Thursday, December 13, 2007

Johnny Depp receives eighth Golden Globe nomination

Johnny Depp received his eighth Golden Globe® nomination for his role as the revenge driven murderous barber in Tim Burton's musical thriller SWEENEY TODD. Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy or Drama, Tim Burton garnered a nomination for Best Director and the film was also nominated in the Comedy or Musical category.

The 65th Annual Golden Globe® Awards will be presented live on NBC on January 13, 2008.

Click here for a complete list 0f nominees:

For more information on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association® :


Be one of the select few to see a VIP red carpet screening of Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton.

Here is your chance to take the world of Sweeney Todd and share it with everyone you know.

The motion picture “Sweeney Todd” is Copyright © MMVII DREAMWORKS LLC and WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweeney Todd Christmas TV spots and cast interview links

Nothing says Merry Christmas like Sweeney Todd branded TV spots from Paramount! And there's also load of cast interviews that have come to us at JDR from Paramount!

Sweeney Todd Christmas Branded TV Spots
Window Media

Sweeney Todd InterviewsWindow Media
© 2007 by DreamWorks LLCand Warner Bros. Entertainment.All Rights Reserved.

Variety reviews Sweeney Todd, watch this clip. Warning there are story line spoilers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

JohnnyDeppReads reviews SWEENEY TODD: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Mark Salisbury

I was prepared to like Mark Salisbury's SWEENEY TODD: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I like the musical it was based on. I like Depp and Burton and Sondheim. What I wasn't prepared to do was love this book! Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton have teamed up again for this film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's acclaimed musical thrilled "Sweeney Todd." Mark Salisbury's book is an in depth, informative chronicle of the making of the movie which opens here in the US this December. Mr. Salisbury's book never gets boring and the author never lectures the reader while sharing this book's story. Salisbury hit all the right notes when he wrote this companion book by layering the backstory of the legend of Sweeney Todd with the present day circumstances that put the players in the right spots at the right time to bring this version of SWEENEY TODD to the screen.

The well crafted book with 175 glossy, big pages with more than 200 photographs and illustrations and it is divided into two parts. Salisbury uses pictures and production artwork to tell the "making of" story in Part One, weaving in quotes from producer Richard Zanuck, director Tim Burton and cast members Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman as well as crew and other cast members to help the reader grasp the goings on behind the scenes. Salisbury was wise to also add his own first hand experiences while on the SWEENEY TODD set at Pinewood Studios to bring an overview of the different pieces that brought this musical thriller together. The author then has the reader "attend the tale of Sweeney Todd" in Part Two, by adding illustrations, production stills and sketches to text pieces from the script. This is no ordinary companion book, this is a companion book that brings humanity and heart to an often macabre, gruesome and bloody story. It's easy to see that this is a labor of love by the author.

Mark Salisbury is the former editor of Britain's Empire magazine and is the author of numerous movie books, many in collaboration with Tim Burton. Mr. Burton penned the forward to this book.

This is not your average glossy, trendy coffee table book. It's a must read for SWEENEY TODD fans, the fans of Stephen Sondheim, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. And it also serves as a wonderful invitation to those who've never met the demon barber of Fleet Street, to those who've never seen a musical and to those who've not yet seen the magic that Burton and Depp bring to a project, to get to know how a book can work hand in hand with a film. Mark Salisbury has written what I consider to be a Sweeney Todd primer. Get one for yourself and several as gifts. Neither Sweeney Todd nor Mark Salisbury will let you down.

Hardcover $30.00.
ISBN 13-9871844767044 - 175 pages
Publication date: December 2007
Copyright © 2007 by Dream Works LLC and Warner Bro's. Entertainment, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Sweeney Todd receives five Critics Choice Award nominations

SWEENEY TODD has garnered five Critics Choice Award nominations including Best Picture, Johnny Depp for Best Actor and Tim Burton for Best Director, Best Acting Ensemble and Edward Sanders for Best Young Actor.

The Critics' Choice Awards are awarded by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The winners will be announced on January 7, 2008 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and will be broadcast live on VH1. Be sure to check your local television listings for exact time and channel location.

A complete list of nominees can be found at:

Best Picture
American Gangster
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
The Kite Runner
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood

Best Actor
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling - Lars and the Real Girl
Emile Hirsch - Into the Wild
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Best Acting Ensemble
No Country for Old Men
Sweeney Todd
Gone Baby Gone
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Best Director
Tim Burton - Sweeney Todd
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Sidney Lumet - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Joe Wright - Atonement

Best Young Actor
Michael Cera - Juno
Michael Cera - Superbad
Freddie Highmore - August Rush
Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada - The Kite Runner
Edward Sanders - Sweeney Todd

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sweeney Todd's Tim Burton named Best Director and SWEENEY TODD named one of Top Ten Films of 2007 by the National Board of Review

Johnny Depp's SWEENEY TODD and director Tim Burton recognized by the National Board of Review. Burton was named Best Director and the film SWEENEY TODD was named one of the Top Ten Films of 2007

Read about it here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hi-def Sweeney Todd links, crystal clear quality!

Just in from Paramount! Sweeney Todd, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter clips that are crystal clear hi-def for us to have here on JDR. Since these came directly from Paramount, the quality is stunning! Better than I've seen anywhere else! Our rep has just sent these to us! Enjoy!

They do take a while to load, so please be patient. They are well worth it.


© 2007 by DreamWorks LLCand Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nine new Sweeney Todd clips and 3 featurettes from Paramount

Nine new Sweeney Todd clips and 3 featurettes and behind the scenes footage from the new Johnny Depp - Tim Burton blood bath musical! Go here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

5 New Sweeney Todd posters

Five new Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd posters have been released showing the range of emotion brought to the roles by Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

© 2007 by DreamWorks LLC
and Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

[ Sweeney Todd ] TV SPOT 2

A new SWEENEY TODD TV spot ran tonight!See it here! Thanks to CaptainJackSparrow for the clip.
© 2007 by DreamWorks LLC
and Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd studio session

This great new Sweeney Todd studio session shows Depp recording "Epiphany".
Check it out on the myspace Sweeney Todd page.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two new Sweeney Todd posters!

Here are two new Sweeney Todd posters, one with Johnny Depp and one with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter! Gorgeous!

(c) 2007 by DreamWorks LLC and Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Win a trip to the Sweeney Todd global premiere

Paramount and myspace have a promotion running for US citizens to win a trip to the Global premiere of Sweeney Todd.

Read about it all here:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sweeney Todd Official UK film site now up

The official UK Sweeney Todd film site is up! It's a fabulous site to visit even if you aren't located in the UK. Johnny Depp and Sweeney Todd fans alike won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Prediction: 'Sweeney Todd' will win the Oscar for best picture

Happy Halloween everyone! This just made my day!

Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil predicts "'Sweeney Todd' will win the Oscar for best picture." And he predicts "I believe "Sweeney Todd" will win picture, director and actor."

Read his thoughts here:

New Sweeney Todd cover for Mark Salisbury book

New cover art for Mark Salisbury's book SWEENEY TODD.

Sweeney Todd TV spot :30

Newest Sweeney Todd TV trailer!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sweeney Todd screened last night, the first feedback from the viewers

JohnnyDeppReads had people at the Paramount screening of Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD last night (Oct 23) at Universal Studios. Read the feedback from the people who saw it last night. This was not a press screening, but a very small and intimate look at this wonderfully done Johnny Depp - Tim Burton - Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman film.

We graciously thank Paramount for this opportunity.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sweeney Todd Soundtrack at Amazon

There are now two options for your listening pleasure!

The soundtrack recording for Johnny Depp's SWEENEY TODD is available for pre-order now on

The complete music for the film is available with bonus content in a specially-packaged 2 CD deluxe edition with bound booklet also from

Second Sweeney Todd trailer is out!

A new, second sneak peek at Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd. This appears to be a second trailer for the upcoming Depp-Burton musical opening this Christmas. This appeared on the nonesuch website and has since been removed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fresh Blood: An Evening with Tim Burton

Fresh Blood: An Evening with Tim Burton
A first look at footage from Sweeney Todd

Wednesday, November 14 at 8:00 pm
Rose Theater
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Home of Jazz at Lincoln CenterBroadway at 60th Street, New York City

Admission: Orchestra & Mezzanine: $50 FSLC Members & $60 General Public; Balcony: $40 FSLC Members & $50 General Public.
Reserved seating with limited ticket availability in some sections of the theater.*

Witty, often elegant and always unpredictable, the films of Tim Burton have created a special niche for themselves within contemporary cinema. 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. We’re delighted to welcome Tim Burton for an evening of conversation, clips featuring some of the greatest moments from his films, and a “first look” at his eagerly anticipated screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd, marking his sixth collaboration with Johnny Depp.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Johnny Depp SINGS! It's finally here, the trailer we've been waiting for. Depp sings for all the world to see and hear!

