Monday, May 30, 2011

Tim Burton Says No To 3D Shadows

In an interview with The Wrap to promote his art exhibition at LACMA, director Tim Burton has spoken about the Dark Shadows feature film for the first time since filming began, confirming that it is not being produced in 3D: "I have no plans for [it]. I loved doing Alice in Wonderland in 3D. I think people should have a choice. I don't think it should be forced on anybody."

Burton also spoke about the initial shooting for Dark Shadows, revealing: "It's been hard to kind of come here [to Los Angeles] because I'm just starting, and it's a weird tone and it's a lot of actors and, you know, we're not starting with the simple stuff... we're sort of getting right in there. You like to kind of sneak up on it a little bit, but this one we just kind of slammed right into it."

Capturing the soap opera atmosphere of the original episodes is something the film is actively trying to recreate. "That's part of what the vibe of the show is, and there's something about it that we want to get... it's early days. I'm very intrigued by the tone. It's a real ethereal tone we're trying to go for and I don't know yet." To read the full interview, click here.

IMDB has reported more crew appointments for the movie. Des Whelan is Dark Shadows' camera operator, with his previous work including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Tudors and The Wolfman. Michael Byrne is the film's assistant make-up artist, with his other work including the forthcoming Wuthering Heights and Wrath of the Titans. Simon Priestman is visual effects camera operator, having worked on Angels & Demons and the television series Helicopter Heroes. And finally, Leah Gallo is the unit's stills photographer, having previously photographed Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd.

Movie Set Construction Continues

Work is now well underway on the backlot set for the new Dark Shadows feature film, as construction continues in Bourne Woods, Surrey. These new photographs, courtesy of Aston5Man, show the progress made on the structure, thought to be the exterior of Collinwood.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Picture of the Week: Showbiz Frid

Jonathan Frid (Barnabas) holds court in his dressing room at the studio. "I just wish Dark Shadows would settle down," he told Flip magazine in April 1969. "It's become such a fad. We're so far 'in' this year that by next year we could be way, way 'out' of it! And I hope that doesn't happen."

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tim Burton To Make LACMA Appearance

Dark Shadows movie director Tim Burton will be taking a brief break from shooting to make a rare personal appearance in Los Angeles on May 28. Tim will be appearing be at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to launch its exhibition of his artwork and sign copies of The Art of Tim Burton from 12.00-2.00pm.

LACMA's Tim Burton exhibition runs from May 29-October 31. For more information, click here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Movie Set Construction

Exterior set construction for the Dark Shadows feature film is currently underway at Bourne Woods in England. The Surrey location has provided backdrops for numerous movies, including Robin Hood, The Wolfman and Captain America: The First Avenger. Some images showing the work at an early stage have surfaced, courtesy of Aston5Man.

Meanwhile, IMDB has reported another slew of crew appointments. Kate Gabriel is Dark Shadows' art department co-ordinator, with past credits including Robin Hood and The Bourne Ultimatum. Sandy Heslop is the production's previsualisation animator. His other work includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Kait Pickering is the costume department's production assistant, Natasha Jones is the assistant graphic artist, while Andrew Ainscow and Marlon Cole join the props team. Finally, Neil Swain is the film's dialect coach, having previously worked with Helena Bonham-Carter (Julia Hoffman) on The King's Speech.

Picture of the Week: Fitting Fangs

Jonathan Frid gets into character as Barnabas in the Dark Shadows make-up room in 1968. "At first, we were pretty tentative about letting him bite anybody," producer Robert Costello told the Rochester Sentinel in 1969. "We brought him on with big hoopla... but we would only let him nibble at a victim's wrist."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dark Shadows Movie Press Release

Warner Bros have issued a press release for the Dark Shadows feature film, which includes production and plot information. The bulletin announces that the role of Roger Collins will be played by British actor Jonny Lee Miller.

Roger, originally portrayed by the late Louis Edmonds, was the troubled brother of Collinwood matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Jonny's other credits include a recurring role on Dexter, along with film appearances in Trainspotting, Plunkett & Macleane, Love, Honour and Obey, and a recent stint on stage at the National Theatre in Frankenstein.

The full press release is reproduced below. Please note that this includes potential plot spoilers...
Filming Begins on Tim Burton's Dark Shadows
Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter head an all-star cast.

BURBANK, Calif. Filming begins this week on Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' Dark Shadows, which brings the cult classic television series to the big screen under the direction of Tim Burton. The film's all-star ensemble cast includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, and newcomer Gulliver McGrath.

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy… until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Brouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth's ne'er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger's precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David's new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.

