Filming Begins on Tim Burton Sweeney Todd in London; Cast Confirmed

News   Filming Begins on Tim Burton Sweeney Todd in London; Cast Confirmed The Sweeney Todd film, in which Tim Burton will direct Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, has begun filming in London, according to an official announcement.

The DreamWorks Studios/Warner Bros. film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical is penned by John Logan ("The Aviator," "Gladiator"). Work is underway at London's Pinewood Studios for the film, which is slated to be distributed domestically by Paramount for a late 2007 release and distributed internationally by Warner Bros.

"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."

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.

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, Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat," "Talladega Nights") as Signor Adolfo Pirelli and Christopher Lee ("The Lord of the Rings") in the role of "the gentleman ghost."

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 production team includes 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.

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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."