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15 January 2008 @ 11:17 am
London Press Conference Transcript  
Thanks to Longtime DeppFan at the DeppImpact forums, we have a transcript of the London press conference for Sweeney Todd to join the images posted several entries down.

& the videos of the conference have emerged online to youtube. There is three, but here is the first:


Moderator: Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Timothy Spall and Richard Zanuck.


Moderator: I will ask one question and then it's over to you as I'm sure you have plenty of questions. Tim I think it's like twenty-eight years since you first saw the show here in London on a wet day like this -

Tim Burton: Yeah.

Moderator: When you saw it then, did you think you'd ever make a movie and was it something you thought would make a great movie when you watched it?

Tim Burton: Well, no, I was still a student, I didn't know if I would do this, I didn't know if I would be making movies or working in a restaurant or, I had no idea what I'd be doing, and I, but I didn't know musicals, I didn't go to the theatre much and I didn't -

(Timothy Spall's mobile phone rings)


Tim Burton: Go ahead.

Timothy Spall: It's only my agent.

Tim Burton: Inaudible.

Timothy Spall: Mr voiceover.

Tim Burton: Inaubile.. what was I saying?

Johnny Depp: Inaudible.

Helena Bonham Carter: Inaudible.

Tim Burton: I didn't know anything about the show. I just wandered into the theatre and it just blew me away because I had never really seen anything that had the mixture of the all those elements, and I actually went three nights in a row because I loved it so much.

Moderator: OK, first question to the guy in the front row and then the guy in the second row.

Male journalist: Johnny, you once said that with any part you play there has be something of yourself in it, there absolutely has to be otherwise it's not acting it's lying. What tiny part of Johnny Depp did you bring to this murderous, thieving, unpleasent, vengeful villain, and do Tim and Alan also concur with Johnny's remarks that you've got to bring a little bit of something however villainous or unpleasent the role.

Johnny Depp: I do believe you have to bring somekind of, I mean, some degree of truth from yourself within and I admit it here, I have shaven a grown man before.


Johnny Depp: I have done it... and it wasn't Tim.

Journalist: Inaudible.

Johnny Depp: Inaudible.

Moderator: OK, guy in the second row.

Male Journalist: This a question for both Tim and Johnny. I'd like to know after all these years of working together do you still get surprised by each other on set (inaudible)?

Tim Burton: Of course we, I mean we, you know, obviously seeing Johnny sing, I have never seen that in the many years we've worked together. So yeah. It's always something new and it's actually longer than that because was it a journalist told us in America that we'd been working together for ten decades -


Tim Burton: So we're alot older than we look. We have actually known each other before the invention of cinema so it's quite, we have quite a long good relationship.

Johnny Depp: The weird thing is I believed her.

Tim Burton: She said it twice.

Timothy Spall: I remember you're early radio plays.


Moderator: Guy at the back.

Male Journalist: Helena, I wanted to ask you what was it about you're character that wanted you to play her and was it hard to get the role with the fact that Tim was directing, did that make it easier or was it much harder?

Helena Bonham Carter: I would safely say it made it much harder, and well, Tim, yeah, he told me you look right for it, you're, you know, potentially you're very right for it but we've no idea if can sing, so I said I'll go and try and learn and he thought it would be a good idea for me to have singing lessons. But apart from, you know, I had to be righter than right because I wouldn't want to... and for my sake I wouldn't wanna, you know, I didn't want to feel | got it because I slept with him. So... but a the end of the day Stephen Sondheim, he had the final say and I definately didin't sleep with him, so.

Tim Burton: That's not what he said.


Helena Bonham Carter: He wasn't mean to say.

Johnny Depp: I haven't slept with anyone.

Helena Bonham Carter: Ever.

Johnny Depp: Haven't. Not once.

Journalist: Pardon

Johnny Depp: I've shaved a few.

Male Journalist: This is Marcus from Germany with a question for Johnny. In my opinion this is the first time that you play a really tough guy here under the direction of Tim Burton -

Johnny Depp: You didn't think Ed Wood was very tough?


Male journalist: Yeah, but these were more underground types, how does it come that you often play these underground types?

Johnny Depp: I suppose it's just luck of the draw really. Yeah, I don't know...I just have.. I feel very lucky to have done that. To have had the opportunity to play all these different characters, you know, whether they're androgynous or incredibly macho like Ed Wood or Edward Scissorhands.


