Monday, December 31, 2007

John August: Hinting at Unknown Future Burton Films?

On his official website, screenwriter and Burton collaborator John August wrote in his blog that, contrary to claims made on such websites as (which have now been changed), he will not be writing the screenplay for Burton's upcoming stop-motion adaptation of the director's short film, Frankenweenie. August wrote the following on his blog:

"I had a meeting with Disney Animation about a year ago, in which they pitched the idea of doing a feature version of Tim’s Frankenweenie short film. They even had production art for it. Then, separately, I had a conversation with Tim about doing another stop-motion animation project like Corpse Bride.

"But they’re not the same thing. And as far as I know, I won’t be working on either one. (That said, I didn’t think I was working on Corpse Bride until I was halfway on a plane to London, so never say never.)"

John August first worked with Tim Burton when he wrote the screenplay for 2003's Big Fish. Directly after that fanciful odyssey, August wrote the screenplay for Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the final draft for Corpse Bride, both released in 2005. August also helped composer Danny Elfman adapt and write the whimsical lyrics for both Charlie and Corpse Bride.

August's blog entry is made even more interesting in the following excerpt:

"To further confuse matters, there’s a different and as-yet-unannounced Tim Burton project (live action) which I almost certainly will be writing post-strike. And yes, I’d love to tell you what it is. But I can’t."

This project can't be Burton's upcoming Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which will also be made at Walt Disney Pictures. Linda Woolverton already has the credit of writing the screenplay for that future literary adaptation. So John August seems to be hinting at possibly two unknown future Tim Burton films, one live-action, the other in stop-motion animation. What could these films be? We'll have to wait for future articles to appear...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Burton and Depp Interview Each Other with Your Questions

The complete and unscripted video interview between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton is now online. The two ask one another various questions about Sweeney Todd and more, submitted by fans, viewers, and Internet browsers to AOL Movies. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two New Pee-wee Movies?

In 1985, Paul Reubens brought his original character, the zany man-child Pee-wee Herman, to the big screen. This same film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, was also Tim Burton's directorial debut in the world of feature-length motion pictures.

It's been over twenty years since that widely acclaimed, box-office winning, and quotable cult classic came into popular culture. Now, Mr. Reubens, though a bit older (but still plenty Pee-wee) is considering making two more films featuring his infamous alter ego.

"I feel like the time is really ripe right now," Reubens said on why he's interested in making more Pee-wee movies at this point in time. "A lot of the kids who grew up with the show are young adults. The college kids are middle-aged adults. I feel like I have enough of a built-in audience to make back an investment."

Reubens reported that he has two scripts ready to go. The first concerns an extension of his multi-Emmy Award winning children's series, Pee-wee's Playhouse. This feature-length adaptation will bring the characters into a whole new realm. "We never really went out into what we call puppet land," Reubens recalled of the show. "And this [film] takes place out of the playhouse. I think there are one or two scenes in the playhouse in the beginning. Basically it's all in a fantasy land," he said. "It's like a 'Wizard of Oz,' H.R. Pufnstuf epic adventure story." The whole assemblage of characters will hopefully be there, in their live-action human and puppet forms alike.

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman
Photo: Frazer Harrison/ Getty Images

The second storyline is one that Reubens called "the dark Pee Wee movie," is "not really very dark" and certainly not intended to be an R-rated film. "It's basically the story of Pee-wee Herman becoming famous as a singer," he explained. "He has a hit single and gets brought out to Hollywood to make musical movies, kind of like they did with Elvis. It all kind of goes downhill from there for Pee-wee. He turns into a monster. He does everything wrong and becomes a big jerk." Though he described it as a movie "about fame," Reubens insisted, "It's not autobiographical."

But will audiences buy a 55-year-old man-child, even if it is Pee-wee? People have noted that Reubens still has the energy, humor, and essence of his character from over two decades ago. But if that isn't enough, Reubens has a plan: "My second option is to have Johnny Depp play Pee-wee," he said. Reubens insisted that he's even spoken to Depp about it, saying that the actor told him, "Let me think about it."

Will Tim Burton and Paul Reubens collaborate again? After Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Reubens and Burton collaborated again on Batman Returns (1992) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Reubens admitted that he talked to Burton about the possibility of bringing these new Pee-wee projects to the big screen in the future, but acknowledged his old collaborator's own busy schedule. "I have talked to Tim about one of them about a year ago. But Tim is booked. I think he would be interested in it, but he's really busy." Indeed, Burton will soon be working on a feature-length version of Frankenweenie (the original short film from 1984 was what made Reubens decide that Burton was perfect for directing the first Pee-wee Herman movie) and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Reubens is still searching, but remains optimistic. "I think it's really just a question of the right person coming along. I've had opportunities to do [the films] with people who didn't feel like the right people. It just takes one person."

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Sweeney Todd" Gets Four Golden Globe Nominations Including Best Picture

The nominees for the 2008 Golden Globe Awards have been announced. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has earned four nominations:

- Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy:
Sweeney Todd (Parkes/MacDonald and Zanuck Company; DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution / Warner Bros. Pictures)

-Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy:
Helena Bonham Carter

-Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy:
Johnny Depp

-Best Director - Motion Picture:
Tim Burton

The 65th Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast on January 13th, 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Girl!

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter's second child was born last night in London.

"They are absolutely delighted they have a daughter," Bonham Carter's representative, Karon Maskill, said. "It's a lovely Christmas present for the family."

There is no official word on the baby girl's name as of yet.

(E! Online)

UPDATE: A few sources have said that the baby will be named Indiana Rose Burton. Confusion about the validity of the name is understandable, as it has been reported that Burton and Bonham Carter did not want to know the gender of the child until it was born.

Burton and Depp 'Like Immature Brothers'

Helena Bonham Carter reports how the long-time collaborators Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are "like immature brothers."

"They have a great synergy. They are very like each other. Chosen brothers elected by each other. They have the same sense of humour and share a deep respect. They have grown up together.

"Working on Edward Scissorhands joined them. They are both introverts, but very flamboyant when it comes to their work. That is their release. They are rebels, anti-authoritarian. They are very age seven in their sense of humour."

Burton added that he and Depp have "been lucky to usually be on the same wavelength and like similar kinds of things."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Helena Prepares for Baby

Helena Bonham Carter and family are preparing for her second child with Tim Burton. The baby is due this month, most have reported, and the actress remarked that, at the moment, she looks like a "huge globe." In anticipation of the new arrival, Bonham Carter has given her son, Billy Ray Burton, a doll so he too can prepare for taking care of the newest addition to the family.

"He just turned four, is in preschool, and we've gotten him a baby doll so he can get used to the idea of having a sibling," she says. "He's already teaching the 'baby' that he shouldn't swallow marbles."

Regarding Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Helena recalled (eventually) getting the role of Mrs. Lovett.

"Tim was the most professional, professional. He wouldn't even tell me how auditions were going," said the actress. She also said that her singing coach was "brilliant," and that said that when she was told she would play Mrs. Lovett was: "Probably the best day of my life."

Sweeney Todd will be released this coming Friday in U.S. cinemas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Burton on "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" reports that, in an interview, Burton wanted to maintain the essence of Lewis Carroll's original with his upcoming adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. "It's just such a classic, and the imagery is so surreal," said the director. "I don't know; I've never seen a version where I feel like they got it all. It's a series of weird adventures, and to try to do it where it works as a movie will be interesting."

Burton will also produce the film, which will be released by the Walt Disney Co. It will reportedly be a hybrid of live-action and performance-capture animation.

"The stories are like drugs for children, you know?" Burton said. "It's like, 'Whoa, man.' The imagery, they've never quite nailed making it compelling as a full story. So I think it's an interesting challenge to direct.

Filming on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland will commence in early 2008.

Burton on New "Frankenweenie" had some quotes from Tim Burton on his upcoming, stop-motion version of Frankenweenie. The film, based on Burton's live-action short of the same name from 1984, will now be a feature-length movie, which is what Burton had originally wanted to do. "We're going to do that real low-budget," the filmmaker said. Burton assured that this will not be the exact same movie as his original. "The thing that excites me about it and that will make it different is that when I look at my original drawings, there are certain things that are in those that I couldn't get in the live action when I made the film. So I'm quite excited to try to get a certain emotion and other characters in the new version, and I want to make it a slightly bigger story."

"I'm such a fan of old movies, and I think that just stays with you," Burton added. "It doesn't leave you. Those kinds of things, whether you think about them or not, they just are in your DNA, and they stay with you. Even if I was doing a romantic comedy I would probably stick a bunch of shadows in there or whatever."

One piece of artwork by Tim Burton for his 1984 Frankenweenie.

Frankenweenie will be shown in 3-D in participating theaters, and released by Walt Disney Pictures, in 2009. This may seem like a short time, but stop-motion features, though tedious to make, are considerably less expensive than CGI movies (usually only a third of the expense), and, with enough diligent, talented animators working on many scenes simultaneously, the film can be pulled off in a few years. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride from 2005 was also accomplished in this amount of time, having been done so with new technology that exceeded the abilities and time spent on animating from the days of The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Helena's Changing Curves

Helena Bonham Carter claims that her chest changes sizes dramatically throughout Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -- and not because of her outfits. Helena was pregnant throughout shooting of the film. As a result, the actress claims, her curves kept changing during each scene, which was shot out of sequence.

The child she was pregnant with is due any day now.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Photos From Paramount Screening of "Sweeney Todd"

Pictures taken prior to a special screening of Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California, December 5, 2007.

Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton.
Reuters/Fred Prouser (United States)

Tim Burton.
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.
Reuters/Fred Prouser (United States)

Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Richard D. Zanuck, and Stephen Sondheim.

Manson Denies Burton Movie Rumors

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson has denied Internet rumors of him collaborating with Tim Burton on a biopic on Lewis Carroll. Manson will soon be shooting his own movie on the novelist, entitled Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, and stated that people likely became confused with Burton's separate film, his upcoming adaptation of Carroll's novel, Alice in Wonderland.

Manson said: "I've read that he's making Alice in Wonderland, but my film isn't Alice in Wonderland. It's about the period in which Lewis Carroll was writing it. I've based it all around his diaries."

This is not the first time that rumors of a Manson-Burton collaboration have come up. Back in 2004, rumors developed on the Internet that Manson would play Willy Wonka or even the villainous Slugworth in Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Slugworth was not even featured in the film. (He was mentioned briefly, as he was in Roald Dahl's original book). Manson, however, did do a cover of the song "This is Halloween" for the special-edition soundtrack from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas last year.

Burton's Alice in Wonderland is being produced by the Walt Disney Co. It is likely to be released in 2010 (but no official word has come up yet).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NBR: "Sweeney Todd" Among 10 Best Films of 2007; Burton Wins Best Director

Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has been named among the top ten films of the year by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

"2007 was an extremely exciting and challenging year for the NBR in determining the winners in the various categories," said NBR president Annie Schulhof in a release. "We screened 282 films and the diversity of these narratives is reflected in our 2007 Ten Best Films."

Eventually, No Country For Old Men by the Coen brothers won Best Film of 2007. But Sweeney Todd was recognized as one of the ten best of the year, and Burton took home the prize for Best Director.

Sweeney Todd will be released in U.S. theaters on December 21st, 2007.

A Very Burton Christmas

Tim Burton's Christmas tree this year will be adorned in a macabre fashion appropriate for the director -- "dead babies and slime." Helena Bonham Carter, Burton's long-time partner, revealed that Burton shuns tradition for a different version of holiday cheer. "Tim decorates the Christmas tree with dead babies and slime balls and things. It looks lovely and glittery from afar, and then as you get closer, you realize it's rather gory," the actress, now pregnant with their second child, said. The couple's first child was Billy Ray Burton, now four years old. The second child is due this December.

Bonham Carter described her tree as looking quite different from her boyfriend's. "Mine looks like Beatrix Potter. He has dead Oompa-Loompas around and multicoloured fiberglass alien lamps. But then he has some nice red-button sofas from Sleepy Hollow. So it's a funny and good mix." But despite the morbid appearance, Bonham Carter assured that they're not sick in the head in a bad way. Helena told Playboy magazine: "We're not that dark. What I love about Tim is that he retains a certain innocence and a childlike quality. He sort of forgot to grow up. I think I've definitely forgotten to grow up, which is great."

Helena jokingly said that their childish outlook on life (and death) might make them odd parents. "At some point, Billy will probably want parents. He'll have to look elsewhere."

Burton and Depp Will Be Taking YOUR Questions

Tonight (that is Wednesday, December 5th) will be hosting an interview with both Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. The visionary duo will be taking your questions, in part of Cinematical's "Celebrity Interviews: Unscripted." Check back the week of December 17th to see if your question was answered in the video interview!

Tim Burton Film Festival in London This December

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that a festival of all of Tim Burton's films will go on in London from December 7th until December 30th, 2007. The films of Mr. Burton, who has been described by the BFI Southbank website as "One of modern cinema's great visionaries," will be shown as well as other films that inspired Burton's work: Glen or Glenda?, the quasi-documentary/autobiography about transvestites by Ed Wood (Starring Bela Lugosi), the B-movie filmmaker Burton made a biopic on, and House of Wax in 3D starring horror film legend and Burton's idol Vincent Price.

In addition to the film screenings, two talks with two of Burton's associates will be featured. The first talk will be with Mark Salisbury, who wrote the book Burton on Burton and recently the companion book to the film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. His talk will occur on Thursday, December 13th (click the link for more details).

The second talk will be with Academy Award-winning costume designer and long-time Burton collaborator Colleen Atwood, who will be discussing her work with the imaginative director. Atwood began working with Burton in 1990, on Edward Scissorhands, and will have more of his creations feature as the wardrobes in Burton's Sweeney Todd. The renowned costume designer has so far worked with Mr. Burton on seven feature films. Atwood will speak on Saturday, December 15th (click the link for more information). Costumes from Sweeney Todd will also be on display.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas will be just one of all of Burton's feature films that will be shown at the festival this month.

There will also be fun activities, like a "Corpse Bride Animation Workshop" and a "Nightmare Before Christmas Light, Sound & Animation Workshop."

A few additional surprises will be at this exciting event. Search the website for details, showtimes, and more!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nine Clips, Three Featurettes, and Behind-the-Scenes Footage from "Sweeney Todd" Online! has posted a whopping nine film clips, three featurettes, and behind-the-scenes footage of Sweeney Todd. The videos on the site feature interviews with the cast and crew on the film, and actual segments from the movie itself. There are also several new high-quality pictures from the movie on the link. I haven't looked at any of the videos myself, as to avoid any potential SPOILERS. But for those of you who just can't wait, there's plenty to offer from this website.

More can be seen and heard on the official website for Sweeney Todd, too, including song excerpts, production notes, a photo gallery, and downloads.
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd.

Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman.

Burton and Depp Seen Christmas Shopping

A report from claim that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were seen Christmas shopping at a "Forbidden Planet" store in London. The store closed its doors from the public to allow the director and the actor to shop movie memorabilia without the public's distractions. The article reported that Depp bought a cuddly Mario doll from the "Super Mario Bros." game franchise.

Burton "Devastated" by "Ripley's" Problems

The Los Angeles Times reported that Tim Burton felt "pretty devastated" by the failure of the development of a film he was going to work on last year, Ripley's Believe It or Not!. Burton had already begun planning locations for shooting the film in China, when Paramount Pictures shut down pre-production due to budget issues. Ripley's was to be a biographical movie ("bio-pic") on Robert Ripley, a cartoonist and filmmaker who traveled the world looking for bizarre oddities and curiosities. The film was to star Jim Carrey in the title role, and reportedly Gong Li, as well. "I know it's a business," Burton said of Ripley's with a frustrated tone of voice. "But for those of us working on the film, you get excited, and it's an art form. They should feel lucky that you treat it like an art form." Shortly after, however, a new project from Paramount came up for Mr. Burton: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Ripley's may still happen someday, but likely not with Burton (since he will be working on Alice in Wonderland and a feature-length, stop-motion animated version of Frankenweenie with Disney in the next couple of years).

The article goes on to talk about Sweeney Todd, but beware of SPOILERS! Approach with caution!: Article.

Helena Preggers

A couple of pictures of Helena Bonham Carter ripe with her second child with Tim Burton have appeared on the Internet. The baby is supposedly due December 7th, 2007.

