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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sweeney Todd Teaser Poster

sweeney2.jpg
(a close-up after the jump)


depp1.jpg

66 Responses to “Sweeney Todd Teaser Poster”

  1. Noah says:

    I’m excited to see this flick, but I’m not convinced that this looks like the poster of a Best Picture winner.

  2. Eric says:

    The best part is the red glow under the floorboards.

  3. Wrecktum says:

    Tim Burton’s controversial and much-debated The Frederick Douglass Story starring Johnny Depp finally gets a one-sheet.

  4. movielocke says:

    why does this give me the feeling that the Burton translation of a musical will entail atonal off-key singing because it’s more avante-edgy-dark?

  5. mutinyco says:

    I hope he wraps a rubberband around it before he does that. Otherwise it could get pretty messy.

  6. GayAsXmas says:

    I think Sweeney Todd is a modern masterpiece of theatre and I am not convinced that Tim Burton is the right director for the film version and this poster does nothing to convince me otherwise. The poster feels too caroony, too comic-book for my tastes and I am afraid that the film will go along the same route.

  7. Is that the same set-piece from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS?? WHere’s Vincent Price?

  8. Aladdin Sane says:

    Eric, it looks like there’s a little pool of blood under the back leg of the chair…therefore I think it’s blood flowing down the cracks between the floorboards, and not a glow. But I might be wrong.

  9. Hopscotch says:

    I want to see what Sacha Baron Cohen looks like in this one.

  10. Eric says:

    Aladdin, you might be right. I see the pool. I’d have to see a higher-resolution image to be convinced either way.
    I feel like such an internet nerd. I’m poring over a teaser poster.

  11. Dave Vernon says:

    If you’ve seen the play that you have a better idea of the concept of the red glow. (slight spoiler for those who haven’t seen the play).
    It opens with Sweeney emerging from hell, back to tell his tale. There’s a fiery red glow when he rises up from the earth. Also, once he becomes a barber he slits the throats of customers and has an opening in the floor, a chute, that the dead body descends into.
    I’ve read the script for the Burton film and it is a slightly trimmed version of the musical….nothing new, no big changes. I do know this, Paramount/Dreamworks was very insistent on getting a PG-13 rating and was very much on Burton to deal with the blood and gore in a PG-13 manner. Also, the studio wanted Meryl Streep for Mrs Lovett (who was hot for doing it), but Burton was firm that he wanted Helena Bonham Carter (too bad for Lisa Marie that she wasn’t around…although she never got the big Burton roles that Bonham Carter seems to be pulling in).
    To me, the biggest question mark will be about Depp’s singing…this is truly a modern day opera and the musical tasks for the character are among the most challenging in musical theater. If Depp doesn’t have the singing voice it will be embarassing.

  12. Wrecktum says:

    Has Depp ever sung professionally before? One can’t simply just get by when singing Sondheim.

  13. LexG says:

    I liked Wrecktum’s Frederick Douglass joke, actually.
    Burton. Eh. I always really, really want to like each of his films, and some I do quite a bit, but for a celebrated visual stylist with such a particular world-view, why does at least 30% of any given Burton movie play as kind of mundane and bland? For most of the flick, you’ve got distorted lenses and Goth posturing and mugging and wah-wah-wahhhh music… and then there’ll be a scene in someone’s living room.
    See, Batman, and that bland scene in Vicki Vale’s apartment that has all the style of a Richard Benjamin composition. Or any scene at campaign headquarters in the second Batman.
    Can’t he just be all insane, all the time?

  14. Me says:

    Wow, I loved the Vicki Vale apartment scene – though mainly for Keaton’s performance and the excellent script, rather than for anything Burton was doing with it.
    As for Sweeney Todd – I had no interest in this as a Broadway show, and I have even less for the movie.

  15. Hallick says:

    “Tim Burton’s controversial and much-debated The Frederick Douglass Story starring Johnny Depp finally gets a one-sheet.”
    What’s the title? “101 Dalmatians Get The Snip-Snip”?
    I like the poster, but the straight-to-video, action film tag lines (Never Forget, Never Forgive) sure suck on dry ice when “Never Forgive – Never Forget” rolls off the tongue a lot more poetically than the clunky reverse.

  16. David Poland says:

    First, allow me to remind that not only haven’t I ever said this film will win the Oscar, I am not all that sure it can get nominated. It will truly depend on the execution of a very difficult piece, that can even be brilliant, but not to The Academy’s taste.
    As for the “straight to video” tag line… I quote…
    “Swing your razor high, Sweeney!
    Hold it to the skies!
    Freely flows the blood of those who moralize!
    His needs are few. His room is bare.
    He hardly uses his fancy chair.
    The more he breathes, the more he lives,
    He never forgets
    and he never forgives.
    Not Sweeney…
    Not Sweeney Todd…
    The demon barber of Fleet Street”

  17. leocharney says:

    Great as Meryl Streep would be in theory as Mrs. Lovett, she couldn’t be cast opposite Depp as Sweeney, because the age difference would be too creepy and implausible for the love-story angle.

  18. Dave Vernon says:

    “Great as Meryl Streep would be in theory as Mrs. Lovett, she couldn’t be cast opposite Depp as Sweeney, because the age difference would be too creepy and implausible for the love-story angle.”
    That’s the point. In the stage verson Angela Lansbary’s Mrs Lovett is older than Sweeney Todd…it’s not supposed to be a plausible love story. She’s a creepy character, an older woman who has always had a thing for Sweeney before he was sent away to prison. Sweeney finds her disgusting but partners with her because she is a kindred, twisted soul.
    It’s the casting of Bonham Carter that completely ruins this dynamic. (She’s three years younger than Depp).

  19. Nicol D says:

    This poster, I think is stunning. If I was still collecting movie posters it would have shot to the top of my ‘must have’ list.
    But…
    I have not seen the musical. What is it like? Is this poster a ‘bait and switch’ to make the film look dark and brooding where the actual Sondheim music is, light, frothy and campy?
    A friend (who loves musicals) just told me that the tone of the Sondheim music is not quite as dark as the image suggests. She said it was darker than say, Little Shop of Horrors, but go in with that sort of expectation. She said she could see why Burton wanted to do it, but do not expect it to be too brooding…which is what the poster suggests. Very dark.
    I really want to love this film as I love pretty much everything Burton does (even Mars Attacks!).
    Anyone else seen the show who can comment? Dave P perhaps?

  20. CaptainZahn says:

    Here’s Patti Lupone in the concert version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwzqz9ImmH8

  21. Cadavra says:

    “Light, frothy and campy” are arguably the last three words to describe SWEENEY TODD. Dark, bloody and very disturbing are more like it. Watch Kevin Smith’s JERSEY GIRL and note how shocked the audience is when the 8-year-old daughter stages a number from the show.

  22. Dave Vernon says:

    I don’t think there are any real spoilers in what I’m going to say…but if you’re wanting to walk in totally unaware, then don’t read.
    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that not many people seem to know what this is about.
    It’s about an insane man who returns home after being inprisioned for years on false charges to find out that his wife was raped and killed by the judge who put him away, and that his daughter is the ward of that judge, who continually molests her. Sweeney finds a crazy, lustful old pie shop lady and together they devise a plan for him to kill the judge…but in the meantime he will slit the throats of stranges who come into his barbershop…and they will use their flesh to make meatpies, which become a London sensation.
    Light. Frothy. Campy? It’s Sondheim’s darkest work, right next to Assassins.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    It should be pointed out that, in addition to all that darkness, it is indeed a bouncy, fun musical, in its particular way.

  24. David Poland says:

    What the HELL are you talking about Jeff?
    Sweeney is not frothy and not campy, unless you consider all period films camp. You can be sure there will be no winking at the camera by Depp.
    The Mrs. Lovett character – which was indeed offered to Streep, who turned it down – is realtively comic and it is her idea to dispose with the bodies by making them into pies.
    Both Bonham Carter and Depp are really young for these roles, Depp having to have been old enough to be a husband and father and then gone long enough to be forgotten, while his daughter is at least in her late teens, and Bonham Carter old enough that we see her fantasy of being Mr. Todd’s mistress/wife as absurd.
    But I don’t think that Mrs. Lovett’s age is an absolute. Todd never encouages her crush, but not because of her. He is single-minded… never forget, never forgive. Dating.loving is not in his lists of activities.
    And then, when you think you have gone as black as black can be, the third act goes even darker.
    This is the Oscar problem for the film. This material makes Chicago look like absolute fluff.
    And when I thought about the idea of showing the first footage at ComicCon, it made more sense to me after a while. This is an opera, but it is an opera about a man driven to being a serial killer and a woman who bakes his victims and feeds them to unsuspecting Londoners. Sounds like it could have been a Lionsgate film to me!

  25. David Poland says:

    I forgot my point to J-Mc.
    There are just a couple of “light” numbers in the show, including the most famous, “A Little Priest.” But no, not close to a bouncy or fun musical.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    Well I guess it’s a matter of opinion. I would say there are more numbers than that one which are both bouncy and fun. It’s dark, but it’s still comedic. Very, very bitterly comedic, but comedic nonetheless.

  27. David Poland says:

    J-Mc – I don’t think you know what you are talking about… literally.
    To say that there is black humor in the piece? Sure. But “it is indeed a bouncy, fun musical” is absurd on its face and doing a disservice to the show and anyone on this site who doesn’t know the show.
    Again, there is really one on “bouncy, fun” number in the entire score… and it’s light and bouncy about eating human flesh.

  28. David Poland says:

    P.S. It’s not a matter of opinion.

  29. Wrecktum says:

    Perhaps jeffmcm’s perverse obsession with horror cinema has warped his mind into thinking that anything which doesn’t show nubile youngsters screamingly hacked to pieces is fun and bouncy. Or, perhaps, he finds nubile youngsters screamingly hacked to pieces fun and bouncy too.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    “P.S. It’s not a matter of opinion.”
    Why do you even have a blog with this attitude?
    I popped in my highlights CD of the Angela Lansbury/Len Cariou version. First of all, Sondheim’s style is inherently ‘bouncy’. That’s a description of his style and rhythm, not necessarily his mood. Furthermore, tracks 3 (“The Worst Pies in London”), 10 (“God That’s Good”) and 12 (“By the Sea”) are – in my opinion – fun and charming.
    Wrecktum: You’re one of the good guys. Don’t be one of the bad guys.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    Just to make sure you understand me: the musical as a whole is very clearly a dark tragedy. But it’s not a heavy work that sits on your head and demands that you feel 100% bad throughout its length. It has its peaks and its valleys. The valleys are very dark and tragic, and the peaks are ironically dark and comic.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Let me add one more thing re: Oscars, that it’s not the ‘darkness’ that is going to prevent it from winning favor with Awards groups. Awards groups like dark movies – Million Dollar Baby, The Pianist, etc. It’s the studied perversity of the black comedy, and the mixture of tones, that will keep this out of the running. That was the same reason why The Departed could have lost this year’s Oscars, but ultimately Scorsese-love won the day.

  33. Dave Vernon says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Have to side with Poland on this one. There is dark humor but (and I’ve seen several productions of this including the original broadway), I always left the theater feelling disturbed and sad…there is great sadness and great loss in this piece. The two numbers you mention…first, By The Sea…Sondheim plays the bounciness for irony….Mrs. Lovett has mistaken Sweeney’s interest in her for romantic. She’s going on and on about the future she sees for them, and he sits there and ignores her. We know there is no way that this relationship is going to turn out well. Its not a song you can enjoy for that reason.
    And God That’s Good….its a song that the customers sing while they are eating pies made of human flesh. Again, Sondheim plays with his audience…he’s unwilling to give them heartwarming emotional moments…so he’ll often play the bouncy song off dark plot points.
    There is a moment of fun with the Pirelli character, because he’s played as a huge buffoon.

