Monday, February 28, 2011

Helena Bonham Carter Talks Dark Shadows

Actress Helena Bonham Carter was out at last night's Oscar ceremony, where she was nominated for her role in The King's Speech. Wearing a black corset dress created by Colleen Atwood, she confirmed speculation that she is in talks to appear in the new Dark Shadows movie. MTV's Movie Blog caught up her to talk briefly about the Dark Shadows script, and a new direction for her character, Dr. Julia Hoffman:

"I think I'm going to do it [Dark Shadows]... and I think it's because, well, I've never played an alcoholic psychiatrist." Carter has appeared in several fims directed by her parter, Tim Burton, and initially assumed her wanted her for the role of the witch Angelique. "I thought it was a sexy part he wanted me for... I'm saying, 'Yeah, I can play the sexy witch.' And he said, 'No, you've done that. You're going to play the psychiatrist who's an alcoholic!'"

The original Dr. Hoffman, played by the late Grayson Hall, was a coolly efficient psychiatrist whose medical expertise knew few limits, eventually leading her to discover a medical cure for Barnabas' vampire condition; An alcohol problem promises to be an intriguing departure from the original storylines. To view video of the full interview, click here.

Carter missed out on an award, but Dark Shadows' costume designer Colleen Atwood scooped a win for her work on Alice in Wonderland. Original Dark Shadows actor David Selby (Quentin) also featured on screen during the evening's coverage in excerpts of The Social Network, which won three awards.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Remembering Joan Bennett

As it's Oscars night, here are some rare photographs of Dark Shadows' very own link to old Hollywood, actress Joan Bennett. These images were taken for Life magazine in 1940 during her filmmaking heyday, picturing the future mistress of Collinwood at home fielding calls, catching up with correspondence and signing autographs while taking lunch. Coincidentally, today would have been Joan's 101st birthday.

When I first saw Dark Shadows, I wrongly dismissed Joan as an awkward actress struggling to keep up with pace of live television. But on recent viewings, I've really come to appreciate the genuine air of class that she brought to the show. She never seemed to relax enough during tapings to overcome her anxious, slightly halting delivery, but her natural bearing and elegance always shone through. Nothing about Joan Bennett was mundane or everyday, and as the show's first headline performer, that quality set the tone for Dark Shadows from the very beginning.

More Movie Personnel Announced

IMDB continues to report on the recruitment of the upcoming Dark Shadows movie, currently in pre-production. The project's animatic artist will be Dan Maslen, working on the film's key visuals ahead of shooting. His previous credits as an animatic and storyboard artist include Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Wolfman and Green Zone.

Sheena Wichary has been announced as costume co-ordinator. Her previous credits include The Dark Knight, Clash of the Titans and War Horse. Also joining the wardrobe department is Christine Cantella as assistant costume buyer, fresh from working with Johnny Depp on Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Colleen Atwood Talks Movie Costumes

TheDishRag website caught up with Colleen Atwood earlier this week at the Costume Designers Guild Awards, where she was awarded for her work on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. At the event, she spoke briefly about her role as costume designer for the new Dark Shadows movie, on which she has just started work:

"I just had a fitting today, my first one, with Johnny [Depp], so I'm happy about that... It's gonna be really good. It's a funny script and I think people are really going to like it." To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Merchandise News

  • Hermes Press' second hardback volume of classic Dark Shadows comic strips was due out this month, but has now been postponed until the end of April. To pre-order the book at a discount price, click here.
  • Big Finish have released trailers for May's Dark Shadows audio dramas The Blind Painter and The Death Mask. To listen online, click here.
  • Race With the Devil, starring Lara Parker (Angelique) is being re-released on DVD, paired with Dirty Mary Crazy Harry and featuring audio commentary from Lara. The disc is out in April and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.
  • John Karlen's (Willie) racy European horror film Daughters of Darkness is set to receive the BluRay treatment in March with a new high definition release. The disc includes an audio commentary from John, plus other bonus features. To pre-order online click here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Movie Editor Announced has confirmed that Chris Lebenzon will be the film editor for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows movie. His previous credits include many past Burton projects, including Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, plus Oscar-nominated work on Top Gun and Crimson Tide.

Speaking to the website, Lebenzon describes the script for Dark Shadows as "terrific", adding "They got it right. It's a relationship movie. It's a lot of interaction of characters, from past and present." To read the full interview, click here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Movie Concept Artist Announced

IMDB is reporting that James Carson has been appointed as concept artist for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows movie, as pre-production continues.

