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Styling 'Sweeney Todd'

November 21, 2007|Susan King

OSCAR-WINNING production designer Dante Ferretti brings a dark and bloody Victorian England to its full Grand Guignol life in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," a gothic horror tale of revenge and love based on Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning musical. Originally, it was planned that there would be minimal sets built for the film starring Johnny Depp as the demon barber of Fleet Street. The majority of the design would be done with computer graphics.

"Then we started to prepare the movie, we thought maybe it would be better to build it on a set and then complete it with CGI," says Ferretti. "We built everything from scratch. It's not difficult to do a movie in all visual effects, but this kind of movie, actors have to be surrounded by something that is real." Ferretti says that, visually, "Sweeney Todd," which opens next month, is two movies. The reality is "very dark and very heavy" -- Todd's barbershop, for example, is sparsely furnished, almost institutional, with a big window the main light source. But the flashbacks and dream sequences are more colorful and lush, such as Sweeney's daughter's bedroom.

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