Oscar 2007: Sweeney Todd Preview

Opens December 21

There's already Oscar buzz about Tim Burton's big-screen musical extravaganza, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," base don the sneak preview that was shown at the Venice Film Festival, when Burton was honored with a special award, handed to him by his favorite star, Johnny Depp. (See Venice Article).

DreamWorks is so confident about their eccentric fare that they decided last week to open the musical wide, on December 21, as big Christmas movie, instead of platforming it gradually, as was the original design.

Johnny Depp and Burton, in what's one of the most creative collaborations in contemporary cinema, join forces for the sixth time in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning horror-thriller musical, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Depp stars in the title role (that Len Cariou played on stage) 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 Sweeney returns to reopen his barber shop, he becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, who "shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again."

Joining Johnny Depp is Helena Bonham Carter (Tim Burton's wife) as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney amorous accomplice, who creates her own brand of diabolical meat pies.

Neither Depp nor Bonham Carter, who recreates on screen Angela Lansbury's memorable role, are professional singers. But Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor also were not chanteurs when they made the musical "Moulin Rouge," and they acquitted themselves nicely.

The stellar cast also includes such accomplished British thespians as Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison, Timothy Spall ("Secrets & Lies" and other Mike Leigh pictures), as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford, and Sacha Baron Cohen (the comedic genius of "Borat"), as a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

Credits

A DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Pictures presentation of a Parkes/MacDonald production and a Zanuck Company production of a Tim Burton film. Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, and John Logan. Executive Producer: Patrick McCormick Screenplay: John Logan, based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, from an adaptation of Christopher Bond. Music and lyrics by Sondheim. Original production staged by Harold Prince.