Director Tim Burton – whose name seems to be attached to a new project every week – recently sat down with MTV to discuss a number of these endeavors, including (naturally) his big screen version of Dark Shadows, which reaches theatres this May. What follows is an excerpt from that interview focusing on DS. To read the rest of it, just click HERE.
MTV: What stage are you in for Dark Shadows right now?
BURTON: Panicking. That stage. We’re editing and doing effects. It’s not an effects-heavy picture, but it’s still got stuff in there. There’s a strange tone to the movie. That’s always what’s fun about movies. You never know exactly what they are. It makes it both exciting and scary and why you like doing it. I have to keep remembering that.
MTV: With over 1,200 episodes of the original series to draw upon, what was important to you to retain?
BURTON: 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.
MTV: Some of it takes place in the 1700s, but most of it takes place in 1972, is that right?
BURTON: Yeah it goes back, but it’s mainly in 1972, which to the era of Dark Shadows is the modern era. To me, it was a scary time.
MTV: Does the film leave that house much?
BURTON: A little bit, but the thing about “Dark Shadows” was it was a very hermetically sealed world. It’s mainly the internal family melodrama. You get a little bit of the sense of the world, but it’s like “Grey Gardens,” where these people are in their own sort of world.
MTV: Do you utilize time travel in the movie?
BURTON: Not too much. A tiny bit. For me, that’s when the show kind of made me want to do homework. I was like, wait a minute! That came near the end of the trail of the series.