Burton and Depp Video Interview

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were interviewed by Access Hollywood to promote the upcoming Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In between laughing, the director and actor discuss their partnership, fatherhood, singing, the blood in the film, Preparation H (don't ask; just watch the video) and more:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Update: The Producers of Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" Announced

Playbill News has stated that Richard D. Zanuck, Joe Roth with Suzanne and Jennifer Todd will produce Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland at Disney. Roth and the two Todds are first-time Burton collaborators, but Richard D. Zanuck has produced every live-action film by Tim Burton since 2001's Planet of the Apes. The article also stated that production for Alice will commence in January 2008. Burton will not be working on Alice and his stop-motion remake of Frankenweenie simultaneously. Instead, production on the upcoming animated film about a boy and his resurrected dog will begin after Alice. Walt Disney Pictures is expecting production on Alice to be finished by the end of May 2008.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Updates on the New Films

A new article has stated that Linda Woolverton, who wrote the screenplays for the Disney animated features Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, will be penning the script for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie. In addition, both Alice and the stop-motion, feature-length version of Frankenweenie will be shown in theaters in the Disney Digital 3D format. The 3D format has received a reborn interest among many film studios in Hollywood. Several new films and old classics will be released or re-released in the 3D format in the coming years. This year, Tim Burton's brain-child from 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and his 1982 stop-motion short Vincent (in participating theaters), were shown in 3D.

Shooting for Alice will commence early in 2008 and is set to end production by the end of May that year. Burton will then go on to work on Frankenweenie, also with the Walt Disney Co.


Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter have announced that Tim Burton has signed on with the Walt Disney Co. to make two new film projects: Alice in Wonderland and a full-length, stop-motion version of Frankenweenie.

Alice in Wonderland
, based on the original Lewis Carroll tale, will be shot with a combination of live-action and motion-capture technology. Shooting will begin early 2008. Rumors about Burton adapting the story have been circulating on the Internet for years, but this is certainly the closest thing to an official announcement that has appeared thus far.

The second project announced in the article, also in collaboration with the Walt Disney Co., Frankenweenie, is an adaptation of Burton's very own live-action short film he made while at Disney in 1984. This was the film that made Paul Reubens discover the young director and asked him to make his first feature-length film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, in 1985. Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Pictures, hinted that a prominent filmmaker in recent stop-motion features would be working with Disney in the near future. This is likely that film. In the book Burton on Burton, director Tim Burton said that he felt that Frankenweenie could have been a full-length feature film.

More details to come in the near future! Stay tuned!

Hear Burton Talk about "Sweeney Todd" Before "An Evening with Tim Burton: Cinema's Demon Barber"

On Wednesday, November 14th, Tim Burton spoke at the Rose Theater in New York at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's "An Evening with Tim Burton: Cinema's Demon Barber. " At the show, Burton discussed his career in filmmaking and showed clips from his various films spanning over the last two decades. The finale of the evening featured three clips from his upcoming Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The clip reportedly confirmed that the film will be bloody and that Johnny Depp can sing. "Witty, often elegant and always unpredictable, the films of Tim Burton have created a special niche for themselves within contemporary cinema," reads an announcement for the evening. "A born spinner of tall tales, whose subjects have ranged from Martians to Z-list Hollywood directors to, now, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Burton takes audiences places they'd never thought they'd go—and in ways they couldn't have imagined."

Before the show, The Los Angeles Times reports that Burton discussed the songs in the movie musical. Despite cuts, Burton assured that much of the music from the staged musical will be in the movie. "There are 26 songs in it. It's like 70 to 75 percent singing and 80 or 90 percent music — more like 90 percent." Burton also gave an indication that the film will be roughly an hour and forty-five minutes long. An Mp3 interview with Burton can be heard here.

AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Albert Ferreira.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Max Casella interview

The Collective recently interviewed actor Max Casella, who appeared in Ed Wood, by telephone. He talked about working with Burton, having his trailer cleared out by the real Paul Marco, and more. You can read the full interview here!
Speaking of interviews, MTV has one with Jack Nicholson where he badmouths The Dark Knight and the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker. While I wouldn't want to really see Nicholson playing the Joker again at his age, I agree with him that the later movies in the series (including Batman Begins) never "really captured Tim Burton's spirit". What do you guys think?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Entertainment Weekly Covers "Sweeney Todd"

Entertainment Weekly has a huge cover story on the upcoming motion picture from Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The article, written by Steve Daly, calls says that the film is, "dark, desaturated, and visually stunning — and yields some revelations: First, Johnny Depp can actually sing, and second,the movie's got more spurting blood than a season's worth of E.R. Like the [staged musical], Sweeney Todd spins a gruesome tale of vengeance in 19th-century London."

Actor Johnny Depp remarks on bringing Todd and its psychotic, blood-thirsty anti-hero to the big screen. He reports the difficulty of ''taking a character like that and attempting to make people feel for him, at the same time that he's slashing people up. Not easy.'' Nevertheless, Depp remained enthusiastic about the challenge. "How many chances do you get at a musical about a serial killer?''

Helena Bonham Carter, Depp's co-star, who plays Mrs. Lovett in the film, says that the grotesque subplot of the movie "is so sick... I hope we get away with it.'' But director Tim Burton realized the importance of the highly stylized blood and gore effects. The article states that Burton "felt Sweeney should be deliberately grotesque — a Mario Bava gorefest with ballads." ''It just goes with the story,'' Burton says. ''I'd seen different Sweeney Todd productions on stage, and when they skimped on the blood, the production lost something. Everything is so internal with Sweeney that [the blood] is like his emotional release. It's more about catharsis than it is a literal thing.''

Photo by Leah Gallo

On the issue of the leading actors' singing capabilities, Stephen Sondheim felt confidence in their abilities. "'I figured he'd have a light baritone,'' says the composer, now 77. ''You can hear it in his speaking voice. I love him as an actor, and always have. Put those things together, I didn't hesitate for one second.'' Depp astonished by the master composer's words. ''It was a real shock,'' the actor says. ''He said to me early on that the singing was secondary to hitting the notes emotionally.'' Depp continued: ''I didn't believe him.'' He laughs. ''I think he was probably just saying that to make me feel better about what I was about to attempt.'' But Sondheim felt certainty in Depp's ambitious role. ''There are very few people who can act and sing at the same time,'' he says. ''He's one.''