Burton is directing and producing Dark Shadows from a screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, story by John August and Grahame-Smith, based on the television series created by Dan Curtis. Also producing are Oscar® winner Richard D. Zanuck (Alice in Wonderland, Driving Miss Daisy), continuing his long association with Burton; Oscar® winner Graham King (Rango, The Departed), continuing his collaboration with Depp; Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, and David Kennedy. The executive producers are Chris Lebenzon, Nigel Gostelow, Tim Headington, and Bruce Berman.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, Oscar®-winning production designer Rick Heinrichs (Sleepy Hollow), Oscar®-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland) and editor Chris Lebenzon (Alice in Wonderland). The score will be composed by Danny Elfman.

Dark Shadows is being filmed entirely in England, both at Pinewood Studios and on location.

Dark Shadows will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Dark Shadows Movie Begins Filming

Today, after nearly four years in development, the new Dark Shadows movie began principal photography at England's Pinewood Studios, under the direction of Tim Burton. The news was confirmed by a number of personnel connected with the production on Twitter, including fabric dyers Schultz & Wiremu, who posted yesterday that "filming starts in the morning!" A big screen re-imagining of Dark Shadows has been a long time coming, and we'd like to wish the cast and crew the very best of luck.

Over the next year, Dark Shadows will receive global attention on a scale unlike anything it's experienced before. That's something really worth thinking about for a moment. Millions of people, and yes, it is millions, in many countries will experience Barnabas Collins, Collinwood and the Dark Shadows world for the very first time. At the time of production, the original show was often dismissed as a fad – a little fluke in television history that sprung out of a creative team scrambling for a new direction as their stories failed to catch on. It enjoyed, by soap opera standards, a brief, vibrant run, but was undoubtedly a happy accident, rather than the product of a cohesive version.

In the 35 years since the show left the air, Dark Shadows has been a bit of a sleeper hit. Its actors and fan community are justifiably proud of the series, and perhaps sometimes a little over-protective. The original episodes tend not to be slow-paced, but do have long scenes typical of that era's as-live productions. And, whereas its peers largely have faded from memory, Dark Shadows lives on in DVDs, its quaint, lumbering majesty intact. As fans, we all know just how good much of it is, but to the uninitiated, viewing those shows will always be a culture shock. For every great performance, there's a hopeless flubbed exchange; for every technical triumph, there's a boom mike yo-yoing into shot. To those who can appreciate it, Dark Shadows is sublime; To unkind eyes, it's substandard television.

So it's understandable when fans worry about how the world will greet our modest little ugly duckling of a show. We might cringe at bloopers and pre-empt inevitable carping, but with this film, Dark Shadows will stand on its own two feet, with a top-notch cast and crew recreating the show on a bold, ambitious scale. To hear Johnny Depp – one of the world's most bankable, acclaimed actors – paying sincere tribute to the talents of Jonathan Frid sweeps aside any number of trivial worries about gaffes or forgotten lines. Whatever the merits of the finished movie, no one ever need apologise for Dark Shadows again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

News in Brief

  • The new album Monster Pajama Party features a couple of Dark Shadows-inspired tracks, including The Ballad of Barnabas Collins. To purchase it on download from Amazon, click here.
  • Ben Cross (1991 Barnabas) will no longer be appearing the LA Theatreworks production of Dracula. As previously reported, he was to star alongside David Selby (Quentin). Ben has withdrawn to take a role in a new film. Speaking of David Selby, his recent novel The Blue Door is now available as a Kindle ebook. To order it online, click here.
  • Michael T. Weiss (1991 Joe) guest-starred in the May 6 episode of CBS' Blue Bloods.
  • And continuing with the 1991 Dark Shadows cast, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (David) can be seen alongside Natalie Portman in the new film Hesher, which has just received a limited release in the US. He's also set to appear in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is written by new Dark Shadows screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith and produced by Tim Burton.

Movie Production Update

Production on the Dark Shadows feature film is now underway, with news tricking through from the movie's base at England's Pinewood Studios. Site-Eye, a company who provide time lapse filming services, told the Dark Shadows News Page's Twitter feed that they had made "a visit to Pinewood Studios to check out our new time lapse of the new Tim Burton set for Dark Shadows." For more information about Site-Eye, click here.

Elsewhere, an article on BBC News about the dying art of broom-making reports that specialist Sue Nash has recently supplied traditional brooms for Dark Shadows. Meanwhile, IMDB continues to report crew appointments. Chris Low is the film's supervising art director, with his credits including Quantum of Solace and Captain America: The First Avenger. Joining him as art directors are Dean Clegg, Jason Knox-Johnston, Neal Callow and Phil Sims.