Here's the trailer:

Go here for screencaps:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Media Release: Roadshow
3 October 2007
AAP MediaNet Press Releases

Trailer Debut

Warner Bros. Pictures is pleased to offer exciting new footage from the highly anticipated first quarter 2008 worldwide release of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller "Sweeney Todd." Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who "shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again." Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

The Parkes/MacDonald and Zanuck Company production is produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, and John Logan, who also penned the screenplay adaptation. Based on a musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation of Christopher Bond's play. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Joining Burton at Pinewood to create his vision are director of photography Dariusz Wolski (Pirates of the Caribbean I, II, III), Academy Award winner Dante Ferretti (The Aviator) as production designer, two-time Academy Award winner Colleen Atwood (Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago) as costume designer, hair and make up design by Academy Award winner Peter Owen (The Lord of the Rings), and editor Chris Lebenzon. A co-production of Warner Bros. Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, Sweeney Todd will be distributed internationally by Warner Bros. Pictures and domestically by Paramount Pictures.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will be distributed worldwide beginning January 2008.

1st Feed: Date: 4th October 2007 Time: 2300-2315 GMT
2nd Feed: Date: 5th October 2007 Time: 0500-0515 GMT

Satellite: Eutelsat W1 TXP B4 CH-2 Downlink Frequency: 11088.5 V

FEC: 3/4 Symbol: 5.632 Color: PAL Uplink: Arqiva Winchester - UKI-WIN3 +44 (0) 1962 823000

Also available at BT Tower from Pacific Television Center's ABQH3

UK broadcasters can call for complementary refeeds via Tower. +44.207.702.1427

1st Feed: Date: 5th October 2007 Time: 0900-0915 EST

2nd Feed: Date: 5th October 2007 Time: 1500-1515 EST
Satellite: IS-2/08C CH 4 Orb Loc: 169' E; (formally PAS2)
Downlink Freq:: 3901Mhz Horizontal;
FEC: 3/4;
Symbol Rate (Ms/s): 30.80;
Virtual Channel: 4;

Network Id: 1;
Color: NTSC Uplink: PAS NAPA +707.253.9466


1st Feed: Date: 4th October 2007 Time: 2300-2315 GMT
2nd Feed: Date: 5th October 2007 Time: 0900-0915 GMT
Satellite: IS-9/10C CH7 Orb Loc: 58'W (formally PAS 9) Downlink Freq:: 3880Mhz Horizontal;
FEC: 7/8;
Symbol Rate (Ms/s): 27.69;
Virtual Channel: 7;
Network Id: 5002;
Color: NTSC Uplink: PAS NAPA +707.253.9466

Monday, October 1, 2007

Total Film on Sweeney Todd, blood and music

Total Film (UK) has this about Sweeney Todd:

"We're not going to skimp on the blood," insisted Tim Burton when TF (Total film) caught up with him as Sweeney Todd. His adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's hit horror musical, was ready to roll. "I've seen productions that try to be politically correct..." He trails off in disbelief, "We're talking about a serial killer and cannibalism. Soften it up and it just doesn't work." Burton's penchant for Victorian gothery means that Sweeney's barbershop - where customers receive a deathly close shave and end up as pie fillings for Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) is like a second home to him, especially with regular cohort Depp in the gaff.

"Tim took a risk when he asked me to play Sweeney because neither he nor I knew if I could sing" says Depp, who is giving his pipes a live action debut. "My singing's not unlike the mating call of a rutting stag. It's a strange sound, but I haven't been fired yet."

"Johnny's fun," says Burton."It's always different and that's much more exciting than someone who does the same thing every time. He always wants to sort of become a character."

"So - just to clarify - will there be blood?"

"There will be blood and music... and pies."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sondheim speaks on Depp's Sweeney Todd

"I asked Sondheim, by the way, if he’d seen Tim Burton’s movie version of “Sweeney Todd.” He has, and he says he likes it.
“It’s not the Broadway show,” he warned me. “It’s only an hour and 45 minutes. A lot of the score has been cut. They’ve made it its own thing. You have to go in knowing that. But what they’ve done is great.”,2933,298230,00.html

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Captions for Sweeney Todd book finished

Friday, 14 September 2007

Apologies... For the lack of posts this week. It's been a busy, busy one. But at least I've finally finished the captions for the Sweeney book. It looks very nice. The on set photography, courtesy of the super talented Peter Mountain, is stunning. Can't wait to see it finished.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Script Review: Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd!

Script Review: Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd!

Written by Robert Sanchez

Thursday, 13 September 2007

The IESB has a look at the script of one of the most anticipated movies of this year.

After a Short absence Michael Vaal is back with a unique view to Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd.

a script review best served piping hot by Michael Vaal
“There was a barber and his wife,
And she was beautiful.
A foolish barber and his wife.
She was his reason and his life,
And she was beautiful,
And she was virtuous,
And he was... naïve.”

I’ve recently had a chance to read the latest draft of the screenplay for SWEENEY TODD. While it is based on a famous musical, it is one that very few people have seen. This is primarily due to the dark subject matter, as the plot revolves around a past rape, false imprisonment, revenge, and murder which then transitions into cannibalism, believe it or not (see below). And yet, unlike the vast majority of so-called “horror” films in theaters these days, the story of Sweeney Todd is not about puerile titillation or deviant gratification. For SWEENEY TODD is not only widely regarded as the legendary Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece (yes, this “horror movie” is a musical, and yes, I think it’s better than WEST SIDE STORY in every way), it is also one of the greatest tragedies ever written.Almost 30 Years of Sweeney Todd Taking on something like this is always a tough call.

I am a true fan of the original Broadway cast of Sweeney Todd (Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou), which I was lucky enough to see on Broadway as a young man. It had a profound effect on me as a young man and the soundtrack is among the very few pieces that I know and can sing by heart – for I’ve listened to it no less that once a week for almost 30 years now.

And with all the practice I have had, I can sing it well dammit. So to say this is/was a dream project of mine would be a gross understatement. So, I’m either going to be this film’s most vocal fan or its vilest critic. Enjoy.

The Basics

For now, I’ll touch on a few basics. SWEENEY TODD is a musical, but don’t let that throw you. It’s not a poncey Andrew Lloyd Webber pseudo-musical, where the plot points occur in between the songs, which are just gussied up show tunes prepared for the flavor of the moment.

SWEENEY TODD is Sondheim at his best, which means the lyrics ARE the dialogue and they tell the story throughout the performance. I think you’ll find SWEENEY TODD more along the lines of musicals like THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, Disney’s ALADDIN, or even MOULIN ROUGE in the way in which the music and lyrics ARE the story and dialogue.

And yet…it’s all about bloody vengeance. Wikipedia has a decent one paragraph summary ( of the setup, which reads as follows:

“The story centers on the character of Sweeney Todd, formerly known as Benjamin Barker, who returns from the penal colonies in Australia, where he has spent fifteen years on false charges. When he learns from Mrs. Lovett, whose meat pies are the worst in London, that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by Judge Turpin, and his daughter is the ward of Judge Turpin, who imprisoned him, he vows revenge. The two become conspirators in a dark plot that results in mass murder, booming business for Lovett's shop, and ultimately tragedy.”


There is no unseen hand here, no overarching destiny. Ultimately Sweeney’s actions determine his own fate as do the actions of each of the main characters. And, rest assured, everyone gets their own measure of justice by the end, one way or another.

It’s D-A-R-K…dark.

The Shortest Script “Review” I’ve Ever Done

The script, for all intents and purposes, is just an edited down version of the original playbook by Hugh Wheeler based on a play by Christopher Bond, which in turn was inspired by the legend of Sweeney Todd and the pulp horror fictions of the late 19th century.

Screenwriter John Logan kept the best songs and the critical action and it seems that they haven’t had to cut much to make it work – no doubt thanks to the fact that the material was from a play and was nearly perfectly staged. It’s still set in London and all the characters are here and represented faithfully, so there isn’t much to dwell on regarding the script except to say, “thank god it wasn’t turned into a roaring 20’s gay Chicago gangster musical.” You never know with Hollywood these days… So, What Might Go Wrong?

While I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton, the director, and of Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd) and Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs. Lovett), there are a few lingering questions.

Can Tim Burton direct real drama? We’ve seen him deftly handle comedic roles and all manner of oddness very well over the years. But this isn’t THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (which he co-directed with an animation legend) or EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (the closest anyone has come to crying for a Burton directed character at the end). SWEENEY TODD is serious work.

