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.
- Filmed in England.
- Actress Eva Green spoke about her character recently, saying: "I think it's very, very funny, with a dark sense of humor, but really funny. And I play Angelique Bouchard, and she's a cuckoo character. An extreme character, who is madly obsessed with Baranabas Collins, and it's a very electric relationship. And she wants to own every bit of Barnabas. It's not a typical villain, and that's what I like about how Tim dealt with her. She has a good reason to act like that. It's a really a love story."
- Tim Burton detailed the tone of the film in a recent interview, saying: "It's got such a strange vibe. And it's not something that a lot of people necessarily know. You're trying to do a weird soap opera. I felt really lucky, because the cast is really good. People like Michelle [Pfeiffer] grew up watching it. Some of the cast knew about it. Some didn't, but they were all game for it — getting into the weird spirit of what "Dark Shadows" was. It has a weird sense of heightened melodrama. There was a generation of us who would run home from school to watch it. That's probably why we were such bad students. We should have been doing homework; we were watching "Dark Shadows" instead. It was hard to put into words the tone it was. It had a weird seriousness, but it was funny in a way that wasn't really funny. We just had to feel our way through it to find the tone. We didn't do any real rehearsals, because the cast all came in at different times. But there was an old photo of the [original] cast which I always remembered, so a couple days before shooting, we got the whole cast together to take a similar shot so everyone could see each other and get that vibe from doing a group photo. That helped set the tone more than anything."
- It's said that most of the film is set in 1972, but will have flashbacks into the 1700's.
- Rocker Alice Cooper has a cameo in the film as himself, "Depp’s character, the recently revived vampire Barnabas Collins, hires the rock star to play a private ball at his seaside home in Maine."
- In a recent interview Chloe Moretz had this to say about the tone of the film: "It’s Tim Burton so it’s like Beetlejuice. I have to say it’s a mixture of Beetlejuice, a teeny bit of Sweeney and the scariness of Sweeney but the fun of Sleepy Hollow with the scariness of Sleepy Hollow. I’d definitely say it’s a lot like Sleepy Hollow because you go from the Ichabod Crane character to the Headless Horseman who’s comedic and yet terrifying. It straddles that fine line of camp and drama so it’s like a drama horromedy thriller."
- Actress Chloe Moretz had this to say about her character, Carolyn: "That’s a really fun character. She is crazy. She is this teenager, like 15-year-old hippie who is into The Carpenters and Alice Cooper. She’s super music-y and raw, like free love, you know. She’s fun. I can’t say much because he has a really dark secret I can’t tell you."
- Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In) plays "Carolyn", the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer's character Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.
- Michael Sheen was once rumored to be joining the cast as "Roger Collins."
- Young actor Gulliver McGrath plays "David Collins".
- Thomas McDonell will play a young "Barnabas Collins".
- Michelle Pfeiffer is in negotiations to play "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of her brood who has not left her mansion in the decade following the disappearance of her husband."
- Helena Bonham Carter is expected to play "Hoffman, a specialist in psychology and rare blood disorders who moves into Collinwood." She becomes an ally to Barnabas and may even be able to cure his thirst for blood.
- Eva Greenis plays "Angelique, a powerful witch."
- Jackie Earle Haley plays the character "Willie Loomis."
- Bella Heathcoate plays "Victoria Winters," the young governess of the Collins estate.
- Filming is hoped to begin sometime in April 2011.
- Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) is scripting the latest draft.
- The previous draft was written by John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
- Johnny Depp may play the lead role of "Barnabas Collins."
- Produced by Warner Bros., GK Films, and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil Production.
- The original series ran from 1966 to 1971 and had 1245 episodes.
- Based on the television series with the same name.
A UHM staff member has not reviewed this film.