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.

16 comments:

deppthinker said...

Love this magazine . Great to see Johnny on the cover again...even if he is a dark, disturbed , singing serial killer this time around .

Anonymous said...

Okay...getting a little too excited about this...

Anonymous said...

Oh I just love that picture of Johnny and Tim. They are so precious together.

Anonymous said...

indeed, i hope they show a making of or something :) so we can see them behind the scenes

deppthinker said...

Like brothers , they are . Two of a kind . Love 'em both .

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