the tale of a strange bit of casting news – Tim Burton is looking to have Sacha Baron Cohen play opposite Johnny Depp in his adaptation of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Cohen, soon to be in theaters with Borat, would play Signor Adolfo Pirelli, Todd’s rival in the barber game.

The story is about a barber named Benjamin Barker who has been away from London for a long time. He returns under the name Sweeney Todd and learns that a powerful judge has done some pretty terrible things to his family. Seeking revenge, he teams up with his landlord, Mrs. Nelly Lovett, in a scheme to murder those who wronged him – and then bake them into meat pies and sell them.

When Todd sets up shop he discovers Pirelli selling a miracle ointment actually made from urine and ink, and humiliates him in front of a crowd. Pirelli runs off with his tail between his legs, but he doesn’t stay gone for long, as he resurfaces with dark secrets that may ruin Todd’s murderous revenge…

I feel like I’m writing the back of a DVD case! The role of Pirelli requires singing – quite exaggerated (humorously) operatic singing, if I recall. And of course an Italian accent. If Cohen does get the part, I hope he uses a Chico Marx accent.

Sweeney Todd starts filming in England in February.