Today Entertainment Weekly revealed the first official look at the cast in character for DARK SHADOWS, director Tim Burton‘s anticipated take on the legendary (and campy) ABC gothic soap from the 1960s. Johnny Depp, himself a lifelong fan of the show, stars as troubled vampire Barnabas Collins returning from the dead to further bedevil his descendants two centuries after a witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) cursed him to be one the undead in the late 1700s.
The cast pictured above also includes Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, Michelle Pfeiffer as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Chloe Moretz as her daughter Carolyn Stoddard, Gulliver McGrath as her young brother David, Jonny Lee Miller as his father Roger Collins, Bella Heathcote as David’s new governess Victoria Winters, and Jackie Earle Haley as groundskeeper Willie Loomis.
Paparazzi pics revealed earlier this month showed Depp on location with stark white pancake makeup covering his face, ruby red lips and drastic cheek shadows that bore little resemblance to the mostly naturalistic look of Barnabas as played by Jonathan Frid on the daytime drama. Many hardcore fans and DS devotees balked at this quasi-Kabuki look for Burton’s updated Barnabas, but an unnamed insider quickly followed that the photos did not show Barnabas in his usual appearance as seen during much of production. This new official release from Warner Brothers via EW may calm many nerves about Depp’s look as the Collins family vampire, but audiences at large should still expect plenty of stylish changes made to both the characters and the soap-based story itself.
One major plot update, as confirmed by screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, has Angelique burying the cursed Barnabas in his crypt in the late 1700s where he survived, starving, for two centuries until construction workers break into his tomb in 1972. With no word (so far) that the cast will be playing dual roles from the 18th and 20th centuries (as the original series eventually did to tell Barnabas’ origin story), it appears the bulk of Burton’s film takes place in the 1970s setting with Depp’s vampire returning as the bat-out-of-blood to confront his descendants in Collinsport.
Until Warners reveals more details, expect the potential for plenty more Burton-esque reinterpretation of DARK SHADOWS when it sinks its teeth into theaters May 11, 2012. FilmEdge is hoping this update leans more toward the headless horrors of SLEEPY HOLLOW in Burton’s career than the CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY meltdown. Something akin to BEETLEJUICE with a bit less humor may be the Collins family compromise between the two extremes.