A DreamWorks representative confirmed the casting of Cohen as Signor Adolfo Pirelli for the DreamWorks Studios/Warner Bros. film of the Stephen Sondheim musical.
John Logan ("The Aviator," "Gladiator") penned the screenplay for the film. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will partner with Richard Zanuck and John Logan to produce the co-production with Warner Bros. Paramount will distribute for DreamWorks domestically and Warner Bros. internationally.
Sweeney Todd follows the story of a wrongfully imprisoned barber in Victorian England who sets out to seek revenge on the judge who imprisoned him. The stage work features a score by Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler based on the play by Christopher Bond.
Cohen has turned his Borat character — previously seen on his HBO series "Da Ali G Show" — into a celluloid success. The film has topped the box office charts for the past two weeks. The British actor has previously appeared in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" as well as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and in voice on the animated feature "Madagascar."
Burton returns to his familiar casting pool for 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." The film is slated to begin filming in Februray of 2007 at London's Pinewood Studios. Also attached to the project are costume designer Colleen Atwood ("Memoirs of a Geisha") and cinematographer Dante Spinotti ("L.A. Confidential").
Sweeney Todd originally opened on Broadway in 1979 starring Len Cariou (as Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (as Mrs. Lovett) — both earned Tony Awards for their performances. Harold Prince directed the production, which took home the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. Subsequent revivals have starred Beth Fowler and Bob Gunton (1989 on Broadway), George Hearn and Patti LuPone (2001 concert), Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski (2002 - Kennedy Center) and the recent revival with Michael Cerveris and LuPone.
The score includes such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea" and "Not While I'm Around."
Among the names being bandied for other roles include Jim Broadbent ("Moulin Rouge"), Christopher Lee ("The Lord of the Rings"), Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries") and Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins).