Sunday, January 20, 2008

News for January 20th

Burton Ready to Wed HBC!
'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' director - who has a yet to be named one-month-old (?) daughter and four-year-old son Billy with the British actress - is set to marry Helena six years after he first proposed.

He told the Radio Times magazine: "Helena and I have been engaged for more than six years and we feel married already so we never got around to it, but I'm thinking about it now.

"I'm a late bloomer."

Tim and Helena first met when she starred in his remake of 'Planet of the Apes' in 2001.

She has since featured in his movies 'Big Fish', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Corpse Bride' and 'Sweeney Todd...'.

Helena recently said of her part in musical 'Sweeney Todd...': "I would safely say it made it much harder for me to get the part because the director was my boyfriend.

"He told me you look right for it, and potentially you are perfect for the role, but we have no idea if you can sing. I said I will go away and try to learn, but I had to be righter than right. For my sake, I didn't want to feel like I got the part just because I slept with the director."


JOHNNY DEPP struggled with one song on the SWEENEY TODD soundtrack - because he had to hold a note he feared he'd never be able to.
When the movie star signed up to play the demon barber of Fleet Street in Tim Burton's dark musical he insisted he'd stay true to Todd creator Stephen Sondheim's songs - even if they proved difficult to nail, like Johanna.
He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It's such an emotional song and as far as I was concerned, when Stephen Sondheim writes the note and it has to be held for this many beats, you do it.
"Don't be a pussy, you f**kin' hold that note. You can't cheat. You can't whisper... You just gotta belt it out.
"I really beat myself up, making sure I could hold those notes. In Johanna, some are, like, 12 beats. That was a bugger. At one point, I was close to passing out - I got dizzy and saw black."

Globe winners Depp and Burton hit Paris

Johnny Depp Johnny Depp

The "City of Lights" welcomed Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on the Champs Ellysee Wednesday night to hundreds of fans who waited hours in the rain for their arrival.

Seventeen years after their first collaboration, Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton are teaming up once again - this time on the drama Sweeney Todd. For the first time together they are winners of two Golden Globes - Depp for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical and Tim Burton in the category of Best Film/Musical or Comedy.

The thriller is based on the hit Broadway musical and Depp actually sings in the film.

Depp plays Benjamin Barker, a man who was falsely imprisoned for 15 years after a judge sets him up in order to take his wife and daughter. Barker escapes and takes on the name of Sweeney Todd. Todd, who is a barber by trade, seeks to take out revenge on all of the people who have wronged him.

Depp, who was at home in France when the winners of the Golden Globes were announced, told AP Television:

"Uh, I was at my house. I was at home you know. Yeah, I was at home, just hanging out. I was very surprised, certainly. Moved, you know. Flattered. Honoured. They nominated me about 17 years ago. It was the first time."

Tim Burton was also shocked to hear of his honour while sleeping at home: "Well, I was in London and I was asleep. So, I read about it in the newspaper the next day because nobody has my phone number so I was not really aware of it until the next morning."

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter also star in the film.

Johnny Depp talks Sweeney Todd

ohnny Depp, the iconic Pirate of the Caribbean, has a killer role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

He talks about hitting the high notes as a singing slasher, playing with Barbie dolls and how even his kids have come to know him as “weird”.

How did Sweeney Todd come about for you?

It’s something that Tim and I had talked about for a long time. Then it all kind of came together. Tim’s outdone himself this time. It’s a great script, a great cast, great director, great music and one not very good singer – me!

Was it nerve-wracking having to sing and act?

I think for an actor it’s important to challenge yourself and to be potentially teetering on the brink of absolute flopdom because otherwise you’re just sort of there.

Do you sing at home?

God, no. Never. I wouldn’t inflict that on my family. The only thing I did do while preparing for this movie was I would sing in the car and to the music for Sweeney over and over again. I recorded the songs with an old friend of mine, Bruce Witkin. It was just him, me and a microphone.

Do you think this character is going to scare off your fans from Pirates of the Caribbean?

It is a radical change, that’s for sure. But I’m not trying to scare people away. The challenge for me is taking a character like that and attempting to make people feel for him at the same time he’s slashing people up.

How hard was it filming Sweeney’s really cut-throat scenes with all that blood?

I remember everyone except me being covered in plastic trash bags. There’d be a countdown. Three, two, one... action! And then blammo, you know? The great deluge. The process we shot in called for a slightly over-the-top kind of colour. It was kind of orangish... tasted kind of syrupy. It was oily and dangerous. Slippery. You’d see these big English grips, tiptoeing through the swamp of blood. Very surreal.

Do your kids watch your films?

Yeah. My whole family went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I hadn’t seen it. I was waiting at home, and they came back. And my daughter came up and went, "You're really weird." I knew then, okay. I’m okay. I’m all right.

