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Burton on ‘Todd’

Burton on 'Todd'

Since seeing Sweeney Todd at BNAT a few weeks ago, I haven’t really taken time here to say how much I liked the film. It’s great. Bloody, artful, entertaining, and smart. Johnny Depp is amazing, and it’s Tim Burton’s best film in years. It’s especially nice because they rolled the dice and took a lot of risks. And the gamble paid off. Burton recently chatted with Premiere about his entire career and how Sweeney Todd may be his proudest moment. From the article:

With Sweeney Todd, Depp throws himself wholeheartedly into the operatic role of the murderous barber. And, for Burton, it was a chance to tell a story that he had long admired: “I saw it when I was a student when I wrote in London. I wasn’t a real theatergoer or anything, but I loved it, and I decided ‘Wow! This is amazing.’ I was involved with it about ten years ago, but I sort of went off and got involved in other things. But then recently I started thinking about it again. I looked at an old drawing that I did, and I thought it looked like Johnny and Helena [Bonham Carter]. I didn’t know who they were at the time that I did the drawing, and it seemed like a weird fate to me.”

But the production had its challenges. Perhaps most alarming to lovers of the Broadway show, which features Stephen Sondheim music and lyrics, is that few of the cast are trained singers. “None of them are professional singers except for one of the characters. But I think it gives an extra layer of something that you don’t necessarily get from something on stage,” says Burton. So instead of sidestepping the issue, Burton embraced it fully: “When I first read the script, there was actually less music in it. The script had been through lots of different drafts and all. So John [Logan], the writer, and I ended up putting more music back into it because we wanted to keep the spirit of the show, as it [is] a musical.”

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