Carson has worked with the film's production designer Rick Heinrichs on several projects, including Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Wolfman and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. His other credits include the Spider-Man series and Mission: Impossible III.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dress Up as Barnabas!

Costume specialists Elope are to release a range of officially-licensed Barnabas Collins costume pieces, allowing anyone to dress up as Collinsport's resident vampire at an affordable price.

The set launches with a deluxe Barnabas Inverness cape, wig, cane and ring available to buy separately. Prices range from $78.99 for the cape to just $3.99 for the ring. At $39.99, the wolf's head cane promises to be particularly popular, as the authentic design has only ever been available from specialist retailers at premium prices.

The range will be available from August and should be available to order soon.

David Henesy Checks In

David Henesy, who played young David Collins on the original series, recently got in contact with this site to give an update on his current activities.

Since leaving acting in the early 1970s, David has remained one of the most elusive members of the Dark Shadows cast. For over 25 years, he's worked in the hospitality industry, overseeing many successful restaurant and hotel projects and is now happily married and living in Panama.

David and his wife Carolina recently celebrated the birth of their new daughter Mathilda, back in January. His latest business project is a a group of upscale restaurants in the area, operating under the banner of the Henesy-Rodriguez Group (HRG), who say "If Dark Shadows fans are in the area, we would love to receive them at the restaurants."

For more information, visit the group's official website by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From the Archives: February 1967

Here's an interesting press cutting from February 7 1967, published in Kansas' Fort Scott Tribune. In a piece titled Hope's Christmas Show Tops Neilsen, Cynthia Lowry of the Associated Press discussed advertiser prices for commercial airtime, touching on Dark Shadows.

"Daytime charges for commercial time are much lower... The [per] minute cost for CBS' As the World Turns, the most popular soap opera, is $14,000. It drops to $3,600 for ABC's Dark Shadows."

At this time, eight months into its run, Dark Shadows was still struggling to establish itself in the ratings, with the network putting the show on probation. With an edict to improve audience numbers within the next three months, the production team set to work on a new character to give the show a fresh direction. In a matter of weeks, Barnabas Collins would arrive at Collinwood and Dark Shadows would finally connect with a mass audience.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Movie Cast Revealed

The MTV Movie Blog reports that casting for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows movie is continuing apace, with two major names currently in discussions for the roles of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Dr. Julia Hoffman.

Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Pfeiffer is linked with the part of Collinwood matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, a character originally played by Hollywood legend Joan Bennett. Pfeiffer previously worked with Burton on Batman Returns, giving one of her most memorable performances as Catwoman. Her other roles include The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liaisons, Frankie and Johnny, and more recently Stardust.

Meanwhile, Tim Burton's partner and frequent collaborator Helena Bonham Carter is set to play Barnabas' ally Dr. Julia Hoffman, first portrayed by Grayson Hall. Carter is currently riding high from her acclaimed role in The King's Speech, which netted her a BAFTA award at the weekend. She has appeared alongside Johnny Depp in Burton's Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland, and features in the Harry Potter films as Bellatrix Lestrange. Her other credits include Fight Club, The Wings of the Dove and Terminator Salvation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Johnny Depp Praises Jonathan Frid

During an interview for MTV promoting his new animated feature film Rango, Johnny Depp has spoken about his upcoming role as Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton's Dark Shadows remake, paying tribute to original actor Jonathan Frid. As recently reported, Jonathan has confirmed he will be contributing to the project.

"What Jonathan Frid did with that character and that classic look he created, I find it very difficult to stray very far from that," says the actor on his plans for interpreting Barnabas. "I think it's going to be somewhere in that area, with maybe just a couple of different touches here and there... There's something about this vampire coming back after 200 years into this modern world, with a touch of the poetic... I have a good feeling about it. But Jonathan Frid's Barnabas was so special."

To to view video of the full interview, click here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Movie Crew at the BAFTAs

The British Academy of Film and Television held their annual BAFTA awards in London this evening, and some personnel from the upcoming Dark Shadows film were in attendance.

Director Tim Burton accompanied his partner, Helena Bonham Carter, who scooped a Best Supporting Actress award for The King's Speech. Costume designer Colleen Atwood was awarded for her work on Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Later in the evening, Tim Burton presented Christopher Lee with the academy fellowship in recognition of his long career.

In other Dark Shadows movie news, IMDB is now listing Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel as the project's director of photography. His previous work includes the stunning visuals seen in Amelie, along with Infamous and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unseen Pilot Clip

A clip from the little-seen 2004 Dark Shadows pilot has surfaced online, as part of a showreel on actor Alec Newman's official website. The sequence features Alec as Barnabas alongside Marley Shelton as Victoria. To view the video click here and select the media section.

