Maverick director Tim Burton (âPlanet of the Apes,â âBatmanâ) takes the award-winning musical sensation âSweeney Toddâ and reinvents it into an edgy, compelling, dramatic thriller starring perennial collaborator Johnny Depp.
âThereâs always a possibility it might upset the purists because itâs not the show, and there are numbers that are not in it,â muses Burton. âA movie like this is a strange gamble because itâs an R-rated musical, itâs got blood in it and people that go to Broadway shows donât usually go to see slasher films and people who see slasher films donât usually go to Broadway shows.â
For fans of the original musical, âSweeney Toddâ composer Stephen Sondheim does acknowledge that some material was cut. But, he adds, âI urge them as much as possible to leave their memory of the stage show outside the door, because unlike all other movies of stage musicals that I know, this really is an attempt to take the material and completely transform it into a movie. The nice thing about âSweeney Toddâ is that this is not a movie of the stage show. This is a movie based on the stage show.â
âTim is the perfect director for âSweeney Todd,ââ says producer Richard D. Zanuck. âThere is such an affinity between the subject matter and Timâs style and sensibility. He is a stylist but also at his heart heâs a dramatist who just wants to tell a simple, human love story.â
âHeâs a perfect fit,â says Sondheim of Burton. âIn many ways itâs his simplest film, his most direct film, but you can see that heâs telling a story he really likes. Itâs a story that has enough incident in it so he doesnât have to invent extracurricular stuff. He has enthusiasm for the piece and he just goes straight for the jugular.â
âSweeney Toddâ marks Depp and Burtonâs sixth film together, after âEdward Scissorhands,â âEd Wood,â âSleepy Hollow,â âCharlie and the Chocolate Factoryâ and âCorpse Bride.â âThey are like any good team with almost an unspoken way of doing things, and can practically read each otherâs minds,â says Zanuck. âJohnny looks to Tim for guidance and Tim looks to Johnny for taking what he has outlined and pushing it a little further. They really love each other and would do anything for each other. Itâs a deep friendship, and theyâre both lovely people, fun to work with and hard-working. And theyâre both at the top of their game. So the combination is wonderful in terms of freshness and inventiveness.â
âEvery time Johnny and I work together we try to do something different â and singing for a whole movie is not something weâre used to,â says Burton. âYou never just want to feel like, âOkay, that was easy. Whatâs next?â Johnny and I always want to stretch ourselves, and this was a perfect outlet for that.â Opening soon across the Philippines, âSweeney Toddâ is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.I'm looking for Sweeney Todd.