"Sweeney Todd" Film Finds Its Mrs. Lovett

News   "Sweeney Todd" Film Finds Its Mrs. Lovett
Helena Bonham Carter has landed the role of the pie-baking Mrs. Lovett in the forthcoming DreamWorks Studios/Warner Bros. film of the award-winning Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd.
Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton's
Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Photo by Warner Bros.

Variety reports that Bonham Carter, who will do her own singing in the role, will co-star opposite Johnny Depp in the title role. Casting is atypical for the role; Mrs. Lovett is typically a good decade older than the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Depp and Carter are both in their forties.

Filming for "Sweeney Todd" is scheduled to begin in the beginning of 2007 with a release in late 2007.

Sweeney Todd features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Hugh Wheeler wrote the show's book. The film's screenplay has been penned by John Logan. Tim Burton, the long-time partner of Bonham Carter, directs.

Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in "The Wings of the Dove." Her many other screen credits include "Conversations with Other Women," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Big Fish," "Henry VIII," "The Heart of Me," "Planet of the Apes," and "Fight Club."

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 recently co-starred in John Doyle's acclaimed staging of Sweeney Todd at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

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