Moderator: Guy in the front.

Tim Burton: He's going to be doing the Village People's story next.


Johnny Depp: It's a ballet. With an edge.

Tim Burton: And he's going to play each and every one. The indian, the cowboy -

Johnny Depp: The cop.

Tim Burton: The whole group.

Male Journalist: I'd just like to say I'd pay good money to see that ballet movie and look forward to it going into production. It's a question for Mr Burton, first of all congratuations on what I think is you're best film to date -

Tim Burton: Thank you

Male Journalist: I wondered whether, you, Miss Bonham Carter and Mr Depp had intended on being in Los Angeles this weekend for the event that is now not going to happen quite as advertised, and what you think about how recent events in your industry have done to impinge upon awards like the Golden Globes, and dare I say the Oscars, which I think you're film will be featured in whether they take place as normal or not. Mr Burton.

Tim Burton: Oh me. Do I have to answer that one? I don't know,.you know, I haven't spent much time there so it's different hearing about it from over here, and so I'm not really in tune as to what's happening. The only thing I can say is, I think the only unfortunate thing is, is, I mean awards shouldn't have an impact on a film in terms of people seeing it, although I guess in some cases films that have, are different or, you know, fall into strange catagories like this one, you know, that I guess probably helps awareness of, of, films. So that I guess is the sad part about it, is that, you know, maybe films that may be are different won't reach as many people. But other than that I don't really know what to say.

Journalist: Were you planning to go the Globes this weekend?

Tim Burton: Errr -

Helena Bonham Carter: Yeah

Tim Burton: Yeah

Helena Bonham Carter: Weren't we?

Tim Burton: I guess so, yeah, I just, they just point us in a direction and throw us on a plane and then we get off and they tell us where we are.


Moderator: Question there.

Journalist: Question for Mr Burton. Could you tell us something about the creation of the blood because the young cast told us that it was orange in the beginning, and maybe a question for Johnny Depp, could you tell something about the interpretation of the story, is it about redemption, is it about corruption of the soul?

Tim Burton: Well the blood is, everybody here can attested to, especially Alan (Inaudible). It's our own special recipe, very sticky, very sweet and burns your eyes and -

Alan Rickman: (Inaudible)

Tim Burton: And it would take a couple of weeks to get it out of your underwear, I don't know, you know, but it's our own secret recipe.

Moderator: What was the second half the question?

Johnny Depp: It was the story about redemption.

Moderator: (Inaudible).

Johnny Depp: Yeah, I mean, you know, I think that as Tim said the other day, we were talking about the idea of revenge as one of those things that most people don't want to admit to, I think that we all have it secretly sitting in there. I'm a big fan of revenge. I think it is a story of a man who, I think, clearly his obsession is to avenge the horror that happened to him so..yeah.

Male Journalist: (Inaudible).

Johnny Depp: He's kind of the cleansed at the end.

Tim Burton: We always sort of saw him as a sad character not as a villain or anything, but he's, you know, a tragic, you know, he's basically when you meet him he's a dead person really and, you know, the only thing that's keeping him going is one single minded thing which is, you know, tragic, you don't see anything else around him.

Moderator: OK, so question there.

Male Journalist: Question for Tim Burton. You always seem to chose sort of to tell weird, disturbing black, black stories -

Johnny Depp: Yeah.

Male Journalist: Is this a choice, I mean, avoid doing something about everyday life, is this a point of view about the cinema?

Tim Burton: Well I thought this was a light hearted comedy muscial. I mean muscials are -

Male Journalist: It is a musical.

Johnny Depp (Inaudible).

Tim Burton: I guess I'm the wrong person to ask because I thought it was quite funny.


Male Journalist: But how did you manage to create, what did you draw from, what were your references?

Tim burton: Just alot of internal anger.


Tim Burton: As I said to Johnny if I was an actor this would be the perfect job, because you don't have to talk, you don't say anthing, you just have to look out the window and brood and be angry. I was like wow, that's a great job.

Helena Bonham Carter: It's actually a portrait of our home life.


Tim Burton: Probably true.

Male Journalist: Mr Rickman you do play them brilliantly is it fair to assume that you love playing cads and also how did you prepare for your singing part?

