When the first photos of Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins leaked onto the internet, many people were turned off by the wanna be Michael Jackson look. Now we have the official photo from the movie ‘Dark Shadows’ showcasing Depp and the rest of the cast in a family like portrait.
Many fans of the original series should feel a little comforted as Depp’s Barnabas is strikingly similar to Johnathan Frid’s look. In an exclusive interview with EW, Burton says about the photograph:
“I remember seeing a group photograph of the cast of the original series. For me it captured the weird Dark Shadows vibe in a single image. I had a brief window of opportunity to have our cast present at the same time, the day before principle photography began. We decided to stage a similar picture instead of rehearsing, to see if we captured the Dark Shadows feeling.”
This family portrait does seem to catch that ‘Dark Shadow’ aura and by the looks of it, it’s a great duplication of the group photo from the original series as you can see here:
Both Depp and Tim Burton (who is directing the movie) are big fans of the supernatural soap opera. In fact, Depp has spent years trying to get this movie remake into production. “I do remember, very vividly, practically sprinting home from school in the afternoon to see Jonathan Frid play Barnabas Collins,” the actor says. “Even then, at that age, I knew — this has got to be weird.” With Burton as director, you know that weird will be covered in this movie.
If you’re unfamiliar with the characters and their backstories, here’s a brief intro starting from left to right in the portrait from the movie’s screenplay writer Seth Grahame-Smith:
Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter, sitting at the far left) – This prim and proper psychiatrist, who has taken up residence with the Collins family to care for their troubled youngest boy, might seem to break that trend — but don’t bet on it. “Dr. Hoffman’s been there for years, working with David (the little boy in the photo) but not making any progress. He still claims he sees ghosts and talks with his dead mother,” Grahame-Smith says. “She’s crazy but brilliant. Obviously she’s an eccentric, and definitely likes a drink or two. She’s definitely a little bit off her rocker, and is a woman with a lot of secrets herself.” The writer teases: “She’ll also become interested in Barnabas in more than one way. “
Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Moretz) — Carolyn Stoddard is on the human side of the spectrum in ‘Dark Shadows’ — but this this cousin of young David Collins (and daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, seen on the far right) isn’t without her own peculiarities. “Carolyn is your typical early-1970s teenager. She likes her music and likes her magazines, and does not like anyone in her family. She likes to keep her door closed and keep to herself. She’s pretty normal, but appearances can be deceiving. I wouldn’t say there is a normal person in this photo.”
Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) — “Angelique is a witch who has known Barnabas since the 1700s, when they had an affair that went sour. She is the one who cursed him to be a vampire and locked him in that box,” Grahame-Smith says. “Since he has been away, Angelique has made it her life’s mission to destroy the Collins family. So when Barnabas turns up again after all these years, she’s not very happy to see him.”
David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) — Lonely, confused, and neglected by his pompous father (Jonny Lee Miller, over on the right next to Pfeiffer), David has no one to confide in except his bizarre psychiatrist — and the dead people he claims to see. He is a sweet, curious, precocious little boy whose family has branded him as slightly crazy.” Then he finally gets a new caretaker to look after him …
Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) — This young woman arrives to become David’s new governess, only to find herself swept up in the vampire-witch melodrama. “When Barnabas meets Victoria, he’s instantly reminded of the woman he lost in the 1700s, before he was cursed to be a vampire,” Grahame-Smith says. “I wouldn’t say he falls in love with her, but there’s an instant attraction, an instant connection. We get the sense at the beginning she has a secret past, and that’s unraveled as it goes on.” Is she the reincarnation of Barnabas’ doomed lover Josette du Pres?
Barnabas Collins (Depp) — He was an 18th century gentleman, a businessman just before the Revolutionary War, who was transformed against his will into a vampire and buried in a tomb for two centuries. After he finally emerges, uncovered by construction workers in the year 1972, he seeks out his descendants — as well as some long-ago foes and a possible lost love. “He’s been alive this whole time and very hungry, with no idea what’s going on outside,” says Seth Grahame-Smith “Despite his confusion, he’s still a ladies man. In some sense he can be a terrifying killer; on the other hand, women have a weakness for him and he has a weakness for women,” Grahame-Smith says. “He can be a very well-mannered, well-meaning vampire most of the time, until his stomach is empty or someone challenges his beloved Collins family.” . Producer Richard Zanuck adds that “Barnabas is one vampire who is just as frightened of our times as we are of him. Two-hundred years later, he’s suddenly walking into the town he saw being built and seeing girls in skirts, cars for the first time. It’s a man-out-of-time, supernatural horror story, but I put ‘horror’ in quotes.”
Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley, sitting in the chair behind Depp) — “She is the mostly blind, mostly deaf maid, who has been with them for decades and decades. You might find her polishing a piece of silverware with a slab of baloney because she thinks it’s a polishing cloth. I don’t think she actually says anything in the entire film. She’s just sort of there… Adding her was Tim’s idea.”
Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) — “He’s the guy who takes out the trash, mows the lawns, and fixes the cars, except he’s usually so drunk and so disinterested that he doesn’t take his job seriously anymore,” Grahame-Smith says. “The lawn is overgrown, the house has fallen into disrepair, and all the cars are on cinder blocks. His heart’s definitely not in the job anymore.”
Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) — A descendent of the once-great Collins family clan is one of the main reasons the aristocratic clan has fallen into such disgrace. “He’s a creepy, self-centered guy who likes to order Willie around, likes to pretend the family is still on top of his game,” Grahame-Smith says. Not only is he a bad father to David, but he is a poor manager of whatever meager wealth the family retains. “When Barnabas shows up and has some very specific ideas about how to make things right, he’s obviously going to bump heads with Roger Collins.”
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) — The mother of Carolyn Stoddard, and mother-figure to David, she’s the one adult member of the Collins clan who is at least slightly competent. “Elizabeth is the rock of the family. She’s the matriarch,” Grahame-Smith says. “She’s the keeper of the Collins history, and a fierce protector of what remains of her family. She’s the one that insists on the best care for the children, even though money isn’t what it used to be. She’s a very strong woman who unfortunately has been dealt a very difficult deck.” With a witch perpetually trying to destroy her, and a long lost vampire relative turning up to reclaim control, “there’s just too much for her to handle,” Grahame-Smith says.
‘Dark Shadows’ will creep into theaters next year on May 11.
(Special Thanks to EW for the character synopsis)