Johnny Depp Won’t Stray Far From Jonathan Frid’s Performance For ‘Dark Shadows’

Sweeney Todd. Ichabod Crane. Willy Wonka. Make no mistake about it, Johnny Depp is used to thriving in the shadows of established, beloved characters. But even though the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor has brought his own unique take to these well-known roles, he’s approaching his latest shadow, Barnabas Collins, with a bit of caution.

When Depp begins shooting “Dark Shadows” with director Tim Burton this spring, he’ll be forced to tackle the same role played so famously and expertly by Jonathan Frid on the 1960s gothic soap. Those are big shoes to fill, and Depp knows it – in fact, he’s planning on skewing quite closely to what worked so well with Frid’s performance.

“For me, even the conversations I’ve had with Tim, what Jonathan Frid did with that character and that classic look he created, I find it very difficult to stray very far from that,” he told MTV News while promoting “Rango,” his upcoming animated collaboration with director Gore Verbinski. “I think it’s going to be somewhere in that arena, with maybe just a couple of different touches here and there.”

In “Dark Shadows,” Depp will play Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire who crosses paths with the youthful Victoria Winters and the devious Willie Loomis, played in the film by Bella Heathcoate and Jackie Earle Haley. For Depp, it’s the character’s ancient quality that drew him to Barnabas in the first place.

“There’s something about this vampire coming back after 200 years into this modern world, with a touch of the poetic, with maybe a tendency to maybe wax a little poetic now and again,” he mused. “I have a good feeling about it. But Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas was so special.”

Do you think Depp’s take on Barnabas will measure up to Frid’s? Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!