How many reading this post can remember the 1960’s soap opera Dark Shadows? Chances are not that many, but an upcoming movie may bring this gothic soap opera tale to the big screen as early as May 11, 2012. The movie is reportedly based upon the original series, which ran from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971 and aired weekdays on ABC for a total of 1,225 episodes. When the series began in 1966 it was filmed in a black and white format, but after 15 months updated to color.
For those not familiar the series, the story follows the strange happenings within the wealthy Collins family who live on the Collinwood Estate in Collinsport, Maine. A young girl named Victoria Winters is hired as a governess for young David Collins. Victoria is hoping to unlock memories of her past by working for the Collins family. The young David Collins tells everyone that he talks to ghosts and that Sarah, his best friend, is a ghost who lives in the original Collins mansion.
Willie Loomis, the caretaker, accidentally releases Barnabas Collins [a vampire] from his 200 year sleep in the family mausoleum where his family entrapped him. He introduces himself to the family as a cousin visiting from England. Barnabas wants to find a cure for his vampirism, but causes chaos in the small town.
During a séance, Victoria is transported back in time to the 1700s and meets Barnabas before he became a vampire. She also meets the Angelique [a powerful witch] the woman who cursed Barnabas to become a vampire. Barnabas betrayed her and fell in love with a woman named Josette.
The show featured alternate time-lines, reincarnation, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, zombies, and black magic. The series became popular only after the introduction of the supernatural themes six months into airing.
The series still has a fan base and the DVD sets are available from Amazon.com. There were other attempts to bring the series back to TV in 1991 and 2004, but each attempt failed. If the director and cast of Dark Shadows is any indication this should be a fantastic movie.
The movie is being directed by Tim Burton known for making movies with dark and unusual themes. A few of his films include The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Sleepy Hollow.
Burton’s collaborator on Dark Shadows is award-winning actor Johnny Depp who has worked with Burton on approximately eight films. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly magazine (September 30, 2011 issue) both men grew up watching the TV series and Depp has wanted to make the series into a movie for some time. Warner Bros. finally procured the rights and Depp approached Burton about collaborating on the project. Seth Grahame-Smith is the screenwriter.
The movie is being filmed in London and according to Burton it will be released in 2D format. The setting is the year 1972, which should make it seem more like the original. The recent popularity of supernatural themed films in the past few years bodes well for the movie to become a box office hit next year. The well-known cast and crew may lead fans to have high hopes for the upcoming film. Below is a list of actors/actresses cast for the film and their roles as pictured from left to right.
Helena Bonham Carter – Dr. Julia Hoffman, a live-in Psychiatrist
Chloe Grace Moretz – Carolyn Stoddard, a strong-willed teenager
Eva Green – Angelique Bouchard, a dark witch
Gulliver McGrath – David Collins, a troubled 10-year-old
Isabella Heathcote – Victoria Winters, governess to David
Johnny Depp – Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire
Ray Shirley – Mrs. Johnson, the elderly housekeeper, Willie’s aunt
Jackie Earle Haley – Willie Loomis, the alcoholic caretaker
Jonny Lee Miller – Roger Collins, David’s father, brother to Elizabeth
Michelle Pfeiffer – Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Carolyn’s mother and family matriarch