Now that Tim Burton and regular filmmaking friend Johnny Depp have finally been able to scrape together both a workable script and time in their schedules to make it, their planned cinematic version of spooky US soap Dark Shadows is creeping its way towards production. And they’ve started looking around for other actors to sign on, with Jackie Earle Haley and newcomer Bella Heathcote both in talks.
The series, which ran between 1966 and 1971 across the pond, was that rare soap opera to try something truly different in between the cheap sets and the OTT performances. Originally planned as a gothic romance story, it crept towards the supernatural more and more, with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and other things that go bump in the night cropping up.
Committed fan Depp is starring as charismatic vamp Barnabas Collins and, if he signs on, Haley would be Willie Loomis, a crafty con man who tries to swindle the family living in Collins’ mansion, then cracks open the mausoleum looking to steal what he thinks will be the dead man’s jewels. Sadly, the coffin contains a very active Barnabas, who turns Loomis into his servant.
Neighbours veteran Bella Heathcote, meanwhile (who landed a role on David Chase’s Twylight Zones and was considered for Snow White and the Huntsman), may play a pivotal role as Victoria Winters, a great love of Barnabas’ life. Or, if you read Variety’s report, a local woman who turns out to be a dead ringer for Victoria.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the most recent draft of the script, which finally convinced Warner Bros. to start thinking about giving the thumbs up the production. With luck, it’ll finally start shooting in a couple of months ready to release next year.