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First Look: Depp, Pfeiffer, Bonham Carter in Burton's Unearthly Dark Shadows Ensemble

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood September 23, 2011 at 3:16AM

With Johnny Depp background and center as a centuries-old vampire, this "family photo" from the upcoming Dark Shadows film, directed by Tim Burton, reveals an unearthly ensemble. Dark Shadows will revamp the ABC 1966-1971 soap opera, which focused on the lives of supernatural siblings and their extended family, including witches, ghosts, and all manners of gothic horrors.
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Thompson on Hollywood

With Johnny Depp background and center as a centuries-old vampire, this "family photo" from the upcoming Dark Shadows film, directed by Tim Burton, reveals an unearthly ensemble. Dark Shadows will revamp the ABC 1966-1971 soap opera, which focused on the lives of supernatural siblings and their extended family, including witches, ghosts, and all manners of gothic horrors.

Thompson on Hollywood

An early snapshot of Johnny Depp in full pancake make-up and oversize sunglasses sparked fear in Dark Shadows loyalists that Depp's portrayal of Barnabas Collins would be too off-the-wall, but this first look photo suggests that with dim gothic lighting, Depp's look achieves a subtler creepiness. Entertainment Weekly wrote that Depp's look as Barnabas Collins pays homage to the "aged-little boy" expression of the original Dark Shadows star, Jonathan Frid.

In addition to Depp's portrayal of an Revolutionary War era businessman turned Vampire, the cast includes Burton regular (and better half) Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, a psychiatrist hired by the Collins family to attend to their youngest son. Eva Green, Chloë Moretz, Della Heathcote, Gulliver McGrath, Ray Shirely, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, and Michelle Pfeiffer complete the ensemble cast. (EW has more on the background of each Dark Shadows character here.)

The movie, which is filming now, is set for May 2012 release.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, First Look, Production , Tim Burton, Fantasy, Johnny Depp


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.