Feast your eyes upon next summer’s most expensive in-joke. The first official photo has emerged from Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (via EW.com - ), and it’s a doozy. Confirming what I’ve long thought, this thing is going to be some goofy spoof of a show about which no one under 50 is really passionate, with an A-list cast dressing up as the working stiff actors who played the roles 45 years ago. (Who says Hollywood doesn’t take risks?) Let’s break it down for you:
On the left, you’ll see what appears to be Helena Bonham Carter in the exact same makeup she sported in Alice In Wonderland. Believe it or not, this is also a pretty banging recreation of Dr. Julia Hoffman, the Collins family’s live-in psychiatrist. Next to Depp, Carter’s performance is the one I’m most curious to see, as original player Grayson Hall was a shrieking, hysterical scenery chewer, and Carter’s pretty much in Grayson Hall drag in this pic.
Next we have Chloë Grace Moretz as Carolyn, petulant teen daughter of Collins matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Chloë’s growing up; internet pervs rejoice.
The blonde behind her is Eva Green as Angelique, Barnabas Collins’ 18th century fling/evil witch who zaps him with a vampire curse in the 1700s, then stalks his ass all the way to the present day, gloating and cockblocking him through the centuries. Eva looks great, but more “modern” than I was expecting.
Next is Gulliver McGrath as David Collins. On the series, David was a creepy kid trying to kill his father for a year before vampires and ghosts showed up; in the show’s various adaptations and reworkings, his role has largely been reduced to a little asshole who tortures his tutor. According to the EW article, they’ll be playing off the series’ plot where David is a kind of involuntary medium, seeing family ghosts around the house.
Speaking of his tutor, there’s Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, hired by the family to straighten out the little shit. Since she’s also the reincarnation of Barnabas’ lost love Josette, she’s constantly in danger of ending up on the business end of Barnabas’ fangs.
In the middle is the man himself: Johnny Depp dressed as an 11 year-old dressed as Jonathan Frid playing Barnabas Collins. This project started out as an extension of Depp’s childhood obsession with Dark Shadows, and that angle is on full display here. He even has prosthetic ears to look more like Frid. This is a huge improvement over those spy pics from the other week, so it’s somewhat effective damage control, but holy moley this is going to be a hard sell. He and Carter look as if they wandered in from a Halloween party.
In the back, we’re told, is Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson, the put-upon family housekeeper. Good luck dusting those ceilings, 90 year-old woman.
Next is Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis, creepy handyman. EW already made a Groundskeeper Willie joke, but it’s hard to miss.
Jonny Lee Miller, hopefully under a lot of makeup, as the prissy and ineffectual man of the house, Roger Collins. I hope he talks like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island.
On the right is Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Hopefully she does more than her TV counterpart, who stared out a window and got buried alive a lot. But I guess I’d watch Michelle Pfeiffer get buried alive.
I just don’t know. This picture tickles the hell out of me. But I’ve watched hundreds of episodes of the show, making me SUCH a goddamn minority on this one. Maybe it will be a blast for me, but everyone else will hate it, giving Depp and Burton a much-needed bomb to take them down a peg. Everybody wins?
Here’s an original cast pic for comparison purposes: