Sweeney Todd

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Tim invited Richard to see the whole first edit assembly, setting a whole host of ideas spinning from this rich period of Victorian visual history. Lots of ideas were thrown around to see what stuck... blood was initially the main theme, coming into most concepts.

Then the core idea came to Richard from focusing on the stare in Johnny Depp’s eyes as seen in the first frame of picture, standing on a ship’s prow, returning to London. He realised Depp is probably planning revenge. So the idea came to mind that a surreal dream could be playing in Depp’s head as he arrives home, centred on the trails of blood from his victims. Which could then become a visual narrative driving the opening sequence exploring his thoughts.

The sequence was imagined with storyboard sketches starting from the London skyline raining blood, travelling through his forthcoming location, the barbershop and chair etc. down into the cellar and drains, finally flowing into the Thames. Tilt up to through the fog as the ship emerges.

Then practical production: For the blood, we did live shoots with real liquid and manipulated CGI blood, taking the best of each. The channel drainage system is real and so are the rats, which by the way love chocolate when on set. Photo montage and single frame drawn animation is also in the sequence. Put this together with a big score and sound design and the results speak for themselves.

One of our many proud film collaborations with Tim Burton and editor Christopher Lebenzon. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - tells the infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a. Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), who sets up a barber shop in old London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter). Since its release in 2007, the film has clocked-up a massive 30 award wins with a further 45 award nominations.

Directed by
Tim Burton

Production Co.
Warner Bros.

Release Date
Dec 21, 2007 (USA)

30 Wins
46 Nominations