Full of People who are Full of . . .
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Sweeney Todd except for the bloody t-shirt from the Broadway version that I proudly wear under my sweater so as not to get arrested for disturbing the peace. Ehhh.
Sweeney Todd was walking around the set of his favorite musical--coincidentally labeled Sweeney Todd, in his honor--when he heard a small, muffled noise from the orchestra pit. It sounded almost like a . . . like a sob? But why? They had been made into a movie at last. It was every musical's dream: to become a commercialized piece of pop culture, idolized by fans of the grotesque and weird, rather than suffering in off-broadway corners around the nation. Clearly this was no reason to cry.
So Sweeney poked his head into the pit. It was the violinist, sobbing desperately over his instrument.
"What's your deal?" Sweeney asked impatiently.
"Oh!" the violinist looked up, surprised. "Well . . . I mean . . ."
"Why aren't you happy? We're being made into a movie, after all." Sweeney smiled rather pompously, which was rare for him, seeing as he usually had nothing to smile about anymore. "I'm being played by Johnny Depp m'self, in case you haven't heard."
The violinist self-consciously wiped his tears out of his eyes. "I know, you've told us all going on three million and four times. But you see, Sweeney, I can't help but cry. My solo's gone."
Sweeney frowned. "Your solo?" He hadn't been aware that the members of the pit had solos. After all, whose solo would matter compared to his? The Sweeney Todd?? They certainly didn't named the musical Violin Solo, now did they?
After a sniffle the violinist said indignantly, "That terrifying high note I screech every time someone gets killed. How could you not remember that? Every time you gutted someone, everyone would gasp because I hit outrageous, disgustingly loud high notes. It was . . . my solo . . ."
"That was you?" Sweeney said in distaste. "No wonder they cut your solo. Now that we're on the big screen, people in the back row of the theater can actually tell we're stabbing someone without craning their necks around someone and cursing their thirty dollar left wing back row tickets. They don't need your violin screech to clue 'em in to a killing because my terrifying face and all the blood will be enough."
"You don't understand! Nobody understands me!" the violinist cried, dropping his instrument and running away.
Sweeney shrugged. "Yeah, well, there's lots of you and only one of me, so you were expendable anyway."
"Oh, love, don't be so cruel," Mrs. Lovett chided him.
"What's wrong with you?" asked Sweeney, his eyes widening upon hearing the piemaker's voice.
Mrs. Lovett clutched a hand to her throat. "Good God, I don't know. I sound like . . . like a regular woman! What happened to my character? My charming gruffness that served as comic relief between your scores of murders?" She shook her head disbelievingly. "It's this movie--it must be. The directors of a musical would never make me this intentionally appealing. In this state, Sweeney would practically . . . he would practically . . ." A smile formed at the edges of her purple lips. "Why, Sweeney could practically fall in love with me."
"Sorry? Didn't catch that. Wasn't listening," Sweeney said off-handedly.
Mrs. Lovett threw her hands up in the air. "So much for that."
"You know what would be really cool?" Sweeney asked. "If I could just kill that--"
"Judge Turpin, Judge Turpin, Judge Turpin!" Mrs. Lovett cried. "Honestly, you talk about him so much that you might as well just marry the bloke and get it over with. I'm basically selling myself to you in every other scene and still it's all judge, judge, judge. Oooh!" She smiled to herself. "Say that ten times fast."
"Hmmm? Oh, look, Pirelli," Sweeney noticed. "That's funny. I thought I saw him naked in that Borat movie, but maybe I'm just imagining things."
Pirelli walked by Sweeney in a much more pompous manner than Sweeney could ever manage. "You know why that is? Because I'm getting played by Sacha Baron Cohen. And I'm sure you know what that means."
Mrs. Lovett winced. "You're going to be dead and naked?"
Pirelli scowled. "No! Although if Tim asked . . . " He shook the thought off before all of the readers gagged and died. "Anyway, what that means is that everyone in the theater is going to applaud and scream when I pop on the screen, and despite only having about ten minutes of total air time, I'll be up for more awards than any of you suckers when it comes time to cash in."
"And you know what's really funny about that?" asked Sweeney, grinning madly. "I still get to gut you."
At that note Pirelli sideglanced shiftily. "About that . . ."
Mrs. Lovett put her hands on her hips. "And to think in the musical no one really cared about your part all that much."