Since the making of the pilot episode, Alec has maintained his Dark Shadows ties by recording several audio dramas for Big Finish Productions. This blog is currently running a prize draw, with a chance to win an original script signed by Alec and Kathryn Leigh Scott. To enter, click here.

Movie Recruitment Begins

Industry website IMDB is reporting a number of crew appointments for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows feature film, as pre-production continues.

Derek Frey is now listed as associate producer, having previously worked alongside Tim Burton on several film projects. Katterli Frauenfelder, another frequent Burton collaborator, is the project's first assistant director. On the visual side, Andrew Bennett has joined the project as assistant art director. His previous credits include The Wolfman, Clash of the Titans and the Harry Potter series. Elsewhere, Cheryl Beasley is the film's costume supervisor, with Courtney Hoffman as costume buyer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Actor Updates

  • Bunny girls are set to be big in 2011 with the production of NBC's 1960s-set drama Playboy. Dark Shadows fans will be aware of the show's connection with the famed clubs; Susan Sullivan (ghost) worked as a Bunny girl alongside Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie). Kathryn wrote the definitive history of the clubs, The Bunny Years, based on her own experiences and numerous original interviews.
  • Marie Wallace (Eve) is appearing on stage in New York City from March 9-20 in The Chiselers, a play she first performed last year. Performances take place on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
  • The recent screening of David Selby's (Quentin) film The Super Cops prompted a successful campaign on Twitter for its release on DVD, led by director Edgar Wright. The Warner Archive has announced plans to issue the film in the near future.
  • Cable channel TCM is to show a marathon of Joan Bennett (Elizabeth) movies on May 11, including House of Dark Shadows.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Movie Production Designer Speaks

Rick Heinrichs, production designer of Tim Burton's upcoming Dark Shadows movie, has spoken briefly about the project in an interview with website Blog of Dark Shadows. Discussing his creative vision for the film, Heinrichs confirms that the visual style of the original show will influence the new production: "The reason we're doing Dark Shadows... is to explore what was great about the series and the character of Barnabas Collins. We intend to make it a world the series' many fans will enjoy."

To read the full interview, click here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

2011 Dark Shadows Festival Update

ShadowGram reports that the 2011 Dark Shadows Festival will be held at the New York Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, New York from August 19-21, celebrating 45 years of Dark Shadows.

A limited number of rooms are available at the special discount price of $159.00 per night plus tax. To make a reservation, call 1-800-266-9432, quoting the reference 'Dark Shadows Festival 2011 Room Block' to receive the reduced rate.

Confirmed guests include Jonathan Frid (Barnabas), David Selby (Quentin, Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie), Kathleen Cody (Hallie), Marie Wallace (Eve), Sharon Smyth (Sarah), Donna Wandrey (Roxanne) and Robert Cobert (music composer), with more to be announced. Pricing for the weekend and the Sunday evening banquet are being finalised and registration details should be confirmed soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Movie Angelique Cast?

Hot on the heels of yesterday's casting news for the Dark Shadows movie, website Deadline New York is reporting that French-born actress Eva Green is in negotiations to play the role of the witch Angelique, Barnabas' eternal nemesis, first portrayed by Lara Parker.

Green is best known for the recent James Bond film Casino Royale, along with appearing in Kingdom of Heaven and The Golden Compass. To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Movie Casting Begins

Variety reports that casting is underway for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows movie, with Australian actress Bella Heathcote in discussions to play the role of heroine Victoria Winters, first portrayed by Alexandra Moltke. Heathcote's previous credits include the films Acolytes and Beneath Hill 60, plus a stint on soap opera Neighbours. Most recently, she has been cast to appear alongside Justin Timberlake in Now.

Interestingly, the character of Victoria is described as "a waitress whom [Barnabas] Collins takes a shine to because of her resemblance to his long-lost love", which if accurate, suggests that this version of Victoria will combine elements of Maggie Evans' character more directly than in previous Dark Shadows remakes.

The same article also confirms that Dark Shadows is slated for a 2012 release and that Christi Dembrowski is working on the film as a producer, alongside the previously announced Richard Zanuck and David Kennedy. To read the full piece, click here.

Elsewhere, on Deadline Hollywood, columnist Mike Fleming says that Jackie Earle Haley is the contender for the role of Barnabas' drifter servant Willie Loomis, originally played by John Karlen. Haley is probably best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, along with roles in Shutter Island and the comic book adaptation Watchmen. To read the full article, click here.