Can he make us FEEL the tragedy and pathos of Sweeney?

If that doesn’t come through, the ending of the movie won’t move people the way the stage musical has for almost three decades.

Can Johnny Depp sing, let alone deep enough that the walls of theater resonate in a way you’ve never heard before? Because that’s what Sweeney calls for.

To be blunt, there are very few professional singers who can pull off the role of Sweeney vocally, let alone act to a level that transforms the role from the big theater stage to the small theater screen. This is clearly his toughest and most challenging role to date. And I do not envy him here at all.

Helena Bonham Carter is less of a worry due to the nature and range of the songs Mrs. Lovett sings. Whether she can take the crown away from Angela Lansbury isn’t as important as whether she can get the audience laughing at the right moments. Mrs. Lovett is devious and clueless, naïvely romantic and heartless as it suits her.

Fortunately, this is material that the director is well versed in.

I’m sure the sets, production values, etc. etc. will be top drawer. This is Dreamworks and Warner Brothers after all. I guess my only concern here is that Burton has a habit of making EVERYTHING he does look the same as those cartoony sketches he originally drew for THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS when he was an animator at Disney.

I’d like to see SWEENEY TODD pick up from where Burton went with the live action bookends of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY or a more realistic, grittier version of his already rather gritty work on SLEEPY HOLLOW.

To be honest, if I see another BEETLEJUICE “Burton tree” in one of his movies, I think I’m gonna puke.

So everything rests on the director and the leads. They have amazing material in hand, which has remained remarkably and pleasantly true to the original masterpiece.

Soon we will know if Tim Burton and Johnny Depp can bring to this role not only the wonderful music and dark comedy they are both known for, but also the tragic pathos of one of the greatest anti-heroes in modern fiction.

Why Should You See It?

The tale of Sweeney Todd is unlike anything you have ever seen or heard of before. You will laugh your ass off and travel through the entire spectrum of human emotion. You will leave singing joyfully about cannibalism. When was the last time you left a movie singing about anything, let alone dining on your neighbor? You’ll never see justice or revenge the same way again.

In Conclusion…If the filmmakers do their job well, you will feel empathy and sympathy for the murderous, vengeful Sweeney by the end of his sad tale.

If they don’t pull it off, Sweeney will forever be known to the world as just another crazy man with a knife.

I for one am hoping these very talented people manage to move you with their movie in the same ways a handful of us have been moved by the play over the years.

Screenplay by John Logan

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Final Shooting Draft 12-21-06

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nonesuch Nabs Soundtrack for Upcoming "Sweeney Todd" Film

By Ernio Hernandez 10 Sep 2007 Nonesuch Records — which produced the cast recording for the recent revival of Sweeney Todd — will also release the soundtrack for the forthcoming "Sweeney Todd" film. Titan Books will publish the film's companion book. The new film, directed by Tim Burton, is slated for a Dec. 21 release. An updated credits listing reveals that Nonesuch Records will issue the film's soundtrack. A release date has not yet been announced. Also in the works is a companion book for the film to be released on Dec. 4 by Titan Books. The hardback — penned by (the only on-set) journalist Mark Salisbury — will include "interviews with Burton and the cast and crew, extracts from the shooting script, over 200 photos, plus concept drawing and production designs," as a release states. Following the reveal of a poster at San Diego's Comic-Con International and another shot of stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the place holder on the official website has been replaced with an ominous graphic of Depp (as Sweeney) at the end of a tunnel with a straight-blade in hand. A sign that flashes down into view reads, "Beware, Sweeney Todd is coming this Christmas." Fans can currently sign up for updates on the film by visiting *The official synopsis for the film follows: "Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller 'Sweeney Todd.' Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who 'shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again.' Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli. The DreamWorks/Warner Bros. film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical is penned by John Logan ("The Aviator," "Gladiator"). Filming has completed on the film, which receives a wide opening Dec. 21. Depp ("Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood") takes on the title role with Carter ("Big Fish," "Planet of the Apes") as piemaker Mrs. Lovett. The film will also feature Alan Rickman (Private Lives, the "Harry Potter" films) as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall ("Harry Potter") as Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat," "Talladega Nights") as Signor Adolfo Pirelli. Rounding out the cast are Laura Michelle Kelly (Fiddler on the Roof) as the Beggar Woman, Jamie Campbell Bowen as Anthony, Jayne Wisener as Johanna and newcomer Ed Sanders as Toby. "All the stars will do their own singing from Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics," according to the announcement.

