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–
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.
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.”