Seated in a barber's chair with legs splayed, lead actor Johnny Depp — in full "Sweeney" mode with pin-striped pants, double-breasted vest and a streak of white hair — wields a foreboding straight blade in his London loft. The Palace of Westminster Clock Tower looms in the distance as blood seeps between the cracks of the wooden floorboards. The tag reads "Never Forget Never Forgive."
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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 is slated for a Dec. 21 limited release with a wide opening on Jan. 11, 2008.
A place holder for the forthcoming official website can be found at sweeneytoddmovie.com. Fans can currently sign up for updates on the film and site's progress. "I've always wanted to do a musical and Sweeney Todd is my favorite," said Tim Burton in the release. "Stephen's blend of humor, horror and emotion is something that has always connected with me."
Sondheim joins the director in his enthusiasm. "Sometimes a story or stage production has to wait a long time until the right people come together to turn it into a motion picture. That's what has happened with Sweeney Todd and I'm excited as well as confident that it will be a first-rate and startling movie."
Burton returns to his familiar casting pool with Depp (the duo have previously teamed on "Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood," "Sleepy Hollow," "Corpse Bride" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and Carter (seen in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Big Fish," "Planet of the Apes" and in voice on "Corpse Bride"). Depp takes on the title role with Carter 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.
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 production team includes Tony Award winners Jonathan Tunick (orchestrator) and Paul Gemignani (musical supervisor) as well as director of photography Dariusz Wolski ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), production designer Dante Ferrati ("The Aviator"), costume designer Colleen Atwood ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "Chicago"), hair and make-up designer Peter Owen ("The Lord of the Rings") and editor Chris Lebenzon.
The film is produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and John Logan.