Amateur set photos should always be taken with a grain of salt – with regards to how much they reflect the quality of the finished product. We all got a nice reminder of that last week when paparazzi images of Johnny Depp on the Dark Shadows set emerged online, suggesting that his version of the vampire Barnabas Collins would be… well, perhaps a bit too Burtonesque.

A number of Screen Rant commentators suggested that perhaps the strikingly white makeup Depp had on was actually supposed to be some sort of sunscreen that would allow his blood-thirsty character to travel around in the daytime – and not be burnt to a crisp by the sunlight. Judging by the first official image released from the film… they were correct.

Dark Shadows is Tim Burton’s adaptation of the cult Gothic soap opera – which ran from 1966-1971 – about the trials and tribulations of the undead Banabas Collins and his extended family of ghouls, ghosts, witches, and other assorted supernatural entities. Between its Gothic visual style, eccentric characters, darkly campy tone, and famously oddball soundtrack, the original Dark Shadows TV show could easily be mistaken for a Burton production – by someone who didn’t know any better.

Hence why it should be no surprise that Burton and Depp – both being self-admitted Dark Shadows fanatics – look to deliver a film adaptation that very much retains the qualities which earned the original show a loyal following.

Check out the first official image of the cast for Burton’s Dark Shadows – followed by a still frame of the original TV show’s cast, for comparison – below:


Depp as Collins appears to have virtually the same haircut and naturally pallid features as Jonathan Frid’s version of the character. That should be a relief for those who – after seeing the early set photos –  were worried Depp would just end up (essentially) going with the same clownishly ghoulish look he had as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

Likewise, the cast as a whole looks to bear a strong resemblance to that of the original Dark Shadows show – with a few uniquely Burton touches here and there (see: Helena Bonham Carter’s blue eye makeup/carrot orange wig).

Click here to check out our Johnny Depp Photo Gallery

EW also has character profiles for all the main players in Dark Shadows – as well as some thoughts from the film’s screenwriter: Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novels. Go HERE to read through them all.

Dark Shadows stars the likes of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Jackie Earle Haley, Christopher Lee, Johnny Lee Miller, and Chloë Grace Moretz. It is scheduled for theatrical release in the U.S. on May 11th, 2012.

Source: EW