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Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 film directed by Tim Burton. It is a remake of the 1936 horror film of the same name, as well as an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning 1979 musical thriller. It re-tells the Victorian melodramatic tale of Sweeney Todd, an English barber who murders his customers with a straight razor and, with the help of his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, turns their remains into meat pies.

Having been struck by the cinematic qualities of Sondheim’s musical while still a student, Burton had entertained the notion of a film version since the early 1980s. However, it was not until 2006 that he had the opportunity to realize this ambition, when DreamWorks announced his appointment as replacement for director Sam Mendes, who had been working on such an adaptation. Sondheim, although not directly involved, was extensively consulted during the film’s production. It stars Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. Depp, not known for his singing, took lessons in preparation for his role, which producer Richard D. Zanuck acknowledged was something of a gamble. However, Depp’s vocal performance, despite being criticized as lacking certain musical qualities, was generally thought by critics to suit the part (see Music section below).

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