August 16, 2006

Depp, Burton team up for ‘Sweeney Todd’ film

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Johnny Depp and director Tim
Burton, known for their offbeat films like "Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory," will team again to make "Sweeney Todd,"
based on Stephen Sondheim's award-winning stage musical, the
DreamWorks movie studio said on Thursday.

Depp often brings an eccentric edge to his roles, like the
swishy pirate captain Jack Sparrow in current hit "Pirates of
the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," and director Burton has
created some of the movies' strangest characters like the shrub
pruning monster in "Edward Scissorhands," played by Depp.

In "Sweeney Todd," to be released in late 2007, Depp will
play the murderous barber of the same name who seeks his own
brand of razor-slashing revenge against a judge who wrongfully
imprisoned him.

Depp and Burton have teamed up in other quirky films
including 1994's acclaimed "Ed Wood," about a B-movie director,
and in 1999's "Sleepy Hollow," which tells the American folk
tale of Ichabod Crane's encounter with a headless horseman.

The legend of serial-killer Sweeney Todd is rooted in
British lore, and has given rise to numerous earlier plays and
films, including a 1936 film called "Sweeney Todd: The Demon
Barber of Fleet Street," and a 1998 TV movie, "The Tale of
Sweeney Todd," starring Sir Ben Kingsley.

The new movie, which will be co-produced by DreamWorks and
Warner Bros., will be adapted from the modern musical thriller
"Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," with songs
originally composed by Sondheim. That version became a Broadway
hit in 1979 and won 8 Tony Awards.

A musical revival was launched in England in 2004 and hit
Broadway last year. Both its stars, Michael Cerveris and Patti
Lupone, earned 2006 Tony Award nominations, and the play won
Tonys for best direction of a musical and best orchestrations.