The first official look at the new “Dark Shadows” has been unveiled in “Entertainment Weekly” magazine. Contrary to the reactions of some fans to a few paparazzi-shot images that popped up on the web, Johnny Depp does not in fact resemble Michael Jackson! Neither does he look normal. The image (clearly posed based on a cast photo from the original series) have a very stylized look. It harkens back to 1970s fashion (the setting of the film) but through a very Tim Burton-esque lens. It echoes the colors of the t.v. series by tints them all with a mild patina. More, the styles all go into a slight sharp relief.
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Characters portrayed are (left to right):
Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), with the bright red hair of Grayson Hall. According to Carter, her Hoffman is an alcholic as well as being the live-in therapist to this fading New England royal family. Evidently, they need such.
Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Grace Moretz), described as very much a hippy girl who stays in her room and dislikes everyone (as some teenage girls are wont to do). Moretz has been the most vocal of any of the cast in hinting about the film–without giving anything away. She described the movie as a blend of “Beetlejuice” “Sweeney Todd” and “Sleepy Hollow.” Another tantalizing clue she offered was that Carolyn has a secret, one very different from in the show. Based on that, methinks we can safely rule out her dating a resuscitated corpse, a werewolf, a Lovecraftian monster, or a lawyer (Carolyn had a bit of a thing for inhuman monsters).
Angelique Bouchard (Eve Green), the 18th century witch and former lover of Barnabas Collins as well as being the one responsible for his undead condition. Like the series Angelique, this one has blonde hair despite the lovely Miss Green’s own dark locks. Which also fits–many a cast member donned a wig in the course of the show.
David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) is the newest member of the once-mighty Collins clan, a somewhat disturbed young lad who gets his own teacher. Just how disturbed remains to be seen. More than one fan has described David as a budding psychopath (he tried to kill his father in the show’s first year).
Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcoate) has the job of David’s governess as well being the love interest for Johnny Depp’s character. According to the article, she strongly resembles his long-lost love Josette DuPres. Coincidence? Reincarnation? Just one of those things? Curiously, the last time a blonde played this role (for the unfinished WB pilot) that hair color caused much comment. Hardly a whisper this time round, at least on that subject.
Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) the central character, cursed and reluctant vampire released from a coffin after two centuries. Evidently this role captured Depp’s imagination in childhood. His look strongly resembles that of Jonathan Frid who created the role. Even down to the bangs! Those bangs have popped up several times in reluctant vampires since then. Take a gander at the title character in “Young Dracula” if you don’t believe me, or at Bill Compton.
Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley) began as a vaguely Mrs. Danvers-like character when the gothic soap opera first began, but rapidly became more motherly. In this version, she’s older than she’s ever been and quite absent-minded.
Willie Loomis (Jack Earl Haley) is the scruffy, good-for-nothing caretaker of the Collinwood estate. This frankly is a different take on Willie than the original, making him more akin to the first motion picture (“House of Dark Shadows”) or the 1991 revival. Loomis began as a drifter and con man.
Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller), patriarch of the family and pretty much a failure at it. When seen in the 1960s he initially had a slightly wild side, but tended to go conservative as time went on. This version puts him in a leisure suit with a comb-over. Strange how this makes him rather sinister.
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Carolyn’s mother and Roger’s older sister. The screenplay’s author describes Elizabeth as a strong woman dealt too weak a deck, and “there’s just too much for her to handle.”
One last piece of news–the role of Naomi Collins, mother to Barnabas, has been cast. Susan Cappellaro, a British stage actress with few film credits, is listed. In the previous series, this role was double-cast, both times with Naomi portrayed by the same actress who was Elizabeth (Joan Bennet and Jean Simmons respectively).