Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Johnny Depp to sing??

Get ready to hear Johnny Depp belt out his best when Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, hits theaters on December 21.

I am somewhat of a big musical fan. I practically know every line to Moulin Rouge and Chicago and I recently was blessed enough to watch Legally Blonde: The Musical when it aired on MTV. Nothing like singing "Oh my god, oh my god you guys!" with your roommates on a random Sunday afternoon. It is a song from the film, if you don't believe I'm sure it will be on re-runs soon. It's pretty great.

Even though this is a little embarrassing to admit, the first time I actually heard of Sweeney Todd was while watching Ben Affleck’s disastrously un-watched film Jersey Girl, when his adorable little spawn with Jennifer Lopez wants to act out a bloody scene from the play for her school’s parent talent show.

The film, based on the famous Broadway musical, follows the life of Benjamin Barker. Living in Victorian England with his wife and daughter, the small town barber is forcefully deported to Australia thanks to a harsh judges’ order. He returns to England after many years with no reason to live except to get revenge on those who did him wrong and according to the synopsis on IMDB, “reaping the benefits of that bloody journey.” He does this by assuming Sweeney Todd as his alias and seeking vengeance by slashing throats, dumping the bodies from his barber’s chair and churning the bodies into human meat burgers. Hungry yet?

The film stars Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin and Mr. Borat himself, Sacha Baron Cohen as Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

It is never easy to bring these famed musicals to life on the big screen. The New York Times sat down with director Tim Burton to discuss his aspiration to make the film. According to the New York Times, Burton became obsessed with the musical living in London in the 1980s, seeing it over and over again:

"Around five years ago, he said, he stumbled on an old drawing he had made of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. To his surprise, “they kind of looked like Johnny and Helena.” The wheels began to turn. “Those kinds of things mean something to me,” Mr. Burton said.

Burton, who casts Depp in most of his films, had to think twice for this film since Depp’s singing chops were not exactly up to par. When Burton asked Depp, he replied with candor, “I may sound like a strangled cat,” and obviously agreed to participate in this groundbreaking piece of cinema.

For Sweeney Todd’s look in the film, Burton stopped at nothing to have the most demonic looking set and characters. Burton always has to add his own personal flair to every film he takes on. Just think of the classic Willy Wonky & and the Chocolate Factory and compare it to Burton’s bizarre take on little Willy in 2005’s Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. In the case of Depp’s voice, Burton said: “It started to dawn on me that I knew what Sweeney sounded like before, and I knew that it was up to me to go far away from that. He needed to be, for lack of a better word, slightly more punk rock.”

This will most likely be another musical that I grow quite fond of.

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