Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is currently being made into a movie (as I'm sure you're all well aware) and it is being directed by Tim Burton. I greeted this news with some trepidation, as I have seen Tim Burton's work and I hold nothing against it except that it looks like the work of Tim Burton. I reserve judgement. THEN I hear that the Demon Barber is going to be played by Johnny Depp. Again, I am very, very nervous, anxious even, BUT apparently Mr. Depp had to audition for Sondheim, and if the composer thinks he can do it, then, fine. Again, I will wait and see. Helena Bonham Carter is going to play Mrs. Lovett, and despite my best efforts, genuine panic is beginning to rise. Mr. Burton had a master-class at the London International Film Festival a few weeks ago and I had half a mind to go down there: "Ah, yes, this question isn't about directing? I was just wondering if you were had any plans for Sweeney Todd? Like having Michael Cerveris do it? Please?" Then today--finally--some good news. Sacha Baron Cohen has been announced as Signor Pirelli, a small but vital role. (vital as in the jugular! haha!) Finally, an announcement I can get excited about. Mr. Baron Cohen is best known as the gentleman who is being sued by frat boys who claimed they were coerced into being in his movie and irritating the prime minister of Khazakstan and I think he is one of the funniest men alive today. I haven't seen "Borat" yet, but I will this weekend, just to make sure that he's up to Sweeney snuff.
I don't know why I've taken such a hugely personal interest in the casting and making of this film, except that I want it to be good. REALLY good. I know that some studio has picked it up to cash in on the recent spate of musical movies being made, but, unlike "High School Musical"* Sweeney is a genuine chance to introduce the world at large to what a REAL musical should look, sound and taste like. Chris Columbus had the chance with RENT, but we won't go there today.
Support Sweeney! I will keep you updated as info becomes available.
*shoot me. shoot me now.