The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex column is featuring an interview with Dark Shadows producer Graham King, who details during the course of the conversation that this new movie is decidedly not a remake of the original soap opera. What follows is an excerpt.
HC: The Dark Shadows name has a lot of history — ABC aired more than 1,200 episodes of the gothic soap opera – but it’s a blank spot for most moviegoers now. That may not matter at all, though, because in tone, plot and approach, this film is more about Tim Burton than the old series…
GK: No question, no question. When Johnny first talked to me about Dark Shadows, I have to admit, I had no idea what it was. It didn’t play overseas — it didn’t play in the U.K., that’s for sure, when I was growing up. Then obviously I did a lot of homework and looked into it and you know what, people say this is a remake of the old TV series but it’s really not. I feel it’s a very commercial, accessible film for people to go to and have a really fun time. Tim and Johnny put their stamp on it and when that happens it’s special and, for me, to be involved in that — and in a movie that is pure entertainment — is really nice.
HC: More than any other movie star of his stature, Depp finds roles where he can submerge himself in makeup and costume. You’ve been working with him for the better part of a decade now; do you wish you could see more of him in his movies, so to speak?
GK: [Laughs] Well I’ve been lucky enough to work with Johnny a few times when he’s not in all the makeup — “Rum Diaries” and “The Tourist” — and he’s so versatile that he can play any role. What I love about “Dark Shadows” is his dry sense of humor. And, as you know, Johnny carries that with him 24/7. There are moments in the movie where his response to things — just the look on his face — are hilarious. I’ve seen it over and over again and I laugh every time…. Johnny can deliver lines just without saying anything.
HC: Depp grew up loving “Dark Shadows” — was that apparent in that first conversation you had with him about this project?
GK: Absolutely, yes, absolutely. He started telling me all of this, with a lot of excitement. I was thinking, “What is he talking about?” He was absolutely a man on a mission to play this role. He loved it when he was a kid and obviously it shows in the film. Johnny loved every minute of being Barnabus [sic].