Tim Burton is eyeing Michelle Pfeiffer and longtime girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter to join his Dark Shadows cast, which includes leading man Johnny Depp, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green and Bella Heathcote.
Burton doesn't tire of actors; he keeps them in his movie family, calling upon them when the part is right. For Depp (who starred in Burton's Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland) it's Barnabus Collins this time, a vampire living in a Manor in Maine -- known as the Collinwood estate -- while searching for a lost love. Eva Green will play Angelique, a powerful witch with whom Collins enjoys a love/hate relationship. Pfieffer (who played Catwoman in Burton's 1992 Batman Returns) is pegged for Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the Collins' family matriarch who runs the manor (which she hasn't left since her husband's disappearance ten years ago). Rumor has it that Bonham Carter (who made Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland with Burton, as well as mothering his two children) may play Dr. Julia Hoffman, a psychology and rare-blood-disorder specialist brought to the manor...
Initially a threat to Collins, Dr. Hoffman ends up being an ally to his self-loathing vampire self. Haley will play the conman Willie Loomis, and Heathcoate will play the Manor's young governess, Victoria Winters. Shooting begins in April. It's clear Burton has a penchant for one-of-a-kind performers and faces. Dark Shadows could be just the beginning in the Burton film family for newcomers Green, Earle and Heathcote.
[Depp and Bonham Carter pictured in Sweeney Todd]
On working with Depp, Burton has said: "I always love working with Johnny, from Scissorhands on, for many reasons. He likes to play characters and be different things, he doesn’t like watching himself, which I love because that makes it a lot easier for me. Each time we do something he’s always trying to do something different, and it’s great when you know somebody and they keep surprising you."
Bonham Carter and Burton's working relationship, meanwhile, is full of humor. The couple told the Daily Mail that Burton finds her hilarious, and likes to point out her "hyperactive eyebrows" which he considers dancing caterpillars. Bonham Carter adds: "He thinks I over-act all the time… He's got a thing about me having a very mobile face." During shoots together, Burton passes the time laughing at her shortcomings and self-deprecation (she says she hates everything she does and thinks, "Oh, no, after all that effort, it's still me," when she watches her work). As for the shy Burton, Bonham Carter says she "used to say that he was a home for abandoned sentences."
Christopher Nolan is also sticking to what works. Original concept Inception and comic franchise sequel The Dark Knight both proved box office potency, and Nolan's choice of actors gets some of the credit. He's rumored to be taking three of Inception's stand-out actors for The Dark Knight Rises. Tom Hardy is confirmed, Marion Cotillard is in talks and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is rumored to be playing a villain. Nolan amplified their star power, so he might as well use it.
[Photos: Eva Green - Sylvie Lanceron]