"Sweeney Todd" Film Will Hit Movie Theatres in December

News   "Sweeney Todd" Film Will Hit Movie Theatres in December It will be an early Christmas present for musical theatre fans when Tim Burton's film of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's acclaimed musical Sweeney Todd arrives on screens. The DreamWorks Studios/Warner Bros. film is scheduled for a limited domestic release Dec. 21.
Johnny Depp stars as the title character of
Johnny Depp stars as the title character of "Sweeney Todd."

Variety also reports that the movie musical — featuring Johnny Depp in the title role with Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett — will open wide in the U.S. Jan. 11, 2008.

The film adaptation of the Sondheim musical is penned by John Logan ("The Aviator," "Gladiator"). Work is currently underway at London's Pinewood Studios.

"I've always wanted to do a musical and Sweeney Todd is my favorite," director Burton said in a recent release. "Stephen's blend of humor, horror and emotion is something that has always connected with me."

Sondheim joined 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 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 also features 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."

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