The last time Michelle Pfeiffer collaborated with Tim Burton, she ended up being resurrected by a pack of street cats in his gloomy sequel, Batman Returns. Now the pair may team up again for another eerie romp – an adaptation of the supernatural television series, Dark Shadows.
Burton and his BFF Johnny Depp are gearing up for production to begin this April, and have recently begun assembling a motley crew of talents to join them, including Eva Green, as well as Jackie Earle Haley and Bella Heathcote.
Dark Shadows takes place at the Collins family estate in Maine, an ancient and mysterious mansion overseen by the lively caretaker Victoria Winters (Heathcoate), and residence of the not-so-lively vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp). Green will play the dazzlingly beautiful Angelique Bouchard, a witch who has a love-hate relationship with the blood-sucking Barnabas, and Heat Vision says that Pfeiffer would star as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the reclusive family matriarch whose husband vanished ten years before.
Despite her last significant role being (appropriately enough) that of a sorceress in Matthew Vaughn’s 2007 adaptation of Stardust, Pfeiffer currently has two other projects on the horizon – Alex Kurtzman’s Welcome to People and the romcom celebrity pileup, New Year’s Eve. The multiple Oscar-nominee certainly has the gravitas to be fitting as the aging ladyship of the Collins clan, and another round of Gothic ghoulishness with Burton could be fun for her as well.
Deadline is also saying that Helena Bonham Carter is in line to star in Dark Shadows as well, but that talks have not officially begun yet. Then again, wouldn’t it be more shocking if she wasn’t in the film?
Both Burton and Depp have admitted to being heavily influenced by the original Dark Shadows TV show, which aired from 1966-1971 and featured many of the same stylistic hallmarks associated with Burton’s oeuvre as a filmmaker. It comes as little surprise then that the actor-director duo would want to take a stab at turning the campy television series into a big-budget Hollywood feature, complete with modern-day F/X and production values.
Depp is reportedly on a green tea diet, so as to lose some weight for his Dark Shadows role, and he spoke earlier this week with MTV about how his portrayal of Barnabas Collins will differ from his take on other established characters like Ichabod Crane or Willy Wonka. As he put it:
“For me, even the conversations I’ve had with Tim, what Jonathan Frid did with that character [in the original 'Dark Shadows' TV show] and that classic look he created, I find it very difficult to stray very far from that. I think it’s going to be somewhere in that arena, with maybe just a couple of different touches here and there.”
Burton and Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hit theaters in July of 2005, and was followed by the pair’s Corpse Bride a few months later. The director could repeat that trick next year by completing Dark Shadows in time for a summer release, and then have his 3D feature-length, stop-motion adaptation of Frankenweenie arrive in the fall. Depp is only onboard for the former project right now, but we’ll see if that changes in the future.
Does Dark Shadows sound all the more appealing, given the cast and director involved?