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.' "