Johnny Depp's demon barber faces a brutal slashing

by Eric Melin on August 27, 2007

in Blogs

Johnny’s demon barber faces a brutal slashing

Looks like Warner Brothers is getting nervous about the gore in their version of “Sweeney Todd.” What exactly did they expect from a story about a barber that cuts throats? “Sleepy Hollow” is one of my favorite Tim Burton movies and it had fantastic R-rated gore! Sure, it was campy– as “Sweeney Todd” will be, no doubt–but that was one of the reasons it worked so well. Burton rarely gets to cut loose (no pun intended) beyond PG-13, so if this is true, it will be a damn shame.

from The Sunday Mail–

by Baz Bamigboye 26th August 2007

Award-winning director Tim Burton has been told to butcher his own film, in which Johnny Depp plays the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd.

Studio executives became a tad squeamish when they viewed grisly footage of blood splashing across the set as Depp slits the throats of his customers in the movie, based on Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical.

In its present form the film would merit an 18 rating, but Warner Brothers would prefer it to have a 15.johnny depp sweeney todd

During filming at Pinewood studios, prosthetic lookalike limbs were used (obviously the real thing would have been taking realism too far!) and they were so gruesomely lifelike that some of the crew became nauseous and had to take fresh air breaks.

Those on set were further spooked because there were piles and piles of sliced-up ‘corpses’, plus several spare ‘necks’ in case Burton wanted to shoot several takes of the same throat-cutting scene.

Four crew, stationed out of camera range, would pump up blood as Johnny/Todd slashed away, singing as he worked.

In the movie, Todd’s victims are sat in a mechanical chair, their throats are cut and as Johnny flicks a switch, the floor opens and they slide down a chute into the lair of Todd’s mistress, Mrs Lovett (the pie maker) played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Mrs Lovett uses Todd’s ‘gifts’ to fill her meat pies!

One scene that particularly bothered the studio bosses was when they saw a ten-year-old boy cutting up body parts, which were then thrown into a meat grinder and turned into mince.

“Tim’s not happy that the studio is asking for so many cuts to the cutting, as it were,” someone connected to the film told me.

“The thing is, the studio really likes the film and they want to make it accessible to as big an audience as possible – which means stemming the blood flow. But that’s a bit difficult for a story involving a guy who gets high slitting throats.”

The movie also features Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Laura Michelle Kelly and Peter Bowles.

It opens in the U.S. in December, which led Burton to quip recently: “Red is the colour at Christmas.”

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cleavy August 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm

This is such sad news. I would think that precedents like Sleepy Hollow (~$100,000,000 box office)and the recent Pan’s Labyrinth (six Oscar nominations, three wins) would give studios the courage to release a film like this with an R rating. It’s unfortunate that studios are so concerned with the numbers of bodies in theaters, that an auteur like Burton could potentially be forced to butcher his work.

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2 Cleavy August 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm

This is such sad news. I would think that precedents like Sleepy Hollow (~$100,000,000 box office)and the recent Pan’s Labyrinth (six Oscar nominations, three wins) would give studios the courage to release a film like this with an R rating. It’s unfortunate that studios are so concerned with the numbers of bodies in theaters, that an auteur like Burton could potentially be forced to butcher his work.

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3 awas1980 August 29, 2007 at 11:19 am

If Burton is made to cut his film, the studio will be able to release an UNRATED version on DVD and then the ULTIMATE DIRECTOR’S CUT and then the definitive ULTIMATE UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT which they’ll dub the MEAT PIE EDITION. I hate studios.

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4 awas1980 August 29, 2007 at 11:19 am

If Burton is made to cut his film, the studio will be able to release an UNRATED version on DVD and then the ULTIMATE DIRECTOR’S CUT and then the definitive ULTIMATE UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT which they’ll dub the MEAT PIE EDITION. I hate studios.

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5 ChrisKnudsen August 31, 2007 at 2:46 am

Need not to worry fellow Americans, this is for the Europe release. Its still going to be R here.

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6 ChrisKnudsen August 31, 2007 at 2:46 am

Need not to worry fellow Americans, this is for the Europe release. Its still going to be R here.

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7 Teresa Nielsen Hayden October 18, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Oh, good. A wholesome Sweeney Todd doesn’t bear thinking about.

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8 Teresa Nielsen Hayden October 18, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Oh, good. A wholesome Sweeney Todd doesn’t bear thinking about.

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9 Kelly December 10, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Johnny Depp is the best and hottest actor alive and not matter what he pplayed whether it be a crazed barber, Willy Wonka etc. I will always love him and if youor a faithful follower you will to

I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!!! I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!! I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!!!!

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10 Kelly December 10, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Johnny Depp is the best and hottest actor alive and not matter what he pplayed whether it be a crazed barber, Willy Wonka etc. I will always love him and if youor a faithful follower you will to

I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!!! I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!! I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP!!!!!

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11 Izzy December 15, 2007 at 11:53 am

Damn. I live in the UK and I would like it to make a 15 instead of an 18. I turn 17 just before it comes out, one year doesn’t make that much of a difference, so if I have to walk in and watch it underaged.. illegally.. then I will. I have been looking forward to this for too long, and I refuse to get a pirate copy!!!!

