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Johnny Depp to
play Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp to
play Sweeney Todd

Actor Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton, known for their collaborative efforts in such films as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will team again to make Sweeney Todd, based on Stephen Sondheim's award-winning stage musical, the DreamWorks movie studio said on Thursday.

Depp often brings an eccentric edge to his roles, like the swishy pirate Jack Sparrow in the current hit Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and director Burton has created some of the movies' strangest characters, like the shrub-pruning monster in Edward Scissorhands, also played by Depp.

In Sweeney Todd, to be released in late 2007, Depp will play the murderous barber of the same name who seeks his own brand of razor-slashing revenge against a judge who wrongfully imprisoned him.

Depp and Burton have teamed up in other quirky films as well, including 1994's acclaimed Ed Wood, about a B-movie director, and 1999's Sleepy Hollow, which tells the American folk tale of Ichabod Crane's encounter with a headless horseman.

The legend of serial killer Sweeney Todd is rooted in U.K. lore and has given rise to numerous earlier plays and films, including a 1936 film titled Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and a 1998 TV movie, The Tale of Sweeney Todd, starring Ben Kingsley.

The new movie, which will be coproduced by DreamWorks and Warner Bros., will be adapted from the modern musical thriller Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with songs originally composed by Sondheim. That version became a Broadway hit in 1979 and won eight Tony awards.

A musical revival was launched in England in 2004 and hit Broadway last year. Both its stars, Michael Cerveris and Patti Lupone, earned 2006 Tony award nominations, and the play won Tonys for best direction of a musical and best orchestrations. (Reuters)

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