David Balfour is the film's property master, with Michael Parkin on props, and James Wade acting as video assistant. And finally, Bryan Kopp is the costume department's illustrator, having previously worked on Alice in Wonderland.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Picture of the Week: Making Movies

As the new Dark Shadows movie gears up for filming, this week we look back to the show's first outing on the big screen in House of Dark Shadows. Here's a behind the scenes shot of Roger Davis (Jeff Clark), director Dan Curtis and director of photography Arthur Ornitz on location in spring 1970. "It's not an eensy, teensy movie," Dan told the press. "It's a small budget film with big production values and I think it will make a fortune."

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2011 Dark Shadows Festival Update

The Dark Shadows Festival has released more information about their forthcoming 45th Anniversary celebration. The convention takes place on August 19-21 2011 at the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge Hotel. Sleeping rooms can be reserved at a reduced convention price by calling the hotel directly on 718-246-7000 and mentioning Dark Shadows.

Confirmed guests include Jonathan Frid (Barnabas), David Selby (Quentin), Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie), Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), Marie Wallace (Eve), Kathleen Cody (Hallie), Donna Wandrey (Roxanne), Sharon Smyth (Sarah), and making her first Dark Shadows appearance, Bobbi Ann Woronko (Nurse Pritchett).

Event highlights include a dramatic performance from Jonathan Frid and David Selby, acting together for the first time in 40 years, a panel on the new Dark Shadows movie, and a presentation about the history of Seaview Terrace, the location of Collinwood. The Festival concludes with a special gala banquet, which will feature a special Dark Shadows 45th Anniversary awards ceremony, with each attendee receiving an autographed picture of Jonathan Frid.

Registration for the event will be sent to people on the Festival's mailing list after June 1, and for more information send a self-addressed, stamped return envelope to: Dark Shadows, P.O. Box 92, Maplewood, NJ 07040. Information will also be posted on the Festival's official website.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dark Shadows Movie Release Date Announced

It's official, the countdown begins now. The new Dark Shadows feature film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, will be released on May 11, 2012. The news was confirmed last night by producers GK Films on their official Twitter feed. And remember, to keep up with all the latest Dark Shadows movie news, you can now follow the Dark Shadows News Page on Twitter by clicking here.

IMDB has reported a few more Dark Shadows crew appointments. Chris Petts is attached to the film as a previsualisation artist. His other credits include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the revived series of Doctor Who. Codrina Spataru is working as a sculptor for the art department, having previously worked on Sweeney Todd and Hugo Cabret. And finally, Linda Lashley is the costume department's senior seamstress. Her other work includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Prometheus.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Johnny Depp Promises Classic Take On Barnabas

Johnny Depp has spoken about his upcoming role as Barnabas Collins in the new Dark Shadows feature film, promising a "classic horror vampire – Nosferatu, Lugosi-esque vampire, without the accent."

Speaking to, the actor says: "My approach to Barnabas will be on the flaws and insecurities of a vampire. Having been in a coffin for 200 years, he experiences the absurdity of a world that he's just entered, where macramé owls hanging on a wall or fake fruits on a dish are widely accepted. From where he comes, in the 18th century, it would have been ludicrous. I want to see a vampire who's 200 years old or more, experience television for the first time." To read the full interview, click here.

Johnny Depp is in London tonight for the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Also, a couple of new images have surfaced of Johnny in Moscow, where he was photographed with a Barnabas-style walking cane. Johnny's version seems to have an ivory-style handle, rather than the more common silver, prompting speculation that this might be a prop specially created for the production.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Johnny Depp Gets Into Character?

Johnny Depp was photographed in Moscow yesterday, where he was in town to promote the Russian premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. However, looking at what he's holding in this picture, he seems to be channelling Barnabas Collins more than Jack Sparrow...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Half-Price DVD Sale

There's good news if you're looking to fill the gaps in your Dark Shadows DVD collection, as Amazon is holding another half-price sale, with the entire range of episodic box sets reduced. Each four-disc set contains up to 40 episodes, with bonus interviews and footage. This promotion runs for a limited time. Here are individual ordering links:

Dark Shadows: The Beginning (pre-Barnabas episodes): Collection 1, Collection 2, Collection 3, Collection 4, Collection 5, Collection 6

Movie News on Twitter

Actress Chloe Moretz is now in London to film her role as Carolyn Stoddard in the new Dark Shadows feature film, and was posting on Twitter earlier today from Pinewood Studios. "Can't wait to start filming," she posted earlier. "Just finished some wardrobe fittings, hair and make up discussions and most importantly meeting Tim Burton."

And speaking of Twitter, as the movie begins production, you can keep up with the latest updates via the Dark Shadows News Page's brand new Twitter feed. To follow us, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dark Shadows Movie Begins Filming Next Week?

