[movieperson id=”16504″]Johnny Depp[/movieperson] promised that his take on the vampire Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton’s adaptation of “Dark Shadows” wouldn’t diverge greatly from the “classic look” of the character in the ’60s-era gothic soap opera. “I think it’s going to be somewhere in that arena, with maybe just a couple of different touches here and there,” Depp told MTV News.
Perhaps, though, things have changed more than a touch since then. Photos snapped of Depp on the U.K. set show a vampire less like the familiar Barnabas than something out of Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Depp’s take, complete with pancake makeup, reddened lips and wacky blue glasses, makes the vampire look decidedly inhuman. That’s a stark divergence from Jonathan Frid’s original Barnabas, who was kind of creepy but also a dapper gentleman with an aesthetic that didn’t scream, “Hey, world, I’m totally a supernatural creature!”
At the same time, what else were we expecting? This is a Depp-Burton joint, after all, and this duo is hardly known for subtlety or a reluctance to mess with the pop-culture past. So let’s not get crazy or cynical and swear off this new “Dark Shadows” based on a few paparazzi photos. Recall the deep affection Depp has for the ABC show, which premiered in 1966 and pulled in elements of gothic romance, ghost stories, time travel and a whole lot of weirdness over its 1,255-episode run. The actor has long held out a hope of bringing the material to the big screen and portraying Barnabus.
The new storyline begins in the 18th century, when Barnabas is turned into a vampire by the brokenhearted witch Angelique (Eva Green) and buried alive. The film then flashes forward two centuries, as Barnabas is freed from his tomb and returns to his home and the dysfunctional relatives who now reside there.
“We’re changing it a little bit,” Burton told us last fall. “I wouldn’t do it if it felt like it was just doing the same thing. For me, it’s about trying to go back to the original drawings and kind of capture that spirit a little bit more of what the drawings are. It feels different even though it’s a similar story, but we’re kind of expanding it a bit.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Dark Shadows.”
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