DARK SHADOWS casting news!

Tim Burton’s version of Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins, is due to start filming in the spring with a screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, and we’re starting to hear that pivotal roles are being cast. Jackie Earle Haley is in talks to play Willie Loomis, according to Deadline; for those unfamiliar with the Dark Shadows canon, Loomis is a con artist who plans a bit of grave-robbing and thus becomes the person who opens Barnabas Collins’ coffin and sets the vampire free. And becomes his minion. Oops. Slight miscalculation there.

Eva Green, who created a sensation when she played Vesper Lynd, the girl who broke James Bond’s heart in Casino Royale, is negotiating to play Angelique, the role played by Lara Parker in the original series. Angelique “was a powerful witch who was alternately tormented and bewitched by her love-hate relationship with Barnabas Collins,” says Deadline.

Australian actress Bella Heathcote, 23, a Heath Ledger scholarship winner, is in early talks for an important role in Dark Shadows, although there is some confusion in the media about which character she will play. According to Deadline, Ms. Heathcote would play Victoria Winters, the young governess of the Collins estate, but Justin Kroll in Variety reports that she would play a local waitress whom Barnabas Collins “takes a shine to because she resembles his long-lost love.” Dark Shadows historians will recall that the waitress, Maggie Evans, eventually became the governess at the estate; we’ll have to wait for clarification about whether Ms. Heathcote is playing Victoria Winters or Maggie Evans.

The New York Times is reporting that Helena Bonham Carter will play Dr. Julia Hoffman, the role originated by Grayson Hall; this seems logical casting although it has not been confirmed elsewhere. And in news sure to delight long-time Dark Shadows fans — including Johnny Depp himself — Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas Collins, has announced on his website that he will be making an appearance in the movie. Perfect!

Many thanks to SeaGoddessCalypso, Emma, Songstress, and Shadowydog for casting news; you can read more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum.