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

1 comment:

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

pooh....I thought I had posters blocked....dang dang dan