Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows continues to shed some light on its casting; we’re in the “attached” and “reading scripts” stage with a lot of these names, but seeing how the film starts shooting in a matter of weeks, Burton & Co. need to get their asses in gear to round out what’s turning out to be a sizable cast. Michael Sheen is apparently reading the script right now, in talks to play Roger Collins, brother of Collins matriarch Elizabeth (possibly Michelle Pfeiffer here). In the original series Roger was a snobby, pompous ass with his own share of closet skeletons before Cousin Barnabas showed up and stole the spotlight. And when Burton’s 70s-set film dives into the time-travel acrobatics of the series (confirmed in the next paragraph), Sheen could also find himself playing Barnabas’ father, Joshua Collins.
Last week THR and Variety confirmed newcomer Thomas McDonell (Disney’s upcoming Prom) as young Barnabas (Depp’s central vampire); seems the flashbacks that were such a crucial part of the show (I think the series took a narrative detour to 1795 during a 1967 plotline and stayed there for so many months it was 1968 when they came back) will definitely be part of the story. But the other weird bit of info that comes from the casting of McDonell is that it was mentioned two days earlier on the IMDB message boards, along with another casting rumor:
“Please don’t quote me on this, but I heard from a fairly reliable inside source that Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass, Let Me In) is going to play Carolyn (which surprised me a bit), and that Thomas McDonell (Disney’s upcoming Prom) is going to play “young Barnabas,” which makes sense as he does definitely resemble Johnny Depp…”
If what the post says about Moretz is true then Carolyn, who was the sexy and swinging 19-ish year old daughter of Elizabeth in the series (still with me?) is being reimagined as a 14 year-old for the film. Of course, that’s 100% unofficial rumor until we hear otherwise, but interesting to find it posted on IMDB with an item that turned out to be confirmed 48 hours later.
Time will tell - not only whether Moretz’ casting turns out to be legit, but also how in the hell Burton’s going to juggle this Irwin Allen-sized cast. I guess he’s done it before (Mars Attacks, Big Fish), but both those films were padded with extended cameos, and depending on how faithful they are to the original Dark Shadows cast of characters, we’re only about 60% there so far.
One last note - by my count, every single cast and crew member asked about the film thus far has called it “funny”, “so funny”, “campy”, etc. Eva Green compared it to “a play.” Those expecting serious Gothic horror might want to manage those expectations. Tim Burton (possibly jokingly) mentioned in an interview that he was thinking of adding digital flies for the actors to ignore during scenes. for some reason this filled me with joy.