Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cool beans...

The other day I opined to someone that you don't see director/actor match-ups the way you used to, ala John Wayne and John Ford, or Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Mann or Alfred Hitchcock; or Hitchcock and Cary Grant. I attributed this (along with lots of modern Hollywood's other ills) to the fact that movies are cranked out the way they used to be. Old time stars in their prime used to make two or three movies for every one a modern star might make. Tom Cruise is a pretty busy actor, and he currently has 35 movie credits. Jimmy Stewart had nearly a 100, Henry Fonda more than a 100, and Cary Grant nearly 90. John Wayne had nearly 175. (Admittedly, a lot of those where quickie oaters he made before hitting the big time with Stagecoach, although he made 80 to 90 movies after that, as well.)

However, there was at least one modern, long-running director / actor collaboration I forgot, that of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. They are now preparing to make their sixth project together, an adaptation of (apparently) Steven Sondheim's musical Sweeny Todd, about a murderous barber who cut his customer's throats--in the musical, he's given a motive for this--and the woman who then disposes of the bodies by making them into meat pies and selling them to the locals.

Really, that sounds right up Burton and Depp's alley, assuming the musical part works out all right.

13 Comments:

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

George Clooney/Steven Soderburgh is the one that first comes to my mind. They also frequently work together in a producing capacity.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

There you go.

Are you seeing SoaP tonight, Marty? I can't, sadly, and obviously I don't want to read reviews of it first, but I'll be interested in the general thumbs up and down that start appearing following tonight's screenings.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Henry Brennan said...

Sweeney Todd is my all-time favorite musical (scary, no?) See:
http://henrybrennan.blogspot.com/2005_05_01_henrybrennan_archive.html

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger Scott said...

They haven't done anything for awhile but DeNiro & Scorcese are another duo worth noting.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Prankster said...

Actually, I know several people who think Burton and Depp are completely wrong for this. I wouldn't neccessarily agree completely--there's a chance he could pull it off--but I think he's going to have to tread very very carefully. As BMMB regular Marlowe put it, "Congratulations to Burton on finding a role Johnny Depp can't play." Todd is supposed to be either a hulking brute or a old-before-his-time madman--as brilliant as Depp is, he's just too hunky for the part, and he doesn't convey the sense of a demonic lower-class British barber. (If he could sing, Jason Statham wouldn't be a bad bit of casting.) As for Burton, well...the guy frankly has too much sympathy for his freaks and misfits, and tends to treat the macabre with a wink, which again doesn't quite work. The musical is somewhat arch, but it's not really tongue-in-cheek in the way Burton would probably render it. Think "From Hell: The Musical" and you're not too far off.

We ARE going to get a Snakes on a Plane review, right Ken?

 
At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Jimmy said...

For a while John Carpenter and Kurt Russell were doing a lot of movies together.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Henry Brennan said...

Actually, "Sweeney Todd" did have a lot of sympathy for the main character. Although he was an insane killer, there was plenty of backstory to make him a sympathetic character. His female partner's longstanding love for Sweeney served to make her a sympathetic character, as well. I believe that Burton will do justice to the black humor in "Sweeney Todd", but I do agree that Depp may not be right for the role. We'll see.

 
At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Prankster said...

B

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Prankster said...

Yes, SOME sympathy, but Burton is usually so sympathetic to his freaks that they're not scary. The only genuinely scary Burton character I can think of is the Headless Horseman, and he didn't have any lines. For some reason.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger Sandy Petersen said...

Stephen Chow uses many actors from the same "stable" for his comedies. And I would argue that we can see the same effect in the Coen brothers movies.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Sandy Petersen said...

I would also argue that Sleepy Hollow blew fat toads and that the Headless Horseman was less frightening than Jack Skellington.

 
At 9:45 AM, Anonymous wjl2 said...

On the director/actor hook-up how about Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes / Ben Afflek / Jason Lee / Matt Damon / Brian O'Halloran and maybe a couple of others?

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Zack Handlen said...

The only genuinely scary Burton character I can think of is the Headless Horseman, and he didn't have any lines.

Large Marge didn't get to you? Cause she totally wrecked me. :)

Anyway, I (aka Marlowe) stand by what I said. And while the musical definitely sympathetic to Todd, it's done in a way that never lets us lose sight of just how murderous and unhinged the man is. It's the sort of show where you love the characters, but you would never, ever want to be a part of their world; and frankly, Burton is too much into the macabre to allow for that.

Prank already covered this, but I just wanted to show my support. Oh, and it's a fantastic musical; the rousing climax of Act One is a ten minute ode to cannibalism set to waltz tempo. How great is that?

 

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