"See?" Pirelli gulped. "Not worth killing. Besides, I'm Sacha Baron Cohen. You can't kill me."
"Oh yeah? Well, I'm Johnny Depp, and I beg to differ." With that, Sweeney pulled out one of his closest "friends" and began to chase a panicked and flailing Pirelli around the set with it.
Mrs. Lovett sighed. "Ah, well, barbers will be barbers. Oh, Toby! Good to see you."
"Um . . . Mrs. Lovett," he whispered, feeling awkward. He was staring at his hands in disbelief and wondering why he was looking up at Mrs. Lovett rather than down at her.
Toby cleared his throat and realized that it was not a very manful sound at all. "I don't remember being ten years old and adorable."
"But love, that sells much better in Hollywood, you see?" Mrs. Lovett cooed, patting his head. "Besides, you're so much more loveable this way--"
"I don't want to be loveable!" said Toby, stomping his foot down in a very childish way. "I wanna be a man!"
Mrs. Lovett raised an eyebrow at him. "You weren't much of one in the musical anyway, if I recall."
Toby's lower lip quivered. Adorably, of course. "I've been stripped of my manhood . . ."
"Amen to that," said Antony morosely.
"Who're you?" asked Toby, cursing the fact that he also had to look up at this sailor when his oafish tallness used to let him look down upon someone of his stature.
"Me? Oh, I'm the sailor. I cause plot twists," he said proudly.
"Ah," said Toby, trying to figure out what a plot twist was. Setting that aside, he commented bluntly, "You look like too much of a wuss to be a sailor."
"Toby! Be nice," Mrs. Lovett reminded him.
"Be nice?" Toby repeated angrily. "You lousy hypocrite. You were the one who stuffed me in a basement with burning bodies. You know that scene where I bite into the thumb? Then look around and--GASP--there are tons of human carcasses around? That wasn't very nice, mum, not very nice at all."
Mrs. Lovett rolled her eyes. "It wasn't so tragic and horrible of me when you were a dim-witted twenty-something-year-old, I guess."
"Humph," said Toby. In a most adorable way.
"Um, but let's get back to my problem," said the sailor. "I used to be manly. I used to be . . . well, I used to look like I could carry three bricks at a time without breaking both my arms and a toe."
"You're supposed to look more romantic on the big screen so all the teenage girls in the audience will ooohh and ahhhh," Mrs. Lovett explained gently, relishing that for the first time in her life she could be gentle.
"Other teenage girls? But I only have eyes for my Johanna!" Antony declared passionately, with starry eyes. "Besides, how is looking romantic going to help me steer a ship in the middle of a terrible cyclone?"
"Oh, both of you, stop your whining already. You both sort of redeem your manhoods. You, Antony--you've got that gun in the asylum, remember?"
Antony sighed. "Yes. But instead of just killing the old bloke myself I let a pack of insane blondes kill him by gouging out his eyes with their raw, dirty nails."
Mrs. Lovett bit her lip. "Hmm. Don't recall that from the musical. Didn't Johanna shoot him, because you chickened out at the last second?"
Johanna, appearing beside the sailor, huffed angrily. "Yes. I did. But they cut that out, the same way they cut out most of my lines."
Toby laughed. "That's because your voice sucks."
"You're one to talk!" she squealed at him. "Besides, who needs a voice when I'm this charming?"
Toby rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I'm sure that's what the director was thinking when he hired you."
"They did cut out our duet, sweetums!" Antony realized. "All of Kiss Me was cut."
"And yet you got to sing 'I feeeeel yoooouuuu, Johaaaannaaa" about ten thousand times. Where is the justice in this world?" Johanna demanded.
Antony, suddenly blushing and blustering, ignored her angry comment and said shyly, "You know, Johanna, we never did get that poetic, beautiful movie kiss we were supposed to have."
"I'm not kissing anyone 'til I get my damn shooting scene!" Johanna professed.
"But . . . Johanna! I love you! I even let that slimy beadle beat me up out of script just to prove my love for you, my darling."
At this Johanna smiled. "You . . . you got beat up for me?"
He nodded eagerly. "First scene with blood in the entire movie, if you don't count the opening credits. Not to mention I was smart enough not to get myself killed, too."
"That's so sexy," Johanna breathed, pulling him in for a passionate make-out session.
