Friday, October 13, 2006

Cyndi Lauper to Star in Sweeney Todd?

Breaking Exciting News: Cyndi Lauper let slip on her blog that she recently auditioned for Tim Burton. In her own words
I went in to audition for Tim Burton for a movie which was exciting..,
This bomb is dropped inconspicuously in the middle of run-on paragraphs about performing "Mack the Knife" from Threepenny Opera in her tour, working with a Canadian Idol, and her new hotel room. It's just thrown in there -- detail free.

This can only mean Sweeney Todd! The Tim Burton adaptation will star Johnny Depp as "the demon barber of Fleet Street" and is scheduled to start filming soon. Jim Broadbent has been widely reported as tapped to play the role of Sweeney's nemesis, Judge Turpin. As of this writing, to my knowledge no female cast members have been announced. For those unfamiliar with the mindblowing brilliance of Stephen Sondheim's musical classic, there are three female roles.
  • Mrs. Lovett, the gleefully amoral owner of a horrid pie shop in London, Sweeney's willing accomplice and would be lover. It's the female lead. Angela Lansbury was the original Mrs. Lovett and her darkly comic performance is legendary. In the recent production on Broadway, Patti Lupone worked her magic in the classic role and won a Tony nomination.
  • Johanna, Sweeney's sweet and swooning teenage daughter.
  • Beggar Woman, a mysterious homeless woman who wanders in and out of the narrative and knows a great deal about the other characters.

Given Lauper's low profile as an actor, I assume this means she is in consideration for the Beggar Woman role but I really and truly hope we're talking Mrs. Lovett. This role requires a performer with a funny bone. Check. The role requires an amazing vocal gift. Check. The role requires star charisma. Check. It would be truly inspired and unexpected casting.

It's all well and good to have a huge talented star like Johnny Depp as the title character but it is actually Mrs. Lovett who is most crucial to any successful incarnation of this musical. She has a huge number of songs, she's a catalyst for much of the action, and she's also the comic relief. Before hearing of this tantalizing popstar possibility, I was hoping they'd go with one of two very legit actresses that have the right combo of dramatic range, comedic appeal, and powerhouse vocals: Imelda Staunton who is most famous for Vera Drake but happens to be an acclaimed musical theater star and Meryl Streep who we know can do anything, including sing her ass off.

What about you readers, who is your dream cast for Sweeney?



For lots more info on the musical, check out its Wikipedia page

* Thanks to my bosom buddy in Michigan, KristofferRobin (who you can spot occassionally in the comments on this blog) for making me aware of this.

Tags: movies, theater, Stephen Sondheim, cinema, Cyndi Lauper, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Tim Burton, film, Broadway, musicals, celebrities

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still say Michelle Pfeiffer would be a kick ass Mrs. Lovett, but that aint gonna happen.

Streep would be marvelous.

adam k. said...

Staunton and Streep would both make me very happy. Lauper would be very interesting as well.

But really, I've given up much hope on this film's being good, cause I just don't see the Burton/Depp vibe working for it. Oh well.

Ehil Bent said...

I wouldn't mind if Tim Burton and Johnny Depp stopped working together. Or if Tim Burton just stopped working period.

Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory make me... want... to vomit.

Anonymous said...

I'd be pleased if they went with Staunton, but why can't they just pick up the phone and call LuPone? If they're going with an untested box office name, why not just go with someone who can really do it?

[Did someone mention "Phantom of the Opera" back there? Shhh! Quiet in the back!]

Rob

Anonymous said...

Eww, I don't like Patti LuPone. They're not using her cuz I told them not to.
Not really obviously, but seriously, I'm glad if they don't use her...

vince said...

Staunton would be inspired, because she did, afterall, deliver the best actress performance of the last TEN years. But, it's also about bankability, so it's not in the cards.

Streep has already stepped into Lansbury's shoes once, with admirable results. Who is to say she couldn't do it again?

Lauper ... this is a test to my open-mindedness. And since I'm not a theatre or cinema musical connoisseur, all I can say is why not?

Anonymous said...

Re: the using of stars in this movie - I heard that they were having open casting calls for Johanna...I don't know for certain if that's true, but maybe they're not necessarily depending on having big stars in this movie. Maybe they figure that the Johnny Depp + Tim Burton combination in itself is enough of a draw that they don't need to worry about the bankability of the other actors...?

brad said...

Streep apparently was offered the role but it conflicts with another project she is already committed to.

Lauper read for Lovett.

J.J. said...

Emma Thompson as Lovett. There is no other option.