  34. CaptainZahn says:

    Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m worried he’s going to really Burtonify the material. The white streak in the hair doesn’t seem like a good sign to me.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Dave V, from what you say it doesn’t really sound like there’s a disagreement. I’m merely trying to make the point that the show is not The Sorrow and The Pity: The Musical.

  36. Wrecktum says:

    “Wrecktum: You’re one of the good guys. Don’t be one of the bad guys”
    What is this, Lost?

  37. jeffmcm says:

    My point is: we already have one Ian Sinclair.

  38. Wrecktum says:

    And one is certainly enough.

  39. David Poland says:

    Gee… for a second I forgot it was your blog, J-Mc.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    I’d put that on my own blog but Sinclair doesn’t post there.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Glad to see I haven’t lost my touch in pressing your buttons, though.

  42. David Poland says:

    Yes, still an asshole.
    Where is this blog of yours?

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Hey, even Don Murphy vouched for me as ‘probably not a douchebag if he was here right now’.

  44. bipedalist says:

    Not to drag out this clusterfuck but:
    “Let me add one more thing re: Oscars, that it’s not the ‘darkness’ that is going to prevent it from winning favor with Awards groups. Awards groups like dark movies – Million Dollar Baby, The Pianist, etc. It’s the studied perversity of the black comedy, and the mixture of tones, that will keep this out of the running. That was the same reason why The Departed could have lost this year’s Oscars, but ultimately Scorsese-love won the day.”
    Sorry but that’s not entirely true. The winning film isn’t usually dark but that doesn’t mean the other nominated five won’t be. It’s fairly typical or many of the branches to go or more darker fare but when the whole group casts their vote they usually go for the weepy or the feelgood. As it turns out, The Departed WAS the feelgood movie because it was exhilarating filmmaking – and justice ultimately won out.
    Sweeney Todd will likely NOT be recognized because it’s directed by Tim Burton. Even without Burton helming it it would be a tough sell because it’s a musical remade from a play. But for one crowdpleasing (Miramaxian) exception, in these war torn times it’s sort of out of fashion. Burton is the real problem where Oscar is concerned.

  45. Me says:

    Was Sweeney Todd a play before they made it a musical – I always thought it started life as a musical?
    Also, the Academy doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with dark comedy, as American Beauty won for its dark comedy (despite the whole bag floating in the wind attempt at meaning, which has pretty much become the biggest joke of that movie).

  46. Me says:

    Oh, you meant a musical movie made from a musical play. I should have read it again before I posted.
    As for Burton, the Academy was willing to consider Ed Wood, so I think it’s just a question of Burton actually delivering a good movie that is more than just style.

  47. Wrecktum says:

    Sweeney Todd was definitely a play before it was a musical.

  48. Wrecktum says:

    ^ And by that I mean a non-musical play before it was a musical play.

  49. Me says:

    Thanks – I think I’m finally getting it. ;>

  50. David Poland says:

    Sweeney Todd was a legend before being a play or a musical.
    And BiP… every year, The Academy does like this one or doesn’t like this one… and they goes ahead and nominates who they like this year. If the movie doesn’t connect with that group, they have a problem… and if it does, Tim Burton – who is not disliked in town, just disconnected – will be fine.
    I don’t know where you get Burton dislike as an issue. What movie was meant to get nominated and missed? The only one I can think of that was even close was Big Fish and that was really too odd, too late, and The Jude Law Problem – not him as an actor, but that he is millquetoast in leads – was much more significant than Burton in my opinion.
    Ed Wood? Edward Scissorhands? Was ever really in the race?