Alan Rickman: I paid a singing teacher. A lot of money actually, £80 an hour but it was worth every second. I don't judge characters, the worst thing you can do is say that they're this, that, or the other, you just step into their shoes and walk in their world and don't judge them. I think he's a sweetheart.

Helena Bonham Carter: Yeah he is.


Alan Rickman: No I don't chop anybody up and eat them.

Helena Bonham Carter: Oh your're gonna start are we.


Moderator: OK the lady in the red.

Female Journalist: Hi, question for the Johnny. This is the first muscial you've been in, can you see yourself doing it again and how did you find it?

Helena Bonham Carter: Inaudible.

Johnny Depp: We're working on the sequel now. Well actually I did do a musical many years ago with Johnny Waters, this thing called Cry Baby, but technically it was only half me, it wasn't me singing. Tim is the only person brave enough to actually let me try to sing and, you know, it was the first time that I'd ever sung. I mean I'd never even sung in the shower, too mortified. Once I'd got over the initial fear it was kind of enjoyable. Sondheim's melodies and lyrics were a real pleasure to sort of tromp around in, there's some really beautiful stuff. I enjoyed it, would I ever do it again? No I doubt it, it's just -

Tim Burton: Let's face it we are about the embark on a production of Cats.


Helena Bonham Carter: Can I be in it?

Johnny Depp: Meow.

Tim Burton: Meow.


Moderator: You heard it here first. The lady with the glasses in the top.

Female Journlist: Hiya. Tim and Johnny, you are surrounded by three of the best characters in Harry Potter, do you either of you have any plans to see if you can make it into the last film, maybe using your contacts and if not are there any collaborations that you might do in the future?

Tim Burton: Well, all I can say is this is one of the best casts I've ever worked with and I mean all of these people are not, maybe you'll beg to differ, are not professional singers and to do a musical like this, which I think is one of the most differcult musicals and they all went for it, so. Every day on the set was a very, very special thing for me because hearing all of these guys sing was just, you know, I don't know if I can ever have an experience like that again, so I take this opportunity to thank you all.

Journalist: Can I just ask d**k a question because you when you were at Fox you greenlit The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, what other musicals.. Dr DoLittle -

Tim Burton: Dr DoLittle.

Journalist: Yes.

Tim Burton: Sorry Richard to bring that up.

Journalist: So you actually have -

Tim Burton: That pink snail was amazing.


Journalist: How do you think this compares to the classics of yesteryear?

Richard Zanuck: Well there's no comparison, The Sound of Music was amoung the first pictures I put into production and it was a giant hit as everyone knows, I tried to follow that magic with three flops, Hello Dolly, Star and Dr DoLittle, which did little -


Richard Zanuck - And I vowed never to go near a musical again until Tim said he would do Sweeney Todd and I thought he was the only person having seen the show on Broadway years and years before, I thought oh it's a wonderful piece, won't make a picture, but when I heard that Tim was passionately involved in it and wanted to do it, that was enough for me. He was the only person I think I would have wanted to do this picture.

Tim burton: But what if I had said I wanted Rex Harrison instead of Johnny?


Richard Zanuck: I not going to answer that.


Moderator: Question in the front row.

Male Journalist: Question for Tim and then a quick question for Johnny. Bollywood films have often used music and song to help move the plot on and to help people find a connection with the characters, what role do you think the music played in Sweeney? As a stand alone story it could be strong enough without the music.

Tim Burton: Well, no, I mean, one of the things that I loved about the musical was that you listen to the soundtrack and it tells you the story and, you know, we didn't want to be kind of what I'd say is a traditional musical where there's alot of dialogue and singing. It felt like a silent movie with music, and so, you know, the music, we cut out alot chorus' and things and, you know, extras singing and dancing down the street, because each of the characters, you know, because alot of them are repressed or have their emotions through inside, through the music was the way to let them express their feelings and that was the sort structure we used for it. And I guess when I first saw the show imaginery, which was quite dark and harsh set with the music which is quite lush and beautiful it was something I'd never seen before and was the reason I wanted to do it.

Male Journalist: Johnny, what was the background for the accent? Where did you get the accent from, you often base it on certain people, where did the accent come from this time?

Johnny Depp: Just from spending time over here basically, there wasn't any one particular person that I based it on.

[Inaudible question and answer]

Tim Burton: My favourite line in the movie is when he [Depp] just says What?