Tim's perfect barbershop duet,,2165363,00.html

I was given an exclusive peak at the first footage from Tim Burton's upcoming film version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, which will be released next year. Johnny Depp was presenting a clearly delighted Burton with Venice's career Golden Lion, incredibly the director's first ever award from a major film festival. Depp said: 'Tim is my favourite director. I feel very lucky to have been included in his life and in his world of cinema. He's a true original and a true auteur, a rare breed in today's cinema.' The exclusive clip was then shown. It featured Depp's Todd duetting with Helena Bonham Carter's panda-eyed Mrs Lovett. Both were doing their own singing, and most impressively, as they powered through a dark ode to a cut-throat razor. In the brief dialogue, it seemed that Depp might just have finally got a decent cockney accent, and he held the gleaming object up like Edward reunited with his Scissorhands.

At the end, the camera flew out of the window to reveal Mrs Lovett's pie shop and an intricate, beautiful shot over the sky line of Dickensian London. This awesome set has been designed, at Pinewood, by the legendary Cinecitta team of Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tim Burton basks in Venice glow

Tim Burton basks in Venice glow
Honored with lifetime achievement prize


Tim Burton held court Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, where he got a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement and unspooled an eight-minute sneak peek of his "Sweeney Todd" adaptation.
The clips, in sharp desaturated color, consisted largely of a key scene in the Stephen Sondheim musical in which Todd, played by Johnny Depp, is handed a razor case by Mrs. Lovett, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Singing "My Friends" Depp proved he can carry a tune, dueting delightfully with Bonham Carter, herself debuting as a chantoosie.

A white streak in his hair, a mad twinkle in his eye, Depp -- in his sixth Burton pic -- seemed in fine form in the quick sneak, which, while entertainingly eerie, displayed no violence. Pic is reportedly headed for an "R" rating.

"I am just trying to make an old-fashioned horror movie with music in it," Burton said at the presser.

He added that pics with "people like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre" are among vintage scary works he drew on for inspiration.

"It's quite uncharted territory. I don't think there are that many horror movie musicals out there these days," Burton noted. "It will be interesting to see what happens with it."

Paramount and DreamWorks have a lot riding on "Todd," which they will rollout Stateside in December, just as Warner Bros. will be outing the pic worldwide.

As for his Lido prize -- handed to him by Depp -- Burton said it was "the best honor I've ever received."

Asked about how the Venice Golden Lion compares to an Oscar -- a nod that has eluded Burton so far -- he joked: "It's actually a lot better-looking than a bald naked man. It's very special to me."

Said Depp as he handed Burton the Lion: "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."

Concluding the gala evening was Disney's 3-D version of "The Night Before Christmas," which the studio is planning to re-release Stateside in October

Saturday, September 1, 2007

How the Depp - Burton Sweeney Todd story unfolded for us at

The first that we heard about Johnny and his involvement in a film version of Stephen Sondheim's version of SWEENEY TODD came when posted this on Saturday, January 7, 2006 - 10:35pm

"Looks like Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will be giving us a reeealllly close shave!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a really interesting rumor. has posted a bit "from valid sources" saying that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will work again on the film version of the musical SWEENEY TODD, about the murderous barber. I've also confirmed this as a valid bit of talk from a source of mine as well, so while I wouldn't call it anything more than a rumor at this point, I think there's certainly something going on with this project. Sam Mendes is no longer attached to direct the musical. "

Then just a couple of days later we posted this article from MSN on JDR on 1/11/06 at 08:25 PM

"Casting News: Burton and Depp Together Again

Time was passing and in June we posted this
Although not officially announced, rumors are flying that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are teaming up again for the movie version of "Sweeney Todd." Sources close to the Hitlist confirm the story. The musical about a demon barber who slits the throats of his customers recently returned to Broadway in a critically acclaimed production. The original 1979 production won Tony Awards for Best Musical and individual awards for composer Stephen Sondheim and stars Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury (yep, that one). The biggest question is whether Johnny Depp can handle the singing chores. "Todd" verges on opera so the musical requirements are more difficult than your typical big-screen adaptation. The picture would be the sixth collaboration between Burton and Depp, but when it will actually occur is unknown. A screenplay has been completed by Oscar-winner John Logan ("Gladiator"), but Burton's next film was expected to be "Believe It or Not!" which star Jim Carrey told the Hitlist was to begin shooting by the end of this year. Needless to say, the collaboration of the two on such a dark and sinister project as "Todd" will make it a highly anticipated project. "

And in March this blurb appeared at and was originally posted on JDR 3/10/06 at 06:17 AM.

