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SWEENEY TODD

The Cast
"'Sweeney' has had a long and successful career on stage, and yet, in a way you've never had the opportunity to get emotionally close to Sweeney,” says producer Parkes. "It's the nature of the stage. You don't have close ups. But when you bring Tim, and particularly Johnny(Depp), to the mix, you have an opportunity to get inside Sweeney emotionally. In a way, it almost redefines the way you look at the play.”

While on stage Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett have usually been played by actors in their 50s and 60s, Burton was determined to skew the cast younger for his film. "It just felt that part of the energy on this was to make them a bit younger, in their 40s, and have the kids be kids, so the ages were a bit more appropriate to what the story really was, and it's not a teenager being played by a 30-year-old,” he explains. "That, to me, was an energy that was very filmic as opposed to a stage thing when you could get away with it.”

"Tim very much wanted there to be a potential for romance, two people who had a moment and lost it,” observes producer Walter Parkes. "I think Helena does as much as Johnny to deliver that. There's a moment at the end where she sings one of my favorite songs, ‘By the Sea,' in which she is imagining the life she and Sweeney and little Toby could have if they could just let this all go. It's so poignant and so beautiful because it's simple, direct, unadorned and legitimately emotional – and made all the more so because you know this cloud of tragedy is hanging over these three peoples' heads.”

"The absolute core of Mrs. Lovett is that she's in love with this man who never notices her,” says Bonham Carter. "He doesn't even look at her, except when she comes up with the genius idea of how to dispose of his bodies when, suddenly, she's visible. And she is a good partner, a good foil for him, because whereas he's a total introvert, she's extroverted. She's practical and, I think, a lot cleverer, frankly. She was Sweeney's landlord 15 years ago, when he was married. So when Sweeney comes back from Australia and finds her, she gives him back his old room, above her pie shop. But the thing is, she's always been in love with Sweeney. And I don't think he gives two hoots about Mrs. Lovett. He's so obsessed with avenging his wife's death. But there's something quite crucial she fails to tell him…”

"When we first meet Sweeney Todd he's a very mysterious character,” says Logan. "He doesn't say a lot but you know from his eyes that there is something haunting him, that he has a secret, that his past is haunting him, literally haunting him. As the story goes on, we learn what led him to this very dark place. He's just escaped from penal servitude in Australia. He was floating on a raft in the middle of the ocean, trying to make his way to London because he is on a mission of revenge. He wants revenge on the people who essentially destroyed his life.”

To play his Sweeney Todd, director Tim Burton had only one actor in mind. "Johnny Depp plays Sweeney Todd as only Johnny Depp can,” says producer Richard Zanuck. "Talk about a risk taker. The bigger the risks, the more attractive a role is to Johnny. He's built his whole career on pictures and roles that most actors have turned down or would turn down. He's the master of disguise. He's the master of doing something unique every time out. He has a different look, a different personality, and in this case, he'll have a voice that people will be absolutely astounded by.”

Considered to be one of his generation's finest actors, Depp's stock has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to his starring role as Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” a global box office smash for which he received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor, which was followed by two enormously successful sequels

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