Have you watched it with them?

No. I still haven’t. I find it so difficult to watch anything I’m in. I love discovering moments on the set. But I can’t stand the idea that I have to see it later.

Is it true you play with your daughters’ Barbies?

I have had some very good situations with different Barbies and Kens. So yeah, I’ve played with a lot of Barbies for my kids. It’s actually one of the only things I am good at. What’s nice is, now that my son is growing up, I get to do the boy stuff: Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolfman.

Up close: Johnny Depp hates to murder a song. He’s less worried about his victims as slasher supreme Sweeney Todd. Having jumped ship from the Black Pearl, Depp finds himself in far darker waters with his old shipmate Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd.

Razor-sharp tale with Depp


In his new film Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton brings his dark vision to Victorian London, with his closest conspirator Johnny Depp taking up the razor for the bloodiest of musicals. MARTYN PALMER is thrilled.

ACCORDING to Helena Bonham Carter, who is, after all, uniquely placed when it comes to observing what makes cinema’s Odd Couple tick — that’s Tim Burton and Johnny Depp — it’s a shared sensibility, an off-kilter take on life and a love of what she describes as “poo jokes”.

She has made five films with Burton (and three of these with Depp, too) and does, of course, share a London home and two children with him.

For the latest, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, she took the role as Mrs Lovett, opposite Depp as the serial killer who dispatches his victims with a slash of his cut-throat razor and a song.

This is a musical quite unlike any other: an X-rated Tim Burton horror film with tunes, buckets of blood and a leading man who owes more to Lon Chaney and The Hunchback of Notre Dame than Christopher Plummer and The Sound of Music.
“It’s the perfect date movie,” giggles Burton.

Burton and Depp are on their sixth collaboration. All is well in Burton’s cinematic world when Depp is its leading citizen.

There are other directors who have found their muse with one particular actor — Martin Scorsese with De Niro, Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe, while the Coen brothers have taken a shine to George Clooney.

But Burton and Depp have a logic all of their own, a secret, imagined universe that only they inhabit.

For Burton, Depp has vividly brought to life the ultimate gawky teenager (Edward Scissorhands), an endearingly eccentric but hopeless movie director (Ed Wood), a warped Pied Piper (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), as well as playing Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow, and voicing Victor Van Dort, whose intended is on the wrong side of mortality in the brilliant, animated Corpse Bride.

These two clearly get along and bring the best out of each other, and Sweeney Todd, the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway and West End musical, bears all the hallmarks of a classic Burton/Depp partnership.

Depp first met Burton in 1989. The actor was fresh out of a hit TV show, 21 Jump Street, and Burton was casting Edward Scissorhands.

“We met at a coffee shop in this hotel,” recalls Depp. “And instantly for me there was a connection and a kind of weird distance from the Hollywood way.”

Burton immediately recognised an actor who was desperate to escape from the box marked “teen heartthrob” that casting directors had earmarked for him.

“I always admired him for the simple reason that he always did what he wanted to do,” says Burton. “He could have gone and made millions of dollars as this great-looking leading guy. But no.

“There’s integrity there, there’s risk-taking in terms of making himself into different characters, and he’s got a great love of movies. He’s more like Peter Lorre or Boris Karloff or Lon Chaney than a glamorous movie star. And that’s the amazing thing.”

Sweeney Todd won two Golden Globes recently for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and Best Actor for Depp. It also received two other nominations for Best Director and Best Actress for Bonham Carter.

So if letting Burton loose on a Sondheim musical/horror movie — which in the States has an R rating because of the “buckets of blood” — with a reported US$50 million (RM162 million) budget was a gamble, it appears to have paid off.

“I’m not a huge musical fan, but I liked this one, I just loved it,” says Burton.

“I sent Johnny the CD (of the soundtrack). Johnny was like, ‘Great, great, great...’ and everybody was, ‘Yeah, great...’ and then it was like, ‘Um, can he sing?’ Nobody knew. I didn’t know.”

But as a teenager, Depp had played and sung in a band called the Kids.

For Depp: “I knew I wasn’t tone deaf because I play music, guitar and all. But I didn’t know if I was actually going to be able to sing. So I went into a friend’s studio and recorded My Friends — a song from the show — and I sent him that and he liked it.”

Sondheim himself was delighted to get Burton on board as director. He also trusted that Depp wouldn’t take the part unless he knew that he could do it justice.

“So I said, ‘Listen to the score carefully and if you think you can handle it, fine by me — and I was right,” says Sondheim. “I knew he was not about to get up there croaking. So Johnny Depp cast Johnny Depp.”

The composer did, though, have casting approval and was sent audition tapes of all the hopefuls — Sacha Baron Cohen as flamboyant rival barber Signor Adolfo Pirelli, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford and even the director’s girlfriend, Helena Bonham Carter, who has been a huge Sondheim fan since she was a teenager.

