditional subject matter, is both artistically and commercially risky–as Honeycutt writes, “It’s 19th century London and everyone is singing, but when arterial blood sprays from the opened throat of Signor Adolfo Pirelli, you know this is no MY FAIR LADY.” Instead, Honeycutt compares the film to Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW, “where heads rolled like so many bowling balls,” adding that SWEENEY TODD “places its emphasis on Grand Guignol and the deeply human story of twice-lost love and the horrifying destructiveness of revenge.”

“In choosing actors who can carry a tune as opposed to singing-actors, Burton has wisely gone for the tragic, emotional heart of the story,” says Honeycutt. “Depp is the movie’s heart and guts. His Sweeney, nee Benjamin Barker–having escaped false imprisonment in Australia after 15 years–is ruled by revenge upon his return to London. [. . . .] Depp plays Sweeney as a man so focused on death, so committed to blood, that he has lost all touch with life. [Helena Bonham] Carter’s amoral Nellie Lovett, her hair apparently combed with an egg beater, is herself obsessed with Sweeney. She imagines an impossible life with him without realizing he is unmoored from any reality in which this might take place.”

As for all that blood we’ve heard so much about, Honeycutt finds it an appropriate artistic choice: “Burton pushes this gore into his audiences’ faces so as to feel the madness and the destructive fury of Sweeney’s obsession. Teaming with Depp, his long-time alter ego, Burton makes Sweeney a smoldering dark pit of fury and hate that consumes itself. With his sturdy acting and surprisingly good voice, Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages.”

Many thanks to Ventoux for posting the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER review on the Zone–you can find it on the News & Views forum in the thread, “Reactions to ST Screenings.” You can also read the Hollywood Reporter review here: –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp attends the premiere of SWEENEY TODD in New York City tonight!

Looking dashing and debonair in a black double-breasted suit, black shirt, and blood red tie, Johnny Depp arrived at the premiere of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City tonight. Joining him were the film’s director, Tim Burton, producer Richard Zanuck, and his castmates Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Laura Michelle Kelly, Ed Sanders, and Jayne Wisener. Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and screenwriter John Logan attended, as did a former co-star of Johnny’s . . . Rolling Stone Keith Richards. Many thanks to bonnie, AnaMaria and Carasun for bringing us premiere pictures–you can see a larger version of the close-up of Johnny here: To see a full-length view of Johnny on the red carpet, click here: You can read more about the premiere on the Zone’s message boards. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp and Tim Burton in New York City for the premiere of SWEENEY TODD

Good news for the Big Apple–Johnny Depp has arrived in New York City for the world premiere of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, which will take place Monday evening at the Zeigfeld Theater. The photo at left shows Johnny, SWEENEY TODD composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and director Tim Burton as they arrive at a private screening of Burton’s SWEENEY TODD in New York on Sunday December 2nd. For those who plan to attend the SWEENEY red carpet on Monday, bundle up well and wave to Johnny for us!

Many thanks to Emma for the photo of Messrs. Depp, Sondheim, and Burton; it’s rather staggering to see so much genius in a single frame of film. To see a larger version, click here: –Part-Time Poet

Putting SHANTARAM "on pause"–Johnny Depp speaks to NDTV India

During the London press junket for SWEENEY TODD, Johnny Depp spoke to reporter Rachna Prasad of NDTV India about the future of his long-anticipated film SHANTARAM, which was scheduled to begin shooting in early 2008 but has now been postponed by Warner Bros. , one more casualty of the Writers Guild of America strike. Here is a transcript of that interview:

JOHNNY DEPP: Because of what’s going on with the writers’ strike and everything, we put the movie basically on “Pause.” We just hit “Pause” for the moment, to see how everything goes with the writers’ strike. Mira’s [Nair, the director] work with Eric Roth [the screenwriter] has been amazing, and I think they’re getting close to something very, very . . . nearly perfect. But with the writers’ strike, we have to make sure that everything is–that you’ve got all your ducks in a row, so to speak.

RACHNA PRASAD: Do you think that Bombay (Mumbai) will be the place to shoot, when you do it?

JOHNNY DEPP: Oh, I think, yeah. There would be no place . . . no way to replicate that. You’d have to be in that area–in Bombay. And there’s nobody better than Mira to capture that. She has a real strong feeling for the place, obviously.

RACHNA PRASAD: And any feelings about Amitabh Bachchan, who is a big Indian icon?

JOHNNY DEPP: I have, you know, utmost respect for him. I mean, [he’s] a very strong actor, a very important actor. He’s a very interesting man, and I have great respect for him.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the interview. And yes, that’s a new photo of Johnny Depp (thanks to Bonnie and AnaMaria); to see a larger version, click here: –Part-Time Poet

Official SWEENEY TODD website has a new look and many new features!

If you haven’t been to the official website for SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET in a while, you’re in for a delightful treat–the site has received a major upgrade. Music from the soundtrack plays constantly, so you can sample Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and the rest of the cast singing Stephen Sondheim’s complex score while reading the production notes on the film (click on “The Film” to read these). Click on “Video” and you can access the trailer, the TV spots, and some great footage of Johnny Depp in the studio singing. The photo gallery has 24 beautiful stills from the film, and there are wallpapers, banners and buddy icons to download. Definitely worth a visit! The Zone thanks Mrs Pink for posting the news; you can visit the official SWEENEY TODD site here: –Part-Time Poet