More About Sweeney


Information continues to come to me regarding the film version of Sweeney Todd, directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the leading roles.

The newest tidbit comes from an account of a ceremony at the Venice Film Festival recently, honoring Burton with a lifetime achievement award. As part of the ceremony, he and Mr. Depp showed a small portion of Sweeney, which was described by Mastidon, though he clearly was not at all conversant with what he was seeing. He was, however, impressed…and with good reason it seems.

The following is a portion of the report sent to Ain’t It Cool News by Mastidon.

After the award was given to Tim, he told the crowd he was going to give us a short preview of his new movie Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter . The film opens with a style similar to the second Batman with everything having a washed out and almost black & white look. Johnny starts to speak to Helena. There’s a real sadness and despair quality to his voice. Helena informs him that his whole family has been killed. He then says my name is no longer (can’t remember) but now it is Sweeney Todd so I can seek my revenge. Helena leads him upstairs to what appears to be her apartment. There is a baby crib covered with a blanket. She tells Johnny that its ok to look. He removes the blanket to reveal a dead baby. He then covers it back up. Helena bends down to remove a floorboard. She pulls out a case covered in dust. She removes the dust and hands it to Johnny. Johnny opens it with a gleam in his eye to reveal a box full of old fashioned razor-blade style knives. The camera has a long pause on the knives. Helena informs him that the knives are all silver. He agrees to that. He pulls one out and opens it.

Johnny Depp then starts to SING!!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Johnny sings on camera. Not a body double. Not an animated figure. But Johnny himself. And I’m here to tell you he has a killer voice. I wish I had a recording of the lyrics for you. Johnny sings a love song to the razor blade as he holds it in his hand! The song is about how happy he is to finally have the blade in his hands for his sweet revenge. Towards the end of the song, Helena joins in and they sing a duet to a knife!!!!! The scene ends with Jonny holding the knife in his hand and he says “Now, my arm is complete!”

The camera pulls back through the window to reveal a city from the 1800s. Lights come up. The audience is stunned.

Now, as anyone who knows the show Sweeney Todd is aware, the “love song to the razor blade” is the song My Friends, which is extremely haunting, beautiful and macabre. It is reassuring to note that not only is Depp actually singing the role, but that they kept the dramatic payoff line to the song, “At last, my arm is COMPLETE again” which leads into a reprise of the title number. The discussion before hand about the loss of his family is from the script, though badly described by the source. It seems that Burton is staying true to the material.

The image that is NOT from the show, and makes me very curious is the dead baby. In the show, Mrs. Lovett has no child, dead or otherwise. It is inferred she has always been in love with Benjamin Barker (Sweeney Todd), with tragic consequences which we learn of as the show continues. The dead baby is a strange wrinkle, but very much like Burton. I look forward to seeing how it is explained.

This continues to develop into the film I am most excited about in the near future…even more than Speed Racer.


1 Comment

  1. I cannot wait. For the first time in a very long time, I am literally breathless with anticipation of a coming film. I must check the film’s site today, look to see if there’s now a trailer…though I’m sure you would have mentioned such…

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