Dark Shadows Update

Still more news about the upcoming production of “Dark Shadows,” the major motion picture based on the cult t.v. show about werewolves, ghosts, gypsy curses, time travel–and a melancholy vampire named Barnabas Collins.

As reported earlier, Johnny Depp is playing the vampire–a role he says is a literal child hood dream. Tim Burton directs while Seth Grahame-Smith (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) has written the screenplay. Colleen Atwood is doing costumes, while Eva Green (“The Golden Compass” “Casino Royale”) plays Angelique–the vengeful witch whose love Barnabas scorns.

With filming scheduled to begin within one month, little wonder the final casting choices are coming out. One of the most exciting is to see Chloe Grace Moretz announced as playing Carolyn Stoddard (daughter of Collins matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, played by Michelle Pfeiffer). Moretz, probably best known as the foul-mouthed superhero Hit Girl, also turned in an amazing performance last year as Abby the child vampire in “Let Me In.” One major departure from the series is clearly her age. Carolyn in the show was seventeen or eighteen. Moretz just turned fourteen. She’s also a self-described major fan of “The Vampire Diaries” and in an interview with “Rolling Stone” confirmed that she always wanted to play a vampire. She also just wrapped the movie “Hugo Cabret” with another newcomer to the production–Gulliver McGrath, cast as Carolyn’s cousin David Collins (son of Roger, played by Michael Sheen).

Thomas McDonnell, interestingly, has joined the cast as Young Barnabas–another major departure in that we never saw a teenaged Barnabas Collins at any point in the original series. McDonnell most recently and noticeably appeared in the movie “Prom” and more than one person has noted since his casting he does indeed resemble a younger Johnny Depp. Of course both “Sleepy Hollow” and “Sweeney Todd” included flashbacks as well, as did “Edward Scissorhands,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as well as Burton’s 2010 hit “Alice in Wonderland.”

IMDB now lists Bella Heathcote as playing Victoria Winters, but no word yet on whether she also portrays Josette, the love of Barnabas’ life. In the 1991 and 2004 versions Victoria was strongly hinted at being Josette reincarnated. Yet in the original series, she clearly was not nor (unlike those versions) did she even resemble Josette (a ghost when Barnabas was found by Willie Loomis–a role played by “Watchman’s” Jackie Earle Haley).

Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas, announced on his website that he would have “some involvement” with the new film. What that might involve is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, a tempest brews among some fan of “Dark Shadows” over the use of a word by several people involved in the production. Eva Green as well as Seth Grahame-Smith both described the film (or parts of it) as ‘funny‘ and some interpret this to mean the new film will be a farce, a spoof or simply a comedy. Mind you, the cameras haven’t even started rolling yet and no one involved has used the word ‘comedy.’

More news as it becomes available…

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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