Director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will, at long last, work together (for an eighth time, that is) on a feature-length treatment of the cult TV show Dark Shadows.
Burton and Depp are (wisely) taking a break from working together on quirkier fare like Alice in Wonderland and will be on more familiar, gothic territory with their new project – which is scheduled to start production this spring.
Deadline is reporting that April 2011 is the planned start date for production to begin on Dark Shadows, which was originally a hit ABC television series that ran from 1966-1971. The Dark Shadows TV show was a macabre melodrama that featured an assortment of supernatural creatures, including werewolves, zombies, and the non-sparkling vampire Barnabas Collins (the role Depp will play in the film adaptation). It also featured the sort of stylized sets and bizarre musical score that, well, every Tim Burton movie has, and was reportedly very influential on the ghoulish auteur.
While Burton regular John August was originally brought on to script Dark Shadows, the job has now fallen to Seth Grahame-Smith, a.k.a. the author of the revisionist history/horror book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s safe to say that Dark Shadows will be more in the vein of Burton & Depp’s Hammer Horror-inspired collaborations (ie. Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) than their PG-Rated, more family-friendly fare like this year’s Alice or Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
While an increasing number of moviegoers are now tired of seeing Depp – with pale makeup and an elaborate wig to boot – and Burton work together, Dark Shadows has the potential to be a deliciously dark and twisted supernatural creature tale in the age of Twilight. The subject matter is right up both artist’s alley and the two have been quite vocal about their adoration of the original Dark Shadows TV show in the past.
Burton/Depp and Grahame-Smith have found success of late in tackling previously established material and giving it a more twisted spin. We can only hope they don’t just employ Tim Burton’s Secret Formula in their approach to Dark Shadows and instead deliver something that’s a bit more inspired.
Dark Shadows will likely reach theaters by 2012.