Helena Bonham Carter also spoke of her work in the movie musical. ''I think I had to be righter than right to prove I was right to play Mrs. Lovett. But it had been in my blood. I wanted to be her when I was 13, when the show came out. I went around with a Mrs. Lovett hairdo.'' Unlike Depp, Bonham Carter studied for months with a renowned vocal coach, Ian Adam. ''He was famous for making actors sing who couldn't previously,'' she says. Sadly, Mr. Adam passed away the week filming wrapped.

Bonham Carter is aware of some people's doubts on bringing Mrs. Lovett to the screen effectively and faithfully to the original show. ''I'm sure people will think, Aah, it's because I've slept with Tim. But I didn't sleep with Sondheim. And he ultimately chose me.'' The composer says he watched a dozen or so audition tapes and insists that Bonham Carter's performance was the best. ''Even in a recording studio, wearing a schmatte, she is as beautiful and sexy as they come,'' he says. ''She knew what she was doing, more than the others.''

Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's crazed cohort, and Sacha Baron Cohen, as Sweeney's rival, Signor Pirelli. Carter: Peter Mountain; Cohen: Leah Gallo.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will be released in U.S. theaters on December 21st, 2007.

More can be read in the article.

Q&A with Johnny Depp, on "Sweeney Todd"

Entertainment Weekly has conducted a question and answer session with Johnny Depp, star of Tim Burton's upcoming Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, on the making of the film. In the interview, Depp says his take on the murderous barber ''makes Sid Vicious look like the innocent paper boy.'' Depp says the wild streak of white hair his character was the result of "this hideous trauma, from being sent away, locked away. That streak of white hair became the shock of that rage." The actor also described the character's eyes as "needed to have experienced too much, you know. That's where the darkness came around them. These heavy rings around his eyes of purple and brown, this kind of awful fatigue and rage. It's like he's never slept."
Photo by Leah Gallo.

Depp also recalls Peter Lorre's performance in the film Mad Love and other horror film actors as being key sources of inspiration. On Lorre's performance, Depp says, "[h]e's unbelievably disturbing. Broken and haunting and sweet. Way ahead of its time, that film and performance. The other sort of God for me is Lon Chaney Sr. Aside from Peter Lorre, he would be the other enormous inspiration. Did you ever see his film The Penalty? It's shocking.... His performance is so heightened and gorgeous. I highly recommend that one."

On the amount of blood and gore in the movie musical, Depp says that he remembers "everyone except [himself] covered in plastic trash bags. There'd be a countdown. Three, two, one... action! And then blammo, you know? The great deluge."

Depp also talks about one of his co-stars, Sacha Baron Cohen (star of Borat, who plays Todd's nemesis, Pirelli). Depp said of Sacha Baron Cohen that "he's kind of today's equivalent to Peter Sellers." When asked how he and his long-time collaborator, director Tim Burton, worked together, Depp described it frankly that they've "never had an argument. The process [on Sweeney] has been as smooth as since way back when. Obviously, you want to come up with a character that you are not going to be embarrassed about. With Tim, I just don't want to let him down. Because, you know, he's a brother. He's my family. So that's one of the scariest sorts of things initially. Just making sure I haven't disappointed Tim. Once we get through that then I can kind of make sure I'm okay with it."

Burton and Depp on the set of Sweeney Todd. Photo by Peter Mountain.

When the interviewer, Steve Daly, said to Depp that he "is going to freak out a lot of pre-pubescent girls with this character," Depp enthusiastically exclaimed, "Ah, finally!"

More of the interview can be read here.

Depp Happy His Daughter Recovering, and The New York Times Discusses "Todd"

Johnny Depp is thankful that his daughter, Lily-Rose, who was seven when a mystery illness struck her last March, is recovering. "To say it was the darkest moment, that's nothing," the actor told Entertainment Weekly. "It doesn't come close to describing it. Words are so small." At the time the illness affected his daughter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in which Depp plays the title role, was only three weeks into shooting. "I didn't know if I was coming back," he recalls. "I remember talking with [Tim Burton], saying, 'Maybe you need to recast.' "

But Burton and the rest of the crew and cast went on a brief hiatus, allowing Depp to be with his daughter without having to change such a primary casting decision. "We've adjusted his schedule to fit in with his needs," DreamWorks said in a statement at the time. "Everybody's with them in good spirits." Depp and his partner, Vanessa Paradis, are relieved that Lily-Rose, now 8, has made a complete recovery. "Now every single millisecond is a minicelebration, man," Depp says. "Every time we get to breathe in and exhale is a huge victory. She pulled through beautifully, perfectly, with no lasting anything."

Photo by Jeff Vespa/

Meanwhile, the New York Times has reported on the Burton-Depp collaboration, Sweeney Todd. In the article, much of the cast and crew mention the process of bringing the Sondheim musical to the big screen. Production designer Dante Ferretti recalls how Burton acknowledged the importance of having actors perform in physical sets, using computer-generated backdrops and environments minimally, and how the look of the film should be more of a horror movie kind of London than a completely historically accurate Victorian-era London. Ferretti, whose work goes back to collaborating with Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, states that the production team made the film's version of London "a little bit more frightening, more dark, more interesting."

Depp recalls that he never wanted to be a singer, because he felt that singers always get "too much attention." But when offered the role of Sweeney Todd for Burton's cinematic version, Depp, cautiously, accepted. During the filming of the third installment of the Pirates of the Carribean franchise, Depp studied the songs from the musical thoroughly, practicing to and from the sets. Depp says he would drive "two hours to work and two hours back listening constantly, learning the melodies in the car."

