Saturday, 12 January 2008

Sweeney round up

So Thursday night in London was Sweeney Todd's European Premiere and the third time I'd seen the film. It really does get better and better, and, as I've said here before, Depp's performance feels even more magnificent the more times you see it. He does so much by doing (seemingly) so little. I know that awards shouldn't be the definition of a great performance but it would, to my mind, be a crying shame if he didn't win the Oscar this year. Sure Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in There Will Be Blood is sensational and amazing and magnificent and all that, but so too is Depp's. Plus he sings. So there. I'm hoping too that Tim gets his first (and long overdue) Best Director nomination. But before that, let's see what Sunday's Golden Globes brings.


Anyway, back to the premiere. Burton and Depp had only flown in from Japan that day (with Tim arriving in London just a few hours before) where they'd attended the film's Japanese premiere but still worked the crowds outside the cinema, signing autographs, posing for photos, etc. They even stayed later than I did at the after party (and I didn't leave that early) which was held at the Royal Courts Of Justice in the Strand, just down the road from Fleet Street. They had set up a pie shop inside the venue but I neglected to partake because I was simply nibbled out. Tim, Johnny and Helena were there, as well as Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Ed Saunders from the Sweeney cast, together with legendary and lovely producer Richard Zanuck, DP Dariusz Wolski, editor Chris Lebenzon, long-time Burton collaborator Rick Heinrichs, and Corpse Bride producer Allison Abbate.


Friday was junket day and I had the task of hosting two press conferences in the morning, attended by around 120 press, the first with Laura Michelle, Jamie, Jayne and Ed, the second with Tim, Johnny, Helena, Alan, Timothy and Richard Zanuck. Both went well and were full of laughter. So many questions went unasked at the second one (I'm sorry to all those who patiently had their hands raised, but whom I couldn't get to) but we only had a limited amount of time.

Then later it was off to the BFI Southbank for a Q&A with Tim that followed a preview screening of Sweeney Todd. His attendance hadn't been announced in advance; the audience were told, just before the film began, to stay on for a "special guest". When I walked on stage and announced... Tim Burton, the 400-plus crowd went absolutely bonkers, clapping, cheering and hollering for the longest time. It was an amazing reception and it was clear Tim was touched by it. And he was on fantastic form. (It was, I think, the best onstage interview I've conducted with Tim.) It only lasted half an hour but we seemed to pack a lot into the time, and I opened the floor to questions for the last 15 minutes. The crowd loved it and Tim left to a standing ovation...

11 comments:

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

Many thanks Mark for the write up, it was a thrill to read! You were really kind to get your report up so fast!

I have to agree that DDL was sensational, but IMO DDL reached into his actor's "bag of tricks" but didn't come up with anything new. He didn't step out of his comfort zone with his TWBB performance, stellar as it is.

Depp on the other hand, stepped so far outside of his comfort zone that he created someone in another solar system that we've never seen before and sang while doing it!

OK I admit it, I'm prejudiced.

Fran said...

Glad you had a great time on Thursday! We kept an eye out for you, but we missed you amidst the emormous crowd...

And I'm with you all the way on the Oscar nominations. Sweeney was sensational...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the premiere stories, and I look forward to more news from your blog. I didn't know where to post this, but I got my copy of the wonderful book you wrote about the movie, and I'm enjoying it so much. The book is a fitting tribute to a movie I consider to be an artistic triumph. Bravo to all who collaborated on it!

But next time, could you PLEASE make sure they give individual photo credits? The movie itself is so beautiful, that all the stills from it are special to me, and I'd love to know who to give proper credit to. I know the book gives credit to Peter Mountain and Leah Gallo, but I'm just obsessed enough to know who took which ones.

minnie swirl said...

I love what you said about Johnny being just as deserving of the Oscar as Daniel Day Lewis. Obviously, Day Lewis is a great actor but I think people sometimes forget that he isn't the only actor capable of being brilliant on screen.

KIC said...

Great write up. I so agree that Depp deserves this. My only opinion (and no, haven't seen DDL in this yet but it sounds like a typical DDL character/portrayal) is let's see DDL take on something that he is horribly uncomfortable with and completely out of thought of the normal casting choice for said role, THEN put in the same kind of performance. I'll hand it to him on a platter. IMO, it counts more when you do something you *AREN'T* supposedly suited to, and is out of your league in some respect and pull it off in spades.

But I feel that way about the Best Pic slot too, that it should go to the most innovative, unusual and courageous projects that are fantastically done, not the same old epic/gritty/sweeping/culturally popular topical blah blah blah movies that we've been seeing since Gone with the Wind and How Green was My Valley. However, I'm obviously off on why someone or something should be deemed "best" in a year.

Gerard said...

J.E.A.L.O.U.S.

It sounds like you had a real blast - but then again, how could you not? :D
Eleven days til the film's out here, and I've just picked up the deluxe version of the soundtrack; after all the waiting, it's quite exciting to see Sweeney gear beginning to pop up in stores over here. American Cinematographer also has a great piece on the film with Darius Wolski, a really excellent read.

But yes! Thanks for the writeup! It's the next best thing for those of us unable to be in on the action!

Anne said...

I was at that junket - there's no way you could have got to all those questioners! I had a lovely little chat with Johnny at the end and he's got to be one of the nicest actors I've met.

Mark Salisbury said...

Who do you write for Anne?

Anne said...

BT Vision (and some other bits and bobs too).

Anne said...

(Stumbled on this blog while Googling to see what Sweeney stuff had popped up on the net.)

Mark Salisbury said...

Well, nice that you could join us Anne.