  51. I like the poster, but it’s nothing amazing. I’m not at all familiar with Sweeney Todd though so I’m going through youtube and watching some clips. Sounds pretty darn good.
    I still don’t think it will even be nommed for Best Picture at the Oscars.

  52. Wrecktum says:

    Was Jude Law even in Big Fish?

  53. David Poland says:

    Oops… it was Ewan McGregor… Jude’s precursor amd precursed.

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Ed Wood won for Martin Landau alone, and that can be attributed to (a) he’s a Hollywood legend playing another Hollywood legend, and (b) it’s a performance that is both showy and totally heartbreaking. In other words, Oscar fodder.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Bipedalist, you’re correct – I was thinking more narrowly about the Oscars and how they tend to be more mainstream/middlebrow. I think the ‘Burton problem’ is more that he would need to get nominated for picture or director and lose before he could win.

  56. Geoff says:

    Not familiar with this story/musical at all. But I hear he slits throats and the studio is aiming for a PG-13. Sleepy Hollow was fun because he actually showed some fun decapitations (I thought that movie could have been a PG-13, but that’s just me). Now he’s going to have to get all creative with the cutaways.

  57. Cadavra says:

    ED WOOD also won for make-up.
    There were at least three previous (non-musical) film versions of SWEENEY, the best-known starring none other than Tod Slaughter, the most aptly-named actor in movie history.
    David–you say Depp and Carter are too young for their parts. In fact, they’re 43 and 41, respectively, plenty old enough to have had a teenager, especially in those days.

  58. bipedalist says:

    Jeff, I think Burton would have to de-Burton to ever get that close to even getting the big noms. In other words, if it’s someone revolutionary but not necessarily Oscar friendly, it can still be among the nominated five – Pulp Fiction, for instance. But if it’s a guy who’s been kicking around a long time and yet hasn’t made the cut well, the bloom is off the rose.
    DP, when you say “I don’t know where you get Burton dislike as an issue.” I didn’t say disliked. Enough pressure can overcome general dislike for a person (Lauren Bacall) for a nomination at least but his films that have been expected to go to Oscar town haven’t. Big Fish, Sleepy Hollow, namely, but even Ed Wood which probably had the best shot. His sensibilities are off – they are too weird, too cold, too removed, so far as I’ve seen over the years when it’s been predicted his films would go all the way.
    But never say never. There is always a chance but there are several obstacles in the way. Burton, the musical, the subject matter, etc. To me, Burton is the biggest problem sight unseen. I don’t think he should change his films, though, just to get approval from that group. He should do what he does and eventually he’ll get an honorary Oscar. Depp, though, will likely be nominated, as you predicted way back when.

  59. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Wow, I love this poster. Not the Sweeney Todd I remember, it looks so modern and cool, which is exciting!!! Can’t wait!

  60. ahh says:

    Tim Burton is the best f***ing director there is so all you peole who think its gunna suck you suck.

  61. David Poland says:

    So in other words, BiP, it’s the movie, not the director.
    On that, I agree.
    Unless it is the other way around, where some directors get extra love.

  62. Wrecktum says:

    “Tim Burton is the best f***ing director there is so all you peole who think its gunna suck you suck.”
    Did you learn this type of retort in debate or charm school?

  63. Hallick says:

    “As for the ‘straight to video’ tag line… I quote…
    ‘…The more he breathes, the more he lives,
    He never forgets
    and he never forgives…'”
    Res ipsa loquitor -the thing speaks for itself. The difference between this form of the expression and the form in the poster’s tag line is the difference between what’s beautiful and what’s pedestrian. The rhythm of those lines you quoted just proves that they should be the lines on the one-sheet. Not “never forget – never forgive”.

  64. Cadavra says:

    Yeah, but it can’t hold a candle to “Never give up. Never surrender.”

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