Johnny Depp: 75 takes

Male Journalist: Question for Timothy Spall. You're the only one on the panel up there that we don't see garroted, I wonder if you were actually upset about that during some rehearsals and are you worried about the reputation you're gonna get in America because you've had a few films now, Enchanted, and now this where you're playing quite weaselly characters really.

Timothy Spall: Well, I don't, I mean, I don't worry particularly about it, I don't like to be typecast, but I mean the thing about not being actually with blood, I mean there's a nice shot of me shooting down and my head smashing. (inaudible) sexually pervert who thinks he's rather lovely looking. Whether it make me typecast or not, or whether it come from the soul, I don't really mind , it was an opportunity I couldn't really admit.


Timothy Spall. Typecasting.

Moderator: Guy right at the back please.

Journalist: Hi there, Nathaniel from ITN. Question for the Americans amoungst you, can I just ask you you're views on the writers’ strike and how it's affecting you.

Tim Burton: Where are the Americans on this?

Alan Rickman: Because it's not affecting the English at all.


Alan Rickman: Not to mention the actors' strike coming up.

Journalist: Can I ask Tim and Johnny -

Tim burton: I'm sorry what was it again?

Journalist: Your views on the writers' strike in America.

Johnny Depp: What are you gonna do? Everybody's gotten, they want what they want and are obviously willing to hang around for it for a bit. It's thrown the entire industry into..it's affecting award shows and stuff like that, but, you know, there's alot of individuals in the industry who depend on work to survive. So, you know, it has a huge impact.

Tim Burton: It's complicated too, because things are changing and, you know, and while the strikes going on, people aren't writing and things aren't being done, people just go and then watch YouTube so in some ways it's like you wonder if something shouldn't be worked out quickly because the thing everyone is worried about is going to happen anyway and..so, I don't know, I just find it very complicated and I really don't know what to make of it all.

Female journalist: A couple of questions for Johnny. One, seeing as you're a big fan of revenge I just wondered whether you could give us any examples of revenge that you've taken and also -

Johnny Depp: I'm afraid I can't implicate myself.

Journalist: And Sweeney seem to be a bit of gunslinger with the razor sort of around in a holster, around the hips, did you see him as that and did you have fun sort of playing with the razors to familarize yourself with them?

Johnny Depp: As far as the holster it seemed the safest area to put the razors. Did I have fun playing with the razors?

Journalist: Inaudible.

Johnny Depp: You know, honestly the killing of everyone, that was the easy part but the most difficult bit was lathering them up and shaving them. That's the part that freaked me out the most. Alan's a fantastic actor -

Spall: I asked him to give me a Brazilian but he wouldn't.


Johnny Depp: And I did, you know I did.

Spall: Inaudible.

Moderator: OK the lady there, followed by the gentleman behind you.

Female journalist: This for Helena, Helena how did you find lusting after Johnny in front of Tim and I was wondering if it was at all awkward for you to do?

Helena Bonham Carter: Weirdly not, maybe it should have been but, you know, I was pretending. No it was odd I was being paid by my boyfriend to fall in love with his best friend so it's a strange situation, but we handled it.

Tim burton: It's an incestuous business to be in.

Moderator: Ok the guy behind.

Male journalist: A question for Johnny Depp. Everybody's talking about your singing but I wanna know how difficult was the acting because you have recorded the songs before the situation. How difficult was it?

Johnny Depp: That's funny because initially early on Tim had talked about Sweeney and, you know, the idea of doing it, fifty percent of the job would be done before you ever stepped on the set, you know, recording loads of stuff and then you would go in and lip-sync to what we thought of. Oddly these guys know as well as I do, you go into a recording studio,.you sing your guts out record the stuff,do it as best you can and then you get on the set We thought we were gunna lip-sync but in fact the only way to do it is to belt it once again on the set. It was extremely mortifying, you know, everyone is very, very close to you. You just feel like an idiot.

tIM bURTOM: Very painful for the crew.

Johnny Depp: Yeah.

Helena Bonham Carter: They all had ear plugs.

Tim Burton: No because you can't just lip-sync, you see the throat, you see the breath, I mean they all had to, you know, every take kind of belt it out.

Johnny Depp: It was oddly liberating just to, you know, the music, having music on the set the whole day... it was interesting. Like Tim said it felt like you were doing a silent film in a way.

