As an enormous fan of both Tim Burton and musicals, I can't wait for Sweeney Todd. Coming to theaters this holiday season, Todd is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical thriller about "the demon barber of Fleet Street." Aside from Burton's involvement, the most exciting aspect about this movie is the cast. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Alan Rickman are just a few of the names attached, and Dreamworks has confirmed that "All the stars will do their own singing from Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics." When I reported on the film a few months ago, I mentioned that Burton regular Christopher Lee was a part of the cast. He was to play a "Gentleman Ghost," a character not in the original show. Sad news -- the "Gentleman Ghost" has now been cut from the film, along with several other characters.
The worst part is that the scenes were cut before reaching the shooting stage, so all of the Lee fans won't get to enjoy them on a future DVD release. Says Lee, "It would have been worse if I had done the scenes, but I never got to film them. It's a shame as the lyrics were wonderful, but these things happen." This would have marked Lee's fourth collaboration with Burton -- the others being Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride. Todd tells the story of "a wrongfully imprisoned barber in Victorian England who sets out to seek revenge on the judge who imprisoned him." "I've always wanted to do a musical and Sweeney Todd is my favorite," says Burton. "Stephen's blend of humor, horror and emotion is something that has always connected with me." Sondheim shares the admiration, saying "I'm excited as well as confident that it will be a first-rate and startling movie." Sweeney Todd will get a limited release on December 21st, presumably for Oscar consideration. It goes wide on January 11th, 2008.