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12 Izzy December 15, 2007 at 11:53 am

Damn. I live in the UK and I would like it to make a 15 instead of an 18. I turn 17 just before it comes out, one year doesn’t make that much of a difference, so if I have to walk in and watch it underaged.. illegally.. then I will. I have been looking forward to this for too long, and I refuse to get a pirate copy!!!!

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13 Lacee Shcafer December 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Johnny Depp is sure to pull off anything. Him and Tim Burton together will pull off one of the best movies of this year. I am excited to see it in theaters and promise each and everyone of you that I will be the first in line at the movie theater.

Johnny Depp all the way!

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14 Lacee Shcafer December 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Johnny Depp is sure to pull off anything. Him and Tim Burton together will pull off one of the best movies of this year. I am excited to see it in theaters and promise each and everyone of you that I will be the first in line at the movie theater.

Johnny Depp all the way!

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15 angela December 30, 2007 at 10:59 am

I thought the movie was AMAZING not only did it show that JOHNNY DEPP could act but also sing. I liked the plot it was twisted but not a fake happy ending the critics need to grow up and think about not only the blood but what else is going on the boy had no idea what the meat was until he found a toe in his meat pie he then ran away so honestly it was a great movie and I would watch it time and time again.

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16 angela December 30, 2007 at 10:59 am

I thought the movie was AMAZING not only did it show that JOHNNY DEPP could act but also sing. I liked the plot it was twisted but not a fake happy ending the critics need to grow up and think about not only the blood but what else is going on the boy had no idea what the meat was until he found a toe in his meat pie he then ran away so honestly it was a great movie and I would watch it time and time again.

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17 Jen January 29, 2008 at 7:59 am

I’ve watched it at the cinema and its not at all gory, its very easy to see its fake blood. I don’t know what the fuss is about, its seen scarier 15 rated films.

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18 Jen January 29, 2008 at 7:59 am

I’ve watched it at the cinema and its not at all gory, its very easy to see its fake blood. I don’t know what the fuss is about, its seen scarier 15 rated films.

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19 Eric Melin January 29, 2008 at 9:36 am

Jen-

Yeah, although graphic, the slashing was also bright red (like the blood they used in 1970s films!) and very cartoonish. Not to mention the heads slamming on the floor were totally played for laughs.

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20 Eric Melin January 29, 2008 at 9:36 am

Jen-

Yeah, although graphic, the slashing was also bright red (like the blood they used in 1970s films!) and very cartoonish. Not to mention the heads slamming on the floor were totally played for laughs.

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21 TreZ February 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

Yup !
Johnny Depp had been great in most of his movies .Depp + Burton ? No wonder Sweeney won so many awards ..It is showing in my city tomorrow ,and I am really looking forward for it .
But is it more brutal than 300 ? I and my friends want to watch it , but some of them are dead-scared when one of our guy friends warned us that the movie is so bloody ,-scarier than 300 – that he nearly puked halfway .

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22 TreZ February 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

Yup !
Johnny Depp had been great in most of his movies .Depp + Burton ? No wonder Sweeney won so many awards ..It is showing in my city tomorrow ,and I am really looking forward for it .
But is it more brutal than 300 ? I and my friends want to watch it , but some of them are dead-scared when one of our guy friends warned us that the movie is so bloody ,-scarier than 300 – that he nearly puked halfway .

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23 demi February 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm

i’ve watched it 6 times and its sooo great i want to marry johnny depp i dont care if he is a loony but i want him to keep the hair

sexy or what i wanna marry sweeney todd or edward scissor hands i think ive got a thing with wierd hair and razors. lol .

I LOVE YOU JOHNNY DEPP (SEXY BOY)

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24 demi February 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm

i’ve watched it 6 times and its sooo great i want to marry johnny depp i dont care if he is a loony but i want him to keep the hair

sexy or what i wanna marry sweeney todd or edward scissor hands i think ive got a thing with wierd hair and razors. lol .

I LOVE YOU JOHNNY DEPP (SEXY BOY)

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25 blaire195 February 15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

im sorry, but i have a thing with sweeney’s weird hair, i love it, and the razors…wow they go good together and i love edward scissor hands to, they are kind of the same, but edward is shy and sweeney is a mad man. but i think when sweeney gets mad, its sooo HOT!! the pale face, the razors and the sexy hair are what makes sweeney, if he were any other guy, he would be weird and no one would like him but johnny…..and can you see how mrs.lovet is soooo crushing on sweeny??? :P

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26 blaire195 February 15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

im sorry, but i have a thing with sweeney’s weird hair, i love it, and the razors…wow they go good together and i love edward scissor hands to, they are kind of the same, but edward is shy and sweeney is a mad man. but i think when sweeney gets mad, its sooo HOT!! the pale face, the razors and the sexy hair are what makes sweeney, if he were any other guy, he would be weird and no one would like him but johnny…..and can you see how mrs.lovet is soooo crushing on sweeny??? :P

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27 Natalie March 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm

its a great film stop complaining about it !

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28 Natalie March 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm

its a great film stop complaining about it !

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