Broadbent is a perfect Turpin, but Sweeney should've been Russell Crowe, or Brendan Gleeson or Ray Winstone (or George Hearn, for chrissakes). I have lost faith in the Depp-Burton team. If Burton brings in Danny Elfman to goopify the score, I will never stop throwing a tantrum.

adam k. said...

Ooh, Emma Thompson would be cool.

Anonymous said...

I heard Sasha "Borat" Cohen is up for the competing barber role...

Arkaan said...

First of, get rid of Tim Burton. I think someone like Neil Jordan could do justic to the story (check out The Butcher Boy if you haven't already). He knows comic darkness. I'm not entirely confident he can stage a musical scene, but I'd rather him tackle this story.

I would love Meryl Streep to try Mrs. Lovett, but I almost want to save her for another Sondheim adaptadion (Streep as Phyllis in Follies), and I think Staunton could do a fantastic job.

For the titular barber, I don't know. Someone from the British stage, maybe (Douglas Hodge? Paul Hegarty, who originated the role in the revival). Even Jackman would be a better choice then Depp.

Anonymous said...

Sweeney Todd - Johnny Depp (I'm not happy about it but it is what it is what it is).

Mrs. Lovett - Cyndi Lauper

Tobias - Elijah Wood

Johanna - Kate Winslet (she can sing, is "Green Finch" a stretch for our Kate?)

Judge Turpin - Ed Broadbent

Beadle Bamford - Paul Giamatti

Beggar Woman - Miranda Richardson

Pirelli - Paul Reubens

Fogg - Jeffrey Jones

Anonymous said...

I heard Annette Bening is up for Mrs. Lovett as well.

brad said...

GREEN FINCH is cut from the script - and Winslet is a little too old to play the role (15) in the script. She'd be fascinating as the Beggar Woman though, which I kind of assume will go to Helena Bonham Carter.

NATHANIEL R said...

brad -- please shoot me an email at filmexperience (at) gmail (dot) com

thanks, Nathaniel

Kris said...

Nat: Toni Collette is on the cusp of signing on as Mrs. Lovett, FYI.

adam k. said...

Shit, I didn't even think about Toni Collette. Is she old enough? Whatever, she'd be f***ing amazing. Maybe this would make people think about finally greenlighting a Liza biopic, too.

brad said...

Nah, I think Toni will lose out on the role at the 11th hour -- poor thing - always a bridesmaid - she should do MAMMA MIA.

NATHANIEL R said...

OK. god, i'd like to change my wish to Toni Collette! pleaseandthanks

Anonymous said...

Brad, Michelle Pfeiffer is the front runner for the lead in MAMMA MIA!

Anonymous said...

I would say Bette Midler would be ideal, but then Depp would be too young for her... But I'd take Midler over Depp.

adam k. said...

Ooh, Midler would be awesome. But yeah, too old for Depp. The other nice thing about Collette is that she's not too old for Depp. I actually forget how young she still is. So if they must go with Depp, I am with Toni all the way.

NATHANIEL R said...

Well Toni is still a little young to play Mrs. Lovett but movie casting often goes younger and I love me some Toni and have been dying for her to get a good role in a musical so crossing my fingers.

RC said...

this is going to be a crazy film

adam k. said...

Yeah, Toni is young, but I think Depp would have better chemistry with her than with some 50-year-old woman. I think the pairing of those two would be awesome. Might even make me accept Depp in the role.

Plus, age aside, Toni's actually kind of perfect for it.

NATHANIEL R said...

Depp is 43 years old. A 50 year old costar shouldn't be trouble for chemistry, particularly how deranged Todd & Lovett are as a pair anyway...

Anonymous said...

Depp is 43 but he doesn't particularly seem 43.

RedSatinDoll said...

Thanks btw for the link to Ms. Lauper's blogsite - I've not thought of myself as a fan of hers but she's a wonderfully witty storyteller. The getting kicked out of Catholic school blog was a great read.

Ok, now back to the question at hand: Lauper as Mrs Lovett? Heck yeah, I think she could handle it.

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd - ???? Isn't he a little young-ish for the role? I mean, he's not exactly a spring chicken anymore (and looking everyone one of his years -whatever those are, I couldn't care less)but isn't Todd's daughter in her late teens? I would just have expected someone with more *ahem* life experience in the role.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Dave Poland said the Toni rumours have fallen through.

Foxy said...

I've never been here before, i like it :) hope i'm welcome

i love all of these larger than life characters. However, i have reason to believe that the role may be going to a certain director's partner.. yeah you guessed it. Helena Bonham Carter. does anyone else wonder whether this is a good move? look at http://www.cinematical.com/category/johnny-depp/

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