Sweeney Todd is the story of one man’s desperate desire for revenge and his descent into madness.

The story is believed to date back to the early 1800s and some claimed that it was based on a real case, although historians have consistently dismissed this.

It appeared as a melodrama on the London stage in 1847 and the first film version was made in 1936.

In 1973, British playwright Christopher Bond gave the world the basis for the version that we have now: a gruesome tale of a wronged man, Benjamin Barker, who is sent to Australia for a crime he didn’t commit, by the evil Judge Turpin — played by a suitably villainous Rickman — because the judge wanted to steal his beautiful wife.

Some 15 years later, when Barker returns to London, he vows to seek retribution on those who have ruined his life and sets himself up as a barber, Sweeney Todd, above a pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett.

In 1979, Sondheim turned this version into a hit Broadway musical, most famously starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs Lovett and Len Cariou as the murderous barber.

A Broadway musical does not necessarily make for great cinema, but Sondheim, the toughest critic of them all, is delighted with the film.

“I was pretty stunned by it, I must say. Both John Logan (the screenwriter) and I were nervous about seeing the first cut and Tim was nervous about our reaction. It was a very happy afternoon for everybody, a lot of self-congratulatory stuff going on.”

Depp, Bonham Carter and the rest of the cast recorded their songs before filming started at Pinewood Studios.

Then, during each scene, the music would be played back through speakers. Most of the actors, though, still sang along to themselves on set.

“And the great thing is, you hear certain pop bands and they could be anybody, but these are all actors and their characters and voices come through,” says Burton.

“It’s really exciting to hear, like, a duet between Johnny and Alan Rickman. I mean, who would ever think about that?” — Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox/Warner Bros.


Johnny Depp - © ddp
Johnny Depp - © ddp

Hollywood actor JOHNNY DEPP is hoping to play troubled pop star MICHAEL JACKSON in a movie of the singer's life.
The Sweeney Todd star was rumoured to have modelled himself on Jackson for his role as Willy Wonka in 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
But although Depp believes any similarities to the pop superstar in his portrayal are purely coincidental, he would love to take on the role of the Thriller hitmaker, insisting, "There is still time to play him."

Murder by numbers

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in a scene from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp show that even demons have a heart in their offbeat rendition of Sondheim's classic, writes Stephanie Bunbury.

WHEN Tim Burton and Johnny Depp first met, they sat for hours at a coffee table mulling delightedly over the odd artefacts they remembered from the '70s that seemed perfectly normal at the time. "For me there was an instant connection on the most obtuse levels, with this weird fascination or absurdity of things like macrame owls and resin grapes and fake fruit," says Depp in his quiet, hesitant way. "Like plastic fruit on your table. Nobody thought twice about that. So there was an instant connection on the spot."

Burton lived in Burbank, California. It was the kind of place, he has said, where nobody was really religious but everyone sent their children to Sunday school. "It was just the framework. There was no passion for it. No passion for anything. Just a kind of quiet, floaty, semi-oppressive, blank palette that you're living in."

He was a loner as a child, roaming around with his sketchbook and pencils. Inexplicably, his parents bricked up the windows in his bedroom that looked out over the lawn. "They gave me this little slit window that I had to climb on a desk to see out of." Anyone watching his movies can easily picture that child doggedly getting into position to catch a glimpse of something like beauty. In a sense, surely, he's still there. There is not really any hint, wrote critic David Thomson a few years ago, of the straight world. "Everything in a Burton film expresses the distorted feelings of a resolute, inescapable loneliness."

His newest film is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, his adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's grim, gory hit musical. A man driven by revenge who murders a succession of men and women with a flick of his razor in an effort to reach the scheming judge who ruined his life, Burton's Todd is a combination of comic-book villain and angst-ridden victim. He is not really a demon. "His family has essentially been stolen from him and he's sent away for 15 years to some hellhole," says Depp. "The way we looked at it is that, essentially, the guy died. The only way his heart has continued to beat is to go and avenge that hideous wrong that has been dealt to him."
There's more of this article so check out the link!

Johnny Depp shaves journalist’s head during an interview

Johnny Depp put his hairdressing skills to the test when he shaved a journalist’s head during an interview.

The quirky actor, who plays deadly barber Sweeney Todd in his latest film, was amazed when Steve Wilson handed him a pair of clippers and dared him to give him a haircut.

“Oh my God,” said Depp as he started shaving off Wilson’s hair in a Mohawk style. “Do your worst, I’m used to pain but just don’t do it near my throat,” said the game presenter.

After finishing the trim, Depp, 44, admitted he was quite impressed with his first attempt at cutting hair.

“It’s pretty good, I got to tell you I’d quite like to do this again,” he added during the interview filmed for chat show This Morning.

“It’s my first haircut.”

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