Variety reports that Johnny Depp will star as the vengeful barber in the film musical, which will be directed by Tim Burton. Burton will helm the movie, which was developed by DreamWorks, for Paramount Pictures. Screenwriter John Logan has adapted the Sondheim-Wheeler musical for the screen.
"Sweeney Todd" is being put on the fast track because another Burton project, "Ripley's Believe It or Not," has been sent back into development. That film was to star Jim Carrey as the famed explorer-reporter.
"Sweeney Todd" will mark yet another Depp-Burton collaboration. The Hollywood actor has previously been directed by Burton in "Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood," "Sleepy Hollow," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the animated film "The Corpse Bride."
Considered one of Sondheim's masterpieces, Sweeney Todd originally premiered at Broadway's Uris Theatre on Feb. 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast's Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.
Another major production of the Sondheim-Wheeler work, which is based on a version of "Sweeney Todd" by Christopher Bond, was the Kennedy Center mounting, which starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski. A concert presentation of the musical, directed by Lonny Price and led by Tony winners George Hearn and Patti LuPone confirmed the strength of Sondheim's score, which boasts such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea" and "Not While I'm Around." And, of course, Tony Award winners LuPone and Michael Cerveris currently co-star in John Doyle's acclaimed staging of Sweeney Todd at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.