Johnny Depp: Serial Killer He Plays in 'Sweeney Todd' Is a 'Victim'

December 6th, 2007 5:05 PM

What is it with Johnny Depp and Victorian Era serial killers?

Six years ago the liberal Hollywood fixture played London police detective Frederick Abberline in "From Hell," a violent conspiracy theory-driven whodunnit about the 1888 murder spree of Jack the Ripper. In his newest big screen release, Depp stars as the title character in "Sweeney Todd," a film about a fictional 19th century London barber who kills his customer-victims using his barber's razor.

Pretty ghoulish stuff, of course, but according to Depp, such a monstrous character is also deserving of some empathy. Reports Tom O'Neil of the Los Angeles Times:

Even though Johnny portrays a demon barber who ruthlessly slashes the throats of innocent chaps who drop by his shop (then drop down through a trap door in the floor after getting the closest shaves of their lives), he tells us, "I love the character. He's super complex because there's a whole lot going on there. Fifty-one percent of the people say he's a madman and 49 percent say he's the original victim in the plot."

What does Johnny think?

"I belive he's a victim," he said. "I believe he's a tragic figure."