Dark Shadows Update #2

Cameras begin rolling on the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version of “Dark Shadows” in April, and not surprisingly the filmmakers are trying to keep all the details relatively hidden. Yet we do know some things, including the fact Michelle Pfeiffer (who last worked with Burton as Catwoman in “Batman Returns”) will be playing Liz Collins Stoddard. Helena Bonham Carter confirmed at the Oscars that she had been cast as Dr. Julia Hoffman, with the interesting detail that in this version the character will be alcoholic (well, falling in love with a 200-year-old vampire who only has eyes for other women–that will drive you to drink, methinks). The IMDB page is less clear, having changed her listing twice now…

Eva Green has already been confirmed to play Angelique–the temptress who uses her witchcraft to turn Barnabas Collins into a vampire. Depp of course will be the lead, a role he has said he’s dreamt-on since childhood. Green also said she’d be a blonde for the role, which matches two previous Angeliques–Lara Parker (in the original series) and Lysette Anthony (in the 1991 revival series). Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from “Watchmen”) is on board as Willie Loomis, who discovers the sleeping vampire and becomes the equivalent of Renfield.

Now, on to news that actually is…well, new…

The film is set in the period of the original series. Not today, in the early years of the 21st century, but circa 1970 when the episodes first aired. Period shops are being raided for the appropriate garb. Certainly this decision removes a looming plot hole in the way of the story. In this day and age of the internet and DNA databases, with intercontinental phones and faxes almost childsplay, how could a total stranger show up at a wealthy family’s door and simply get away with claiming to be a long-lost cousin? True, he seems very nice. And he looks just like that portrait of an ancestor that has hung on the wall for a couple of centuries. Yeah, he’s not asking for anything save the opportunity to live in and fix up a dilapidated old mansion on the estate–at his own expense. But if Barnabas showed up in 2011 with that kind of tale you can be sure somebody in or around the Collins family would at least have somebody do a credit check.

Another fine actor is also in negotiations to join the cast–Michael Sheen, co-star of “Underworld” and the second “Twilight” film (having played a werewolf and a vampire respectively). He also previously worked with Burton, providing the voice of the White Rabbit for last year’s “Alice in Wonderland.” No definite word on the role he’s being offered, but Roger Collins is the obvious choice–sherry-guzzling, quip-launching younger brother of Liz.

Meanwhile, a British newspaper published an article recently about the sets under construction including a “huge gothic entrance hall” as well as the creation of an entire New England fishing village care of Pinewood Studios’ ginormous outdoor tank (which takes a full week to fill).

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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  5. Dark Shadows was the best TV series I ever saw when I was a kid. I was crazy about Quentin Collins & Willy Lumas they were my favorites. I wish they put the series back on TV forever. It was my favorite show.

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