"JOHNNY Depp checked out the hit revival of "Sweeney Todd" last weekend, prompting speculation that Edward Scissorhands would soon swap his shears for a razor and some Barbasol.
Depp is indeed interested in playing the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, but on the big screen, not on Broadway.
He and director Tim Burton are fans of the Stephen Sondheim musical and have been discussing the possibility of doing a movie version. "

Excitement was growing here when JDR had a friend at the LA signing of Tim Burton's CORPSE BRIDE CD and our source reported this on 3/11/06 at 07:00 PM here on JDR:

"When I went to the Corpse Bride DVD signing, I asked Tim about Sweeney Todd. He said "I don't know" real quick. I said "Don't know it or don't know if you should say something about it?" He said "I don't know" again real quick so my take is that there is some truth to it... as if there wasn't he would not have answered and shunned it so quickly. So I think it is possible and he did not want to confirm it in any way."

Variety wrote about Brad Gray and his involvement with Sweeney Todd with this quote "Grey began March 1, 2005 as chairman of Paramount PicturesParamount Pictures which, after a long string of box-office failures, had flipped from being the town's most stable studio to the most disappointing one.

Seated behind a desk in his corner office on a recent morning, Grey appeared calm and collected, dressed down in a black sweater. He was quietly typing behind a flat screen. Before answering any questions about the studio, Grey, who produced "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" for Warner Bros. when he was still a manager, had to shoot off an email to Johnny Depp about yet another potential collaboration with Tim Burton, this time for "Sweeney Todd."

On June 23, 2006, Hollywood Reporter's Anne Thompson and Sheigh Crabtree wrote in their article about Stacey Snyder (new CEO at Dream Works) that Dream Works owns the rights for Sweeney Todd when they reported that "Snider is revving her engines for 2008. The next looming start could be another musical adaptation for which DreamWorks owns all rights -- Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," which director Tim Burton and producers Richard Zanuck, Parkes and MacDonald have made a high priority. Burton is talking to old collaborator Johnny Depp about starring in what he calls "a Grand Guignol horror story," Snider said. Although Depp could decide to first film Warner Bros. Pictures' "Shantaram, Snyder added" And we heard jingle bells ringing for Sweeney when "Snider added that "maybe 'Sweeney Todd' falls in our lap for Christmas" -- for either '07 or '08. "

Rehearsal dates were reported mid August of 06 when Variety's Chris Gardner and Pamela McClintock wrote that the "film version of the hit Broadway musical was first set up at Warners well over a decade ago, with Burton attached to direct. DreamWorks picked up the project when Burton fell off, and Sam Mendes came aboard to develop the film with Logan.

DreamWorks kicked "Sweeney Todd" into high gear in June, when Burton became available after Par put his "Ripley's Believe It or Not" on hold amid concerns over budget and the creative direction.

Likewise, Depp's schedule opened up when director Peter Weir ankled Warners' "Shantaram."Musical is set to begin shooting in early February at Pinewood Studios near London. "Sweeney Todd" producers said rehearsals and pre-recordings will begin in November and December. "

The next day, Aug. 17, 2006 we read in Hollywood Reporter that DreamWorks Studios had announced the official start of production for Sweeney Todd in London at Pinewood Studios to begin on Feb. 5 2007.

In an Oct.21, 2006 article from from the Daily News that was reported on The Stephen Sondheim Society forum we learned that the cast will "go into a recording studio next month (Nov 06) and start laying down tracks. "

While Tim was still promoting the re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas, we got more from him on ST in a interview on Nov. 17, 2006 when he told us that " She (Helena Bonham Carter) had to go through a rigorous auditioning process, though. Stephen Sondheim had a say in it."

Just as an FYI, on Dec 17 we read that Sweeney Todd will be wearing a green homburg.

The son of director Tim Burton and actress Helena Bonham Carter will make his second cameo appearance in his father's next movie - at the tender age of three according to yahoo news on March 01, 2007.

March 21, 2007 brought us the great news that " just a couple of weeks ago, Paramount played host on its Hollywood lot to executives from a small, regional chain, Pacific Theaters, showing them scenes from two high-end movies still in production, "Drillbit Taylor" and "Sweeney Todd."

