The first official photos from Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” have been released, and your friendly neighborhood Fanboys Examiner has them for you here, courtesy of Empire. The first one is a group cast photo, and though Johnny Depp, who plays vampire Barnabas Collins, is way to the back, you can see that the naysayers who decried the recent unofficial photos of Depp in makeup foreshadowed disaster, simply didn’t understand filmmaking. Depp looks pale. He doesn’t look like the Joker. Things in movies are designed to be photographed with particular lighting, particular lenses, and often particular post-production. Don’t wanna say “I toldja so,” but in fact, I did.
There’s also a shot of Burton directing Depp as Barnabas, whose hands are covered in blood. It is a horror movie, after all. Finally there’s a shot of the director with Michelle Pfeiffer, who hasn’t worked with Burton since playing the Catwoman in “Batman Returns,” as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, and Jonny Lee Miller, as Roger Collins.
The official synopsis released by Warner Bros. says:
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 Bouchard (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.
As to the movie taking place in 1972, there’s all sorts of creative reasons being advanced for that decision. Personally, I suspect nostalgia. The original show ran from 1966 to 1971, the feature “House of Dark Shadows,” which was based on the show and featured the original cast, was released in 1970, and the follow-up (it wasn’t really a sequel) “Night of Dark Shadows” came out in 1971.
“Dark Shadows” opens May 11, 2012.