Burton Rests 'Ripley,' Tries 'Todd'


With Paramount temporarily shelving his "Ripley's Believe It or Not' feature, Tim Burton could be ready to fast-track the musical "Sweeney Todd" for the studio.

According to the industry trade papers, Burton had been hoping to do "Ripley's" as his next feature, with Jim Carrey in place to star. However, after months of pre-production and budget negotiations, the studio and director apparently agreed to put the project on hold until it can be scripted to come in at a $150 million budget.

Carrey had a hole in his schedule to do "Ripley's," about the popular explorer and newspaper columnist, after 20th Century Fox pulled the plug on "Used Guys," a comedy set to also star Ben Stiller.

Paramount execs swear to both trades that unlike "Used Guys," "Ripley's" is just on hold and that the project will eventually get made.

In the meantime, though, Paramount's DreamWorks may now have the chance to move forward on "Sweeney Todd," based on Stephen Sondheim's adored Broadway musical about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The lead role has long been linked to frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp.

Depp, as luck would have it, is also suddenly free. The actor was ready to play the lead in "Shantaram," but it was reported on Monday (June 12) that that film's director, Peter Weir, was departing.

Round-and-round the Hollywood carousel goes, but when it stops, we'll let you know.

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