Jackie Earle Haley & Bella Heathcote Circling Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 23rd, 2013 at 4:04 pm,

Best buds Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have been itching to work together on a new Gothic endeavor: a film treatment of the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows. Who better to join them in their latest bit of dark whimsy than Freddy Krueger himself and an actress rumored to play a pale-skinned, black-haired young woman in a movie not featuring the Edward Scissorhands duo?

Jackie Earle Haley is reportedly in talks to join Burton’s project – one where he won’t play either a child molester and/or homicidal maniac – and Bella Heathcote is also said to be the top choice for an important role in the fantastical melodrama.

Deadline says that the light-haired Heathcote was in contention for the female lead role in Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman before Kristen Stewart emerged as the front runner. Dark Shadows would feature the little-known actress as Victoria Winters, the governess of the estate wherein lies the coffin of the late Barnabas Collins – a fellow who, it turns out, technically has been not of the living for a while now, seeing that he’s a sunken-eyed, blood-sucking creature of the night. Naturally, that’s the role Depp would play in the film.

Haley, of Nightmare on Elm Street and Watchmen fame is in line to play the con man Willie Loomis, a fellow who attempts to grave rob the deceased Mr. Collins of his impressive jewelry (no, that’s not a metaphor – get your mind out of the gutter). Things don’t work out well for Willie as the vampiric Barnabas makes the would-be thief his whipping boy and servant instead. That’s still a better deal than Haley got when he chatted up Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island.

Jackie Earle Haley in Shutter Island Jackie Earle Haley & Bella Heathcote Circling Tim Burtons Dark Shadows

Haley opposite DiCaprio in ‘Shutter Island’.

Creepy creatures of all types paraded about in ABC’s original Dark Shadows TV show, which was a cult hit in the 1960s and bears a strong resemblance to Burton’s breed of filmmaking (stylized sets, off-kilter musical accompaniments, Gothic production design, etc., etc.). It seems all the more appropriate that Burton should helm the movie adaptation, which will hopefully be a return to form after the box office behemoth but critical letdown that was his (gloomy) candy-colored 3D take on Alice in Wonderland.

Equally intriguing is the fact that Dark Shadows will be scripted by Seth Grahame-Smith, the man who authored the surprisingly not campy titles Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, among others. Burton’s films tend to be more intentionally hammy and tongue-in-cheek than Smith’s genre mashups, but it shouldn’t be that much of a stretch for the writer to try his hand at delivering something more comedic in tone than his history and literary “re-envisionings.”

Dark Shadows will mark the eighth (and probably not the final) joint effort from Burton and Depp, who each have numerous other upcoming projects on their plat to handle as well. Rest assured, they’ll find time to work together again, with Depp once more bearing an abnormally pallid complexion onscreen.

Production on Dark Shadows was previously rumored to be getting underway this spring, with a 2012 release date in mind. Expect to hear a more official statement about the matter in the near future.

For more movie and TV news, follow us on Twitter @screenrant and @feynmanguy.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Kill me now please if i have to watch another Burton movie.

    • No one says you have to watch ANYTHING. For my part, I happen to enjoy Burton’s films…

      • I am a fan of his films as well.

    • Well, kill me now because I liked his version of Batman and Sleepy hollow. When this comes out, I’ll be there.

  2. Damn! I just wanted to post a pic of Jackie Earle Haley next to a pic of Vic to point out that they look like twins. And that´s what I found when I googled for a pic of Vic:


    • HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Words cannot describe what you just posted :D

      • Lmao that’s great made me laugh out loud

    • Scape I was prepared to disagree and name other people who look more like vic. Then I clicked the link and wow lol. Thats the perfect pics to use to show your point lol. Your right.

      Separated at birth?

    • LMFAO!!! Twins!!! Just brilliant!

      • You guys are funny. :)


        • I always thought you did a great job in Watchmen. 8-)

    • I have always thought that.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of that lol.

      Conspiracy Theory: Maybe Vic IS Jackie Earle Haley, and he’s just been in disguise for a movie news website that he’s always wanted to run. BAM! Figured it out. :P

      • Conspiracy Theory? I wonder what 790 thinks of this… :D

  3. JACKIE NEEDS TO DO THIS!!!! i think he would be great in this role. all us fans are excited by the prospect of him doing another film and i think he has the right acting range to do this role and do it well.

    p.s. he isnt always a psycho or child molester in the roles he plays. point in fact, human target.
    need i say more

  4. Never was a fan of the original, so im meh

  5. Jackie Earle Haley is a great actor, Human Target is awesome and should get a bigger push from FOX. Guerrero is sick. I will watch anythng he is in.


  7. and Jackie Earle Haley still has time to reprise his role as Vic, on screenrant.com everyday

  8. I hope they don’t turn it into an abortion. Burton’s style is a little too avant-garde for a classic like DS. Who will play Johnny’s love interest, Josette/Maggie? I hope Burton emphasizes the lovelorn aspect of Barnabas’s character. The romance made the show very desirable. Just like the movie remake of Phantom of the Opera, which was extremely sensual and appealing, the new DS should be the same. It shouldn’t be a movie made for children and it should flow smoothly!

  9. Benicio del Torro as Barnabas Collins would have been a better choice. Gwyneth Paltrow as Carolyn, Julianne Moore as Maggie, Joan Collins as Elizabeth, Phil Collins as Roger, Anthony Hopkins as Prof. Stokes, Luke Wilson as Tod, David Caruso as Jeff, Susan Sarandon as Dr. Hoffman, Steve Buscemi as Willie…. What do you think?