"Slimy?" repeated the beadle, heartbroken. "But I do all I can for my friends and neighbors . . . "
Mrs. Lovett covered Toby's eyes. "You don't need to see that, love."
Toby pouted. "You said I got to 'sort of redeem my manhood,' too. What did I do that was so special?"
"Why," Mrs. Lovett laughed, "you kill Sweeney Todd, dearest. Don't you recall?"
Suddenly Sweeney froze in mid-stab on Pirelli. Using this fortunate opportunity to run away, Pirelli escaped and headed back for Italy, deciding that perhaps opening a restaurant very far away was much safer than staying anywhere within a ten thousand mile radius of Sweeney. Sweeney, however, craned his neck to look over at Toby darkly.
"Oh, dear," murmured Mrs. Lovett, realizing her folly.
"You killed me?" Sweeney asked incredulously.
Toby quivered, looking up at Mrs. Lovett. "Did I? I only would have killed Mr. Todd if he'd done something to hurt you, mum."
"Yes, well, Mr. Todd did--hey," Mrs. Lovett realized angrily, "that's right! You did kill me, Mr. Todd!"
Ignoring her, Sweeney lunged forward in an attempt to strangle poor Toby, but the Beggar Woman jumped in the way.
"Hold up, guys. We can work this out," she said cheerily.
Everyone paused. "I thought you were insane," said Toby slowly.
"Yes, I thought the arsenic had gone to your brain, Lucy," Mrs. Lovett muttered.
"Lucy?" Sweeney cried. "Is that you?"
"Oh, crap. He wasn't supposed to find that out until the end," Mrs. Lovett sighed.
Sweeney rounded on her. "And you told me she was dead!"
"C'mon, everyone! We can still save the summer if we work this out!" Suddenly Lucy/Beggar woman began to rock out loud to the tune of Work This Out from High School Musical, lice-ridden head bobbing and all.
Sweeney frowned. "I wash my hands of you, woman. But you," he said, glaring at Toby. "This isn't over yet. Who says you get to kill me?"
"The director. And Stephen Sondheim. And pretty much . . . well, everyone," Toby shrugged. "I mean, someone's gotta do it, right?"
"B-but I'm . . . I'm invincible. I'm the Johnny Depp."
"Are you two finished making out yet?" Mrs. Lovett asked the Antony and Johanna disapprovingly.
"We didn't get our movie kiss!" Johanna protested. "And no one got to hear about what happened to us at the end. I mean, what if a cat had been hiding in the trunk with me and eaten me alive? Or what if Antony had tripped on a piece of glass before he found me, fallen over, and then gotten trampled by a horse? The audience has no idea. So we have to kiss to let them know it's happily ever after, right?"
"Happily ever after," Mrs. Lovett scoffed. "After I get burned to death. Of course."
Toby gasped. "Hey, what happens to me, anyway?"
"You get sent to the workhouse again and die," said Sweeney, laughing.
"Noooo!!" Toby cried, clutching to Mrs. Lovett. "After I kill the murderer? I should get a parade or something."
Suddenly all of the characters looked up, alarmed. There was another set of footsteps paddling down the hall: the director's.
"Crap," Johanna said, "we're supposed to be memorizing our lines!"
Toby waved her off. "What lines do you have to memorize, anyway?"
"I've had enough of you, you little pipsqueak--"
"But I'm adorable!" Toby reminded her.
"Quick! Look like you've been doing work!" Mrs. Lovett warned them all, plopping into the nearest chair and immersing herself in the script. The rest of the characters followed suit, reading voraciously and looking quaint and peaceful just in time for Tim Burton to open the door.
"How is everything going in here?" Tim asked, raising an eyebrow. "I heard screams."
"We were rehearsing the rape scene," Judge Turpin lied, as their cover. Lucy paused in her High School Musical dance to nod in agreement.
"Rape scene?" Sweeney screamed, baring his fists. "Why, I oughta--"
Chaos erupted once more, all of the characters casting their scripts aside to duke it out in a musical brawl. But Mr. Burton only smiled. "Glad to see they're getting into character so nicely," he said to himself, closing the door behind him contentedly. "And they said Sweeney Todd wouldn't work out as a movie."
Just a note: clearly this was not intended to criticize the movie or the musical. Loved 'em both. Decided to have a bit of fun.
Hope you enjoyed!