Into the shadowlands

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am


Tim Burton has one of the most creative minds in the film industry. As much as he's known for his quirkiness, it's his macabre mind and gothic take on fantasy that's his biggest attribute.

On the acting front, heartthrob Johnny Depp has made a name for himself with his bizarre and offbeat roles. It goes without saying that Burton and Depp are a match made in gothic heaven and have collaborated numerous times in the past.

There's a never-ending sense of mystery when it comes to the man who's starred in plenty of roles Burton has created, most notably, Edward Scissorhands, and adaptations such as Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. In fact, Dark Shadows, based on the 60s TV soap opera of the same name, marks their eighth collaboration. This time, while Burton directs as usual, lead actor Depp takes on the additional duty of co-producer.

'Obviously, the one person who immediately came to mind to bring this project to life was Tim [Burton],' Depp says.

'He became really pumped up about it as we began to develop it.'

A few years ago, co-producer David Kennedy expressed an interest in adapting the series created by Dan Curtis, who died in 2006. Curtis had picked Depp to play Barnabas, but delays kept the project on the back burner for years. Depp says his portrayal of Barnabas is an homage to the first actor to play the role.

'Every angle I tried, I kept coming back to Jonathan Frid's iconic performance,' Depp says. 'He did something striking with that character, so my Barnabas is largely based on his, with a few other ingredients thrown in and slightly more flowery language ... a little bit more of a vocal style in terms of enunciation.'

Characters from the original series, including Frid, have cameo appearances in what was to be Frid's last movie appearance before his death last month.

We first meet Barnabas Collins as a young boy (Thomas McDonell) with his family in England, 1752, as they sail off to America. Two decades later, Barnabas is the man of Collinwood Manor. He has it all: money, power and a way with the ladies. Until one day he makes the biggest mistake of his life: he breaks the heart of a witch named Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). She seals his fate by turning him into a vampire and burying him alive.

More than two centuries later, Barnabas is awakened, and returns to Collinwood Manor to find that the world has changed dramatically.

Barnabas seeks to regain the glory of the Collins name, all the while trying to ward off a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the witch that cast him into his tomb for 200 years ...

Opens on Thursday