Then late March brought us the sad news that Johnny's daughter was taken ill and that he left the production for about 10 days to be with his daughter. The production continued to film around him until his return.

On March 29, Variety reports: 'Todd' to sing in time for Christmas
Burton's musical set to open Dec. 21, 2007. (Edit: We now know that in Aug, WB announced that ST would open wide on Christmas Day.)

April 10 brings us these words from composer Sondheim about Johnny and ST in this review
"Early buzz from the UK sets has Johnny Depp lining up for a trip to the Academy podium come Oscar '08. Indeed, word from Stephen Sondheim (who had some role in approving the casting, at least from a musical standpoint) has the iconic actor delivering 'the performance of a lifetime'."

Reportedly Sweeney Todd wrapped filming on May 11.
Richard Zanuck returned this week with the film having been completed and brought in for an economical (these days) $50 million directed by Tim Burton in 50 days.

On June 5, Comic-Con Reveals Preliminary Film & TV List
Comic-Con International has announced its preliminary list of films and TV shows that will be present during the 2007 Comic-Con, taking place in San Diego from July 26-29 including Sweeney Todd.

June 8 brought us the link to the official movie website

San Diego's July Comic Con gave us this first official look at Sweeney in the form of this poster that was handed out there.

August 10 came and we got this word from Variety on the CC poster.

Love this black-and-white-and-red poster art for Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp as Stephen Sondheim's sanguine Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was revealed at Comic-Con. Advance word on the latest Burton/Depp collaboration is good.

Also on the 20th of August we learned:
On September 5th, the Venice Film Festival is honouring director Tim Burton with a 24 hour Tim Burton Day. Warner Bros has said that a 10 minute promotion for the Sweeney Todd film will be shown during the event.

Finally the news we were waiting for about the new release date:

'Sweeney' gets Christmas premiere
Johnny Depp musical to open Dec. 21
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star in helmer Tim Burton's musical 'Sweeney Todd,' to be released at Christmas.

Johnny Depp will be singing in time for Christmas -- everywhere.
DreamWorks and Paramount have decided to go wide with director Tim Burton's bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical "Sweeney Todd" on Dec. 21, versus a platform release.

ST book author Mark Salisbury set aside rumors of a less bloody ST in his blog on Aug 27...bring on the "R" rating!
From Mark:

"And because I'm not going to be around for Tim Burton Day on the second Wednesday I won't be seeing a sneak preview of footage from Sweeney Todd which pains me but, hey, them's the breaks. Incidentally, all those reports of Burton being asked to cut back on the blood in the movie, don't believe a word of it."

And that brings us up to date, today, Sept 1, 2007

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.

For the latest news on Depp and all of his projects, visit

Ads, posters and pics to date

First ad seen in Jan. 2007 Variety:


Production stills:

Set pics:

August 30th brought us the official press release about Mark Salisbury's companion book to SWEENEY TODD

As excitement builds over the Hollywood adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Titan Books has acquired worldwide publishing rights from DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures for the official companion.

Written by Mark Salisbury, the only journalist on the movie’s set, SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET has been compiled in close collaboration with Tim Burton and his production team, promising a truly exclusive look behind the scenes. With a foreword by Burton himself and interviews with the cast and crew throughout, this stunning hardback will also include extracts from the shooting script, illustrated with over 200 photographs, plus concept drawings and production designs.

“Sweeney Todd burrows into your thoughts with the poisoned seductiveness of a campfire storyteller who knows what really scares you.”- The New York Times
This big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller sees Johnny Depp taking the eponymous role as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, joining forces for the sixth time with Oscar® nominated director Tim Burton, who was drawn to the project by its irresistible “blend of humour, horror and emotion”.

Depp is joined by Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies, with a supporting cast that includes Alan Rickman (Perfume, the Harry Potter films) as the evil Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall (Lemony Snicket, Nicholas Nickleby) as his wicked associate Beadle Bamford, and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Talledega Nights) as flamboyant rival barber Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

Titan’s companion will retail in the US from December 2007 for $30.00, with the UK publication following in January 2008, priced £19.99.

Titan Books has an established worldwide reputation as a publisher of high-profile licensed film and television tie-ins and companions, with recent successes including The Winston Effect, Superman Returns: The Complete Shooting Script and Stardust: The Visual Companion, and companions to television programmes including 24, Battlestar Galactica, The 4400 and Bones.