Depp also recalls on how classic horror film stars influenced his performance in Todd. Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and, especially, Peter Lorre were sources of macabre inspiration for the actor. Richard D. Zanuck, a producer of Todd, remarked that "Johnny in front of his victims with the razor is almost like a ballet dancer, dancing around them," in the film.

The article also mentions the blood and gore effects of the film, helping bring a stylized touch to the musical tale of the murderous barber. Mr. Zanuck states that the crew had "done tests and experiments with neck slashing, with the blood popping out. I remember saying to Tim, 'my god, do we dare do this?'"

Mike Higham, the music producer of the film, noted how economically Burton conveys his ideas. "He can say three words, and he completely sums up what his vision is," Higham says. "You get those three words and you go."

Burton on the set of Sweeney Todd. Photo by Peter Mountain/Paramount Pictures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Running Time for "Sweeney Todd"?...

The Washington Post has stated that Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will be roughly 160 minutes in length. The running time suggested by the article contrasts with a supposed claim made by Stephen Sondheim that the film was about an hour and forty-five minutes long. But it is not uncommon for film adaptations of staged musicals to be fairly longer than the average movie. If the article is accurate, Sweeney Todd will be Burton's longest film to date. Others, who attended the pre-screening, said it was just under two hours. With so many ideas on the duration of the film, we may have to wait it out to learn how long Burton's next project is for certain...

An "Unusual" Shed for the Family

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter are planning on having an $18,000 hut built in the garden of their London home, reports. The couple hopes that the shed will provide more play space for their son, Billy Ray Burton, and their upcoming baby, due to be born this December. The hut, set on cast-wheels, will be of an "unusual design" (perhaps something in the vein of the Burton aesthetic?)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2nd "Sweeney Todd" Trailer and Album Art for Soundtrack!

A second trailer for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is now available to see online (you need Quicktime to view it). Also, the cover artwork for the soundtrack to the musical film has been released. The soundtrack will be available to buy in the United States on December 18th, 2007.

Monday, October 08, 2007

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" Returns to 3D

The official website for the 3D theatrical version has stated that the stop-motion classic The Nightmare Before Christmas will be re-released in U.S. theaters on Friday, October 19th, 2007. There is also word that Tim Burton's stop-motion animated short, Vincent, will play before the feature, although news of this has not been mentioned for a few months.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tim Burton Awarded Golden Lion at Venice International Film Festival

On Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, director Tim Burton was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 74th Venice film festival. At 49 years old, Burton is the youngest recipient of the prestigious award. "This is the most amazing experience I've had," said the filmmaker. "It's such an honour." He continued saying that the Venice film festival had "always been about movies, not business. It's always had a special place in my heart." "Hopefully it just inspires me to keep going," the director said. He jokily said that the award was better than an Oscar. " "It's actually a lot more beautiful-looking thing than a bald, naked man," he joked.

His long-time collaborator and friend, Johnny Depp, who first worked with Tim Burton 17 years ago on the film Edward Scissorhands (released in 1990), presented him the award. Depp said, "Tim is a rare breed in today's cinema: he is a true original, a true artist, a true auteur. He's my favorite director and friend. So ... let's give him the thing, man."

Organizers of the major event said that Burton is
"one of America's bravest, most visionary and innovative film-makers." To mark the occasion, the festival showed a 3-D version of Burton's stop-motion animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Though it's one of his most renowned films, Burton said he could not quite choose a personal favorite of his own movies. "I feel strangely close to all of them, they all have a certain place in your heart," he said. The festival also showed a small clip of Burton's upcoming film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film will be released in US theaters on December 21st, 2007. Burton talked about the film in a press conference (click here for a video).

Johnny Depp, a pregnant Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Burton stand for the photographers.

More pictures can be seen on the Tim Burton Collective forum.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New "Sweeney Todd" Wide Release Date: December 21st!

DreamWorks and Paramount have decided to give Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd a wide release in the United States for Christmas. The original wide release date was January 11th, 2008, assuming that the film didn't have the potential to be a commercial success. But some studio executives saw some clips of the upcoming movie, and realized the film has much broader appeal than they assumed before (despite it being a violent musical). Variety wrote, "The hope is that "Sweeney" will be the sort of signature role for Depp that Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise was." However, the article stated that, "at the same time, DreamWorks and Paramount aren't likely to go out with "Sweeney." The studios aren't planning on releasing the film in more than 1,500 theaters in the United States on opening weekend.

Rumors of "Sweeney Todd" Cuts Dismissed

Much fuss has been appearing online saying that Warner Bros. wanted Tim Burton to cut some of the more gorey and bloody scenes from Sweeney Todd in order for the film to receive a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. But Variety has stated that these claims are false. "DreamWorks has always said it was an R," says Anne Thompson of Variety. "Anyone who knows the show knows that it involves killing and meat pies."

Mark Salisbury, who is writing the companion book to Sweeney Todd, also dismissed the rumors of Todd receiving a post-production slashing. Salisbury wrote on his blog, "all those reports of Burton being asked to cut back on the blood in the movie, don't believe a word of it."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Burton!

Tim Burton celebrated his birthday on Saturday, August 25th, 2007. The director is now 49 years old.

Variety Interviews Tim Burton

Tim Burton was interviewed by Variety on Friday, August 24th, 2007. In the interview, Burton discussed musicals, Sweeney Todd, and Johnny Depp.

Burton said that his favorite musical truly is "Sweeney Todd," because he isn't much of a fan of many musicals. "I do remember liking 'Guys and Dolls,'" the director recalls, "In that one, they don't burst into song. There's a design in the language that fits together with the music and they work together. I don't think that's the case with a lot of musicals."

