December 10, 2007 12:00 PM

• Let’s cut to the chase: One of the holiday’s most anticipated films is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Based on the Broadway musical, it stars Johnny Depp as a throat-slitting barber; Helena Bonham Carter plays his partner in crime. Director Tim Burton dished about the film, due out Dec. 21.

JOHNNY HAS NEVER SUNG BEFORE. HOW DID YOU KNOW HE COULD PULL IT OFF? I know him well enough that he just wouldn’t say yes if he couldn’t do it. But I was pleasantly surprised.

THIS IS YOUR SIXTH FILM WITH HIM. IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN’T DO? Singing might be his limit. Dancing I’m not so sure about. I’ve asked him to do a ballet next, and he’s not sure about that one. Just kidding!

HOW DID YOU CAST YOUR GIRLFRIEND, HELENA BONHAM CARTER? It’s always been a dream of hers. She got more tortured than anybody on this movie, because I didn’t want it to come across like, she’s my girlfriend so of course she got the job. So I wanted to make sure it was really right, and it was.

SO HOW BLOODY DO THINGS GET ONSCREEN? It’s over the top! The character’s quite repressed, so it’s meant as more of an emotional release than a real thing.

YOU MUST HAVE HAD SO MUCH FUN. Yeah, I like to get in there with my hypodermic needle and squirt. You feel like you’re painting.

HOW DID EVERYONE ON SET SHIELD THEMSELVES FROM ALL THE BLOOD? There were all these people in white jumpsuits. It looked like CSI!

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