Things are hotting up on the production of Tim Burton's Dark Shadows movie, with reports on Twitter indicating that principal photography is set to begin next week.

Make-up artist Chloe Muton-Philips tweeted earlier today: "Creating magic at Pinewood Studios on Dark Shadows" adding that "we start shooting in a week". Meanwhile, actress Chloe Moretz, recently cast as Carolyn Stoddard, tweeted this afternoon: "London here I come."

Elsewhere, IMDB has reported another round of crew appointments. On the make-up front, Evie Wray is the production's prosthetic technician, fresh from Wrath of the Titans and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Joining the art department are Mark Geeson, Dean Marsh and Gregor Telfer on props and Laurence Wells as chargehand dressing props.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Picture of the Week: Shadows Over Italy

This week we travel to Europe, with a delightfully garish Italian lobby card for House of Dark Shadows, the first Dark Shadows feature film. "If you love tales of horror and vampires, then this film is for you!" it promised cinema-goers.

Incidentally, House of Dark Shadows can be seen this week on TCM, as part of the network's marathon of Joan Bennett (Elizabeth) movies. Catch it at 12.00pm on Wednesday May 11.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Johnny Depp in Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly's website has interviewed Johnny Depp about his upcoming role as Barnabas Collins in the new Dark Shadows movie, which is set to being filming later this month: "I do remember, very vividly, practically sprinting home from school in the afternoon to see Jonathan Frid play Barnabas Collins," says Johnny. "Even then, at that age, I knew – this has got to be weird... I loved it. I loved the show."

The work of original Barnabas actor Jonathan Frid was a huge influence on the young Depp, which he plans to incorporate into his performance: "As naïve as the early, early episodes are, in his approach to Barnabas, Frid was such a striking presence, there's definitely a sliver of him [in this interpretation]. What I'd like to do with him is maybe stretch him out a bit — in the extreme. Just ever-so-slightly take him a little further, beyond what may be considered… corny." He goes to explain: "I've always sort of liked that. The idea that maybe you've got to go through bad acting to get to what may be really bad acting or — something interesting."

To read the full interview, click here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eva Green in Harper's Bazaar

Actress Eva Green is featured on the cover of June's European edition of Harper's Bazaar. The magazine features a photo shoot and interview, in which she discusses her upcoming role as the witch Angelique in the new Dark Shadows feature film.

In addition to revealing that she has recently undergone a body cast in plaster for the Dark Shadows special effects team, she also confirms that she will be playing Angelique with an American accent, rather than her native French, and has been working with a dialogue coach.

"This part is like a gift from the heavens," says Eva. "In Dark Shadows, Johnny [Depp] and I are like [Jean Cocteau play] The Eagle With Two Heads... In some ways we are the same creature." She also reveals that she is in the midst of discussing Angelique's look with director Tim Burton over email: "I agreed with his decision yesterday, but then last night I was whirring, whirring, whirring. I just couldn't sleep."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Shadows For Sheen

Michael Sheen has confirmed that he will now not be appearing in the new Dark Shadows movie. The actor was linked with the role of Roger Collins, which he had previously confirmed in an interview with BBC Radio.

However, speaking to MTV's Movie Blog about Dark Shadows earlier this week, Sheen said: "I, can't really talk about it... I'm not going to be doing it." In a separate interview with Collider, he explained: "It was something that got talked about, but it's not happening. It was a bit premature."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Audio Dramas For June

Big Finish Productions have released covers and teaser synopses for June's Dark Shadows audio dramas. The Creeping Fog stars David Selby as Quentin Collins and The Carrion Queen features Lara Parker as Angelique with Jerry Lacy as Gregory Trask. Both stories can be pre-ordered on CD by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.

The Carrion Queen
Death is not the end for the Reverend Gregory Trask. After shooting himself to escape the torture of being walled-up alive, he is sent to the Dark Lord himself for Judgement. To his horror, he is partnered with the cursed witch Angelique and sent to a vast battlefield in 1861 to compete for the return of his mortal soul. But neither is expecting to be pitched into the aftermath of one of America's most deadly historic battles, nor to encounter the mysterious beautiful woman who stalks it.

The Creeping Fog
London, 1941. Quentin Collins need not fear the bombing because he is immortal, but there are other things to be scared of. The voices of his past will not rest, the ghosts of those he's lost. There are other voices... and a creeping fog reaching out to him. Taking refuge in an old museum will not help Quentin either, for the museum has ghosts of its own. More voices reaching out through the darkness...

The latest issue of Big Finish's free magazine Vortex also features information on the new stories and can be downloaded here. Plus, to keep abreast of all the latest news on the range, visit the official Dark Shadows Audio Dramas page on Facebook by clicking here.