First Look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in ‘Dark Shadows’ [Updated]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 5th, 2013 at 1:43 pm,

[UPDATE: Fear not, this is not how Depp will look throughout the entire film. Click here to see Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows.]

Johnny Depp has made a career out of playing oddball characters in Tim Burton movies like Edward Scissorhands and Alice in Wonderland, and the actor’s current collaboration with Burton is no different. As the lead in Burton’s adaptation of the cult TV series Dark Shadows, Depp plays Barnabas Collins, an accursed vampire who finds himself rudely awoken after 200 years to discover that his estate is ruined and his descendants are struggling with a range of melodramatic problems.

When Depp was cast in the role, fans of the original series were excited. The actor always brings something unique to his characters and, when paired with Burton’s gothic sensibilities, has rarely made a misstep. However, while there was very little debate over whether Depp would do well as Collins, there was some debate over how Depp would look in the role. Now that we have our first look at Depp in character, I’m willing to bet that the debate is going to get even bigger.

The set images, which come our way via Celebuzz, show Depp in extremely heavy white make-up with highly stylized sideburns. The effect is rather striking and far different than how Jonathan Frid looked as Barnabas Collins in the original TV series, which will likely upset some Dark Shadows fans. Check out the images of Depp on set, as well as an image of the original Barnabas Collins below.

Tim Burton’s films all have a very unique visual style and it’s clear that his take on Barnabas Collins is in keeping with that style. Nevertheless, there are probably many Dark Shadows fans out there that are unhappy to see Depp wearing such heavy make-up. Personally, my problem isn’t that Depp is painted up, but rather that his look is reminiscent of his roles in the previous Burton films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. For an actor that’s always giving you something different, this look has a kind of “been there, done that” feel to it.

[NOTE: As some commenters have pointed out, it's possible Barnabas is wearing heavy make-up because, as a vampire, he can't go out in the sunshine. This definitely makes sense and is probably the right guess (even if it doesn't explain the bizarre pointy sideburns).]

That being said, the original series was noted for its campiness and Depp’s over-the-top look may be in keeping with Burton’s equally campy vision for the film. Also, as is always the case with set photos, it’s unfair to pass judgment until you see the character on the big screen the way he was meant to be seen.

Does Depp look too much like Willy Wonka or the Mad Hatter here, or do you like Burton’s take on Barnabas Collins?

Source: Celebuzz

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TAGS: dark shadows

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  1. really … it’s the first time i heard of Dark shadows as an old movie what had a remake with Johnny Depp who i loved his variation in acting and i love his cool comedy in film scenes he can make anyone accept his character even of its strange way or unbelievable truth of it …. finally i meant that johnny Depp is always inspiring me ….. :)

  2. He looks like a Michael Jackson puppet to me

  3. The fan websites for Dark Shadows is full of disappointment and dislike for the Burton Dark Shadows Movie. Over all the fans write negativity toward the movie. It was far from like the original series, the 2nd series and the first movie. Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas was careful to keep his vampirism secret, Johnny first act was a mass killing that would draw attention, Johnny’s Barnabas lets Elizabeth in on his secrets. Frid’s Barnabas never done that. Gone was the magic of Willie unchaining the coffin and the fear on his face as Barnabas, hand seized his throat. Replaced by a mass murder release. Gone the dramatic shooting of Angelieque, who thinking she was dying cursed him, bringing in the bat that bit him to turn him. Now a leap after Josette over widows hill turning him , kinda unrealistic. Angelique, the secretive plotting with in a servants position, gone, in her place a devious business woman. It was so different from the previous series and movies that the long hopeful wait for the move became like a balloon desired by a child and when hande to it , it suddenly disappointly bursting. The Burton film and Johnny’s performance failed to give the fans what they wanted, disappointing some, angering a few, sadly a failure,

  4. Dark Shadows Fan web sites overwhelmingly comment negativity and disappointment toward the Tim Burton Dark Shadows. The original Barnabas’ secrecy of vampire identity was replaced by two mass murders that would draw attention, and him quickly telling Mrs Stoddard his secrets (never happened in the original nor redo series nor 1st movies). The secretive cunning Angelique was replaced by an Angelique open belligerent business woman. The awesome story of Barnabas shooting Angelique, her thinking she was dieing, cursing him the bat biting him to turn him, gone. A leap over widows hill turns him in the Depp movie. The so awesome release of Barnabas, his hand coming up from coffin grabing neck of a fear faced Willie Loomis, replaced by a construction crew uncovering and their mass murder. Dr.Hoffman completely different goals , so many diffrences it was terrible. It was like a child (fans) joyfully reaching to gain a balloon (the movie), and once in their grasp it proving deective and bursting. Overwhelmingly it is a disappointment to the fans and seen as a failure, it shall not be pat of thecolectors dvd collection.