How Johnny Depp transformed into Barnbas Collins–Mark Salisbury goes behind the scenes of DARK SHADOWS

Today’s Telegraph Magazine (U.K.) has a fabulous, lengthy behind-the-scenes of Dark Shadows story by the always-marvelous Mark Salisbury–what an eye for detail he has! Among the many topics Salisbury investigates is the way Johnny Depp physically transforms into his character, the vampire Barnabas Collins: according to Salisbury, that “daily transformation required enlarged ears, a Caesar hairdo, a Roman nose and elongated fingers.” You can see the full effect HERE. “Throughout his career, and especially with Burton, Depp has often hidden his handsome features beneath heavy make–up,” Salisbury writes. “As Barnabas, his face is veiled behind a pallor that appears white but is a mix of blues, reds, blacks and purples. His look is a homage to Jonathan Frid [. . .],” the original Barnabas Collins. Tim Burton explains, “We talked about different things and different hairstyles, but at the end of the day you go back to what the inspiration was, and pay tribute to that.”

Johnny’s Barnabas-voice is not a pure Frid imitation, though, Salisbury reports; instead, Johnny “opted for a cross between Frid and Richard Burton.” For Zone readers too young to remember Burton’s glorious voice, Johnny specifies, “There was a slight amount of Welsh in it.” As for Barnabas’s extra-long fingers, that design detail came from director Burton, and “while it increased the time in make–up –- each prosthetic finger contains a golf tee beneath the skin –- the effect is dazzling,” Salisbury writes, “especially during the scenes when Barnabas uses them to hypnotize people.”

Johnny quickly became, so to speak, attached to his new digits. “It took some getting used to because there was probably a good two extra inches on my fingers, but they were leading Barnabas to things, as if they had their own brain, and they became very important.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Salisbury article; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Comments are closed.