The filmmaker had seen "Sweeney Todd" performed before, and adored it. "I saw it in London when it first played here. In fact, I saw it several nights in a row." But Burton did not pursue the idea of bringing "Todd" to the big screen at first. "Things happen and you drift into other things. But it is strange; I was looking at some sketches I did many years ago, and the sketches looked like Johnny and Helena in the film. Not that this would have happened several years ago. They weren't old enough."

Burton went on to say that "Sweeney Todd," "doesn't seem like a musical." He continued, saying, "In fact, it's like a silent movie with music. Like an old horror movie. The emotions come through. Johnny enjoyed that silent-actor style of acting. It was liberating."

The director remarked on Depp again. "I told Stephen: 'I know Johnny. I know he wouldn't say yes if he couldn't do it.' "

Mark Salisbury Has Written Companion Book to "Sweeney Todd"

Mark Salisbury, who has interviewed Tim Burton for the book, Burton on Burton, and wrote who the companion book to the 2005 stop-motion film, Corpse Bride, has written the companion book to Burton's upcoming Sweeney Todd.

Salisbury said, "Call me biased regarding Tim Burton, if you like, on account of my long-standing relationship with the man forged through my many years of interviewing him for my book Burton On Burton, but I'm the first to admit I disliked most of his Planet Of The Apes. That said, I love almost everything else he's made, even Mars Attacks which, to my mind, is a work of subversive genius that will, in the not too distant future, finally get the recognition it truly deserves."

He continued optimistically, saying, "There's been some carping in certain online quarters about how Burton's lost it, and about how this is going to be a disaster. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG. I'm not really at liberty to say much about Sweeney, but, take it from me, this is going to be something very special. People are going to be surprised and really blown away when they see what Burton, Depp and co are serving up this time around. Trust me."

As with the book, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: An Invitation to the Wedding, Tim Burton has provided a foreward to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The book is to be published by Titan Books, and will be available on December 4th, 2007.

Lisa Marie Told to Revise Lawsuit Against Tim Burton

The Associated Press has reported that, on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007, Tim Burton's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Marie, was told to revise her lawsuit against the director. The article went into detail, saying, "a judge ruled it didn't sufficiently support claims that Burton had backed out of a promise to financially support her. " Marie sued in December 2006, alleging that Burton used fraud to "cheat her out of assets he promised to share with her during their nearly 10-year, live-in relationship." Burton's attorneys said that the director already gave Marie $5 million to sign the contract, "which released him from any further claims to his assets." The judge stated that Marie and her attorneys have ten days to revise the action.

Marie was in four of Burton's films: Ed Wood (1994), Mars Attacks (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), and Planet of the Apes (2001).

Photo provided by the Associated Press. This picture was taken at the 47th International Film Festival in Berlin on Saturday, February 22nd, 1997, during a press conference for Mars Attacks.

Another "Sweeney Todd" Poster

The item was on sale on eBay a few days ago. Check it out:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

10 Minutes of "Sweeney Todd" at Venice Film Festival on September 5th

The Stephen Sondheim Society has announced that, on Wednesday, September 5th, the 64th Venice International Film Festival will be honoring director Tim Burton with a 24 hour Tim Burton Day. Warner Bros. has confirmed that during the day, a ten minute preview of "Sweeney Todd" will be shown.

In addition to ten minutes of his upcoming film being shown, Tim Burton will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Tim Burton and his films have been praised with great enthusiasm at Venice, most recently with the stop-motion film Corpse Bride when it was shown there, which received ecstatic applause and reviews.

New Photo of Depp and Burton on Set of "Sweeney Todd" has released the first photo of Tim Burton on Johnny Depp on the set of "Sweeney Todd." Behold!:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Sweeney Todd" to be Rated "R" in USA has confirmed that Sweeney Todd will be given the MPAA rating of "R" in the USA. The article goes on to mention Tim Burton's impression on making the film, which he said was one of his most challenging yet. ''To do an R-rated musical with 70 percent singing was kinda like, 'Well, I haven't done that one before.' It's exciting to keep surprising yourself and see what happens," the director says.

Helena Bonham Carter also went on to describe working on the film, saying how training for the demaning Sondheim songs was more like getting ready for a "sport." Also, the actress did extensive hours of baking in preparation for the movie musical. ''I had to do accelerated lessons at pie making,'' she says. ''Not only that, but then you had to do it to syncopated Sondheim rhythm and sing at the same time. I had to become very coordinated.'' Bonham Carter, however, was very enthusiastic about the look of her creepy character. ''The look is fantastic,'' the actress says. ''I'd wear this makeup anyway. But it might start a whole craze.'' Let's just hope her recipes don't catch on."

The film is due for a limited US release on December 21st, 2007, just in time for Christmas. It may not sound like a jolly holiday film, but Burton joked, ''Red is a color at Christmas." Although he wouldn't be averse to it being billed as a Valentine's Day film, either. ''For me, it sort of sums up relationships,'' says Burton. ''Although people might be horrified by that.''

Read on for more details!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Helena Bonham Carter Pregnant

Pictures taken of Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, and their three-year-old son, Billy Ray, on a beach in Italy on August 6th, 2007, show Bonham Carter is pregnant with the couple's second child. The couple officially announced their expected child the next day. Photos provided by

Burton and Bonham Carter Expecting Second Child!

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter have announced that they are expecting a second child later this year. The due date is December 7th, 2007. Their first child, Billy Ray Burton, was born in October 2003.

Bonham Carter's representative, Karon Maskill, has said, "[they] are very happy to be expecting their second child later this year." . Bonham Carter has said that she felt Burton put a spell on her when they first met. "I met Tim again at my brother's house, and magic happened," she said to the Radio Times. "It was like someone taking my world and twisting it a crucial 15 degrees."

