Johnny Depp Promises 'Outside And Strange' Vampire In 'Dark Shadows'

Johnny DeppFor almost as long as Johnny Depp and his collaborators have been developing an adaptation of the deeply strange '60s soap opera, "Dark Shadows," they've been talking publicly about what a truly complex task it is.

"It's one thing to adapt a weekly television series into a movie — it's another thing to take a soap opera that's been serialized daily and try to boil it down to two hours," Sam Sarkar, Depp's producing partner, told MTV News in March '09.

It's not just the sheer size of the "Dark Shadows" canon — over 1,225 episodes ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971, incorporating everything from ghosts and zombies to time-travel and Gothic-tinged romance — that presents a challenge. It's also, as director Tim Burton put it, the difficulty of "captur[ing] that weird tone of the show."

Depp, in particular, faces the daunting challenge of portraying Barnabas Collins, the colorful vampire at the center of the series. Though he's longed to play the character since his childhood, Depp is still in the process of figuring out just who a big-screen Barnabas really is.

"He's coming around," Depp told us recently. "He's a guy who I think is going to be very interesting. He's going to be a lot of fun in a very outside and strange way. I'm excited."

With production on the film expected to begin next spring, Burton, Depp and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") are still hammering out the script. But as Burton told us last month, he's digging how the whole thing is coming together.

"I'm working on the script, and it's been kind of a long time coming, but I think I'm getting a script that I like," he said. I don't really like talking because I'm not really sure what's happening yet, but I'm excited about it. I think, yes, finally for me, it's getting to be the right tone."

Are you excited for another Depp-Burton collaboration on "Dark Shadows"?