April 22, 2012

TV Vampire Classic “DARK SHADOWS” Now a Big-Screen Comedy


From visionary director Tim Burton comes the big-screen adaptation of the TV vampire classic “Dark Shadows” featuring an all-star cast, led by perennial collaborator Johnny Depp. The film also stars Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonny Lee Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Victoria Winters and Gully McGrath.

“Dark Shadows” begins in the year 1752, when Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

The film marks Depp’s eighth collaboration with visionary filmmaker Tim Burton, who most recently reimagined Lewis Caroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” also starring the actor. Burton remembers the original “Dark Shadows” TV series as a childhood obsession and constant distraction from his homework. “I just loved the tone of it,” the director recalls. “It was about the music and languid pace and how seriously the actors took it. It was basically a soap opera, but with a supernatural undercurrent to it, which made it very different. It was like a weird kind of nightmare in the mid-afternoon. There was nothing quite like it.”

Their goal from the beginning was to honor the Dan Curtis-created series while making an original film with a contemporary sensibility. Legendary producer Richard D.Zanuck, who marks his sixth collaboration with Burton, was thrilled with the filmmaker’s take on the world of “Dark Shadows.” “The tone encapsulates a lot of humor, a lot of compassion, and although there’s blood, it’s hardly a typical vampire movie,” Zanuck says. “There are eccentric characters, and it’s a little off-center, a little over the top, and very much Tim Burton. You probably hear this a lot, and it always sounds disingenuous to say, but this movie has something for everyone. It’s got very passionate, operatic moments, heartbreaking tragedy, romance, terror and this unexpected humor.”

“When the script came in, you could see what an incredibly fun ride it was going to be,” adds Oscar-winning producer Graham King. “But then you add the layer of Tim Burton’s magical directing and this incredible cast. Tim is also being very respectful of the series because we’re all cognizant that there are a lot of `Dark Shadows’ fans out there. He’s making a film that is as unique as the series was, but it’s obviously made for today’s audiences. It’s big in scope, and really, really funny.”

David Kennedy, who produces along with Zanuck, King, Depp and Christi Dembrowski, was the producing partner of television icon Dan Curtis, who created “Dark Shadows” and introduced television audiences for the first time to a sexy, sympathetic vampire protagonist. “There was never a vampire on television until Barnabas Collins,” Kennedy relates. “And one of the things that makes Barnabas so different is that he doesn’t like being a vampire, but he knows he’s condemned to be one forever, so he’s an enormously sympathetic character. And what’s thrilling about the movie is that it’s absolutely loyal to the key characters, but it’s an original take on the series.”

Opening across the Philippines on May 10, “Dark Shadows” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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