Photo by: Richard Young / startraks

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New "Sweeney Todd" Poster!

Aint It Cool News has announced that Comic-Con released the new poster for Burton's upcoming Sweeney Todd last week. The credits have been adjusted for changes in the production, and the poster also shows a new tagline: "Never forget. Never forgive." Click on the picture for a much larger, high-quality version.

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Sweeney Todd" Clips to Be Shown at Comic-Con

Entertainment Weekly (,,20047473,00.html) has announced that Tim Burton will appear at San Diego's Comic-Con 2007 to show clips of Sweeney Todd. The convention runs from July 26th to the 29th. The limited U.S. release date of the film is still December 21st, and the wide release in the U.S. will be January 11th, 2008.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sondheim Talks "Todd"

According to Sandy George of The Australian (,20867,22052581-15803,00.html), Stephen Sondheim said at Sydney's Theatre Royal last Friday that the film adaptation of his musical "Sweeney Todd" will be, for the most part, very similar to his original conception of the show. Sondheim acknowledged that during the process of filming the musical originally made for the live stage, certain parts had to be cut for time consideration. "There are songs that have been cut, and cuts within some of the songs, but generally it is pretty much the score," Sondheim said. But despite a few alterations, Sondheim reassures that "the plot is very little changed ... It is pretty faithful." Sondheim also stated that the film would have that macabre Burton feel to it, saying that "It has got a lot of blood in it, and that's fine by me."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter Attend "Harry Potter 5" Premiere

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter arrived at a cinema in central London to see the premiere of the newest film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007. Helena Bonham Carter has a role in the film as the character Bellatrix Lestrange. Photo provided by the Associated Press.

View more pictures here, provided by the Collective's very own Melanie McDermott, a.k.a. Pierrot Somepeople :

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No "Ripley's" for Burton?, and "Sweeney Todd" Filming Completed

Reports are suggesting that Tim Burton might not be the director for the upcoming film, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, according to ( The chances that the film would begin shooting after Burton completed Sweeney Todd were in doubt before, until Steve Oedekerk wrote a new draft of the screenplay, which gave some hope to the future of the project. No official news are up yet at the moment.

Also, it looks like Sweeney Todd has completed principal shooting, according to Playbill News ( The macabre musical will now begin post-production and should be ready for its U.S. limited release date of December 21st, 2007.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Christopher Lee Cut From "Sweeney Todd"?

An article on Stephen Sondheim's own website ( from the Sunday Telegraph has stated that Christopher Lee's character, the Gentleman Ghost, has been cut from Tim Burton's upcoming film version of Sweeney Todd. Half a dozen other actors who were to play more singing ghosts have been axed from the film, too. Sondheim had greatly approved of Lee's operatic singing (he recently released a CD), but a tight production schedule is most likely to be the reason that the singing ghosts parts were cut. Lee was eager to participate in what would have been his fourth collaboration with Burton (they first worked together on 1999's Sleepy Hollow). The actor said that "It would have been worse if I had done the scenes, but I never got to film them." Lee continued saying "It's a shame as the lyrics were wonderful, but these things happen."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Helena Bonham-Carter Reveals More Tidbits on "Todd"

A new interview with Helena Bonham-Carter with the Times reveals some little details about the making of Sweeney Todd, as well as her relationship with Tim Burton and their son, Billy Ray:

Monday, April 16, 2007

"Vincent" in 3D and "Sweeney Todd" Release Dates Announced!

The Hollywood Reporter ( has some good news for Burton fans: Not only is The Nightmare Before Christmas going to return to theaters in 3D this fall, but Tim Burton's 1982 stop-motion short film, Vincent, will also be released with it, also in 3D!

For anyone who wants to mark their calendars, some release dates for Tim Burton's next feature film, Sweeney Todd, have been released. ( has said that Sweeney Todd is set for limited release (most likely Los Angeles and New York City) just in time for Christmas, on December 21st, 2007. However, anyone living in the US but not in that area might need to wait until January 11th, 2008 for the wide release of the Sondheim musical's big-screen debut. ( has listed release dates for other countries (however, it is not officially determined if all of these are accurate or not):

Italy 5 September 2007 (Venice Film Festival)
USA 21 December 2007 (limited)
Norway 11 January 2008
USA 11 January 2008
Australia 24 January 2008
Netherlands 24 January 2008
UK 25 January 2008

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands update

Just a quick update on the Edward Scissorhands ballet tour. You can find a tour itinerary here. You can find pictures from the tour here, including (joy!) some photos of Johnny Depp visiting the cast. So try and catch the show if you still can!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sweeney Todd filming underway

Sweeney Todd is currently shooting at the Pinewood studios in London. Yahoo has a news article with some new bits of information ;

The article reveals Christopher Lee's character character is "the gentleman ghost".

Also, Stephen Sondheim himself sounds pretty positive about the project: "Sometimes a story or stage production has to wait a long time until the right people come together to turn it into a motion picture. That's what has happened with Sweeney Todd and I'm excited as well as confident that it will be a first-rate and startling movie."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sweeney Todd teaser poster and new cast members!

Sorry for the somewhat late update; Variety has released an official teaser poster of Sweeney Todd. Click on the above thumbnail to see a larger version. The poster also confirms a few casting rumours; Timothy Spall and Christopher Lee will indeed appear in the movie!
This marks the first time Burton will work with the British actor Timothy Spall (Wormtail from the Harry Potter movies) and it will be his fourth collaboration with the legendary Christopher Lee.
Timothy Spall's role has been reported to be Beadle Bramford. Christopher Lee's role is still unknown.
Thanks to karloffornia13, Fuzzy Duck and other loyal Burtonites for reporting this!