Depp, Burton bring light comedy to Dark Shadows

Published: May 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES: 

Working with director Tim Burton, Johnny Depp has played many eccentric characters in the movies, from lonely monster Edward Scissorhands to eccentric film-maker Ed Wood and the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland.

But there was at least one strange being they hadn’t tried — a vampire — and that’s about to change. The odd couple of Hollywood can check that character off their list with the debut of comedic thriller Dark Shadows, based on the classic TV soap opera that ran from 1966 -1971 about vampires, werewolves and witches populating a ghostly manor house in the countryside. Burton has made an expensive, special-effects-strewn homage to the old series, building up the comic elements and turning it into a star vehicle for Depp, reports Daily Mail.

In an era that seems made for sexy bloodsuckers with six-pack abs — TV’s “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” as well as the Twilight movies — Depp and Burton took an opposite approach. They hark back to the 1970s with a tongue-in-cheek homage to the original TV show that, among its many storylines, told of a vampire in a dark and never-ending search for his long-ago love, Josette. “Tim and I talked early on: a vampire should look like a vampire,” Depp told reporters. “It was a rebellion against vampires that looked like underwear models.”

Depp plays well-dressed, well-heeled vampire Barnabas Collins, who is turned into an otherworldly being in 1750 from a curse by spurned lover Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), a witch who then buries him alive.

He wakes up in 1972 to learn his family home has fallen into disrepair and the lives of his descendants — played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Lee Miller and Chloe Grace Moretz — are in disarray. He is determined to restore them all to their former glory when he learns his old nemesis, now named Angie, rules the town in which they all live.

Rather than creating an updated version set in present day, Depp and Burton set their sights on the 1970s. “I wanted Barnabas to come across as this very elegant upper echelon, well-schooled gentleman who’s cursed in the 18th century and brought back to probably the most surreal era of our time — the 1970s — and how he would react to things,” said Depp.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2012.

 

Reader Comments (1)

  • May 14, 2012 - 8:21PM

    Regardless of the reaction to the movie, Barnabas Collins is a fascinating character study, in may ways different from the many other vampire stories. He enters the original series as a virtual monster and is able to win the sympathy and eventually the full support of the audience as the hero. This transformation is due to his complex character which inspired me to write a song called “Barnabas Collins”. If you’re a fan of the original series, whether you liked the new movie or not, you will appreciate how my song actually captures the original “spirit” of the main character in Dark Shadows. You can check out the song here, be sure to leave a comment….

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