Tim burton: It was very enjoyable for me to see, you know, music on the set and everybody just moved different. I see them act in a way you've never see before. The way just walking across a room or sitting in a chair or picking a razor, making baking a pie, whatever, they all did it in a way that was just, you could just sense that was different than if there hadn't been music.

Mark Salisbury: OK lady in the front row followed by the chap at the back.

Female Journalist: This for Mr Depp. I'm from Norway pardon my English.

Johnny Depp: No, no, pardon mine.


Journalist: You use Keith Richards as a role model and maybe Michael Jackson in Willy Wonka I think -

Johnny Depp: I've heard that before but no. I wish I'd thought of that.

Journalist: I got the answer, so I think you sound like David Bowie a bit when you sing.

Johnny Depp: Yeah, a couple of people said that last night which was interesting because I wasn't, I certainly wasn't ,I wouldn't ever dream of attempting to channel David Bowie because I think he's one of, he's a big hero of mine, so..no. I mean if there's a similarity it wasn't intentional certainly not...yeah..it's a nice compliment anyway.

Journalist: No Michael Jackson?

Johnny Depp: No Michael Jackson.

Journalist: In Willy Wonka?

Johnny Depp: Not yet but there's still time. He might get up to his old tricks again.


Johnny Depp: TV movie about him soon.

Moderator: The guy at the back in the hat.

Journalist: Question for Mr Burton. One of my favourite things that you have done is the Death of Oyster Boy book and I was wondering if you were gunna do anymore books like that, anymore drawings, have you ever thought of doing like a comic or anything?

Tim Burton: I still do little thing so, you know, I just have a little back log of stories and when a get enough of em I'd like to do another book like that because it's quite fun to do and so ,you know, between projects kinda working on it.

Moderator: The lady there.

Female Journalist: This is a question for Johnny. A number of years ago you were in the fast show, I wondered if there was any truth in the rumour that you wanted a role in Dr Who.

Johnny Depp: I didn't really persue anything with Dr Who, but the fast show was, you know, in my opinion one of the most brilliant things I ever seen in any way, television, theatre, whatever. It was a brilliant show so that I... when it was mentioned as a possibility I actively persued, you know, I went after Whitehouse. I stalked him. I was sitting outside in tree, outside his bedroom window with a funny mascot and that's how I got the job basically. I didn't do that for Dr Who, no.

Moderator: Guy over there.

Male journalist: Mr Burton off the top of my head I can't think of too many 18 or R rated musicals, unlikely I know but was there ever any possiblity that you might not have gone for that certificate and in reshaping it how involved was Sondheim in helping you shape it for the screen?

Tim Burton: Well, it was an amazing thing to, that a studio, you know ,you go we're gunna do an R rated muscial with lots of blood, with no professional singers about a serial killer, cannibalism and they go great! That was like that was unheard of, I never had that happened in my life before. So that gave me hope that there are still people in Hollywood that are willing to try different things, so that was a very postive thing . The first meeting I went into I said, you know, blood is a part of the story because I 'd seen productions where they'd tried to skimp on it, be more politically correct and the productions really lost something, so it was one of the first things I said to them and they accepted it. In terms of, you know, the show it's like three hours long, we weren't out to film the Broadway show, we were out to make a movie so we tried to keep the pace like those old melodramas and because it's such a simple story, you know, you kind of get what the story is, so we felt like the pace needed to be more what it is and Sondheim himself is not a real big fan of movie musicals, so he was really open to kinda you know trimming it down and honing to down to a more pacy shape.

Moderator: This will have to be the last question, I'm really sorry you've been really patient.

Female journalist: During your singing lessons did you also rehearse at home and in front of your partners like, come on darling how are you and -

Johnny Depp: Go ahead.

Helena Bonham Carter: Luckily we live in separate houses so... we have ajoined but the door was always shut.

Tim Burton: I had to sound proof the door as well.

Helena Bonham Carter: And once he started getting bricks to actually build a wall, but yeah, I tried not to, but I had to practice every day obviously. And then (inaudible).

Moderator : And what about the other singers here. Alan?

Alan Rickman: I don't think anybody would want to hear the early days work on that song at all. No.

Moderator: Well thank you very much Alan, Helena, Johnny, Tim, Tim and d**k. Thankyou.