DARK SHADOWS' owners approached Johnny Depp to play Barnabas eight years ago

In Hollywood, movie projects–even dream projects–often take many years to reach the screen. For example, last July when Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil signed an agreement with Dan Curtis Productions to make a new DARK SHADOWS film, it came as a bolt from the blue to most Depp fans, who assumed that Johnny had initiated and pursued the project because of his lifelong love of the franchise and the role of vampire Barnabas Collins. But that was not a case: on the contrary, Dan Curtis Productions approached Johnny Depp . . . and they initiated talks eight years ago, when SLEEPY HOLLOW took the box office by storm.

“We’ve always wanted to do it as another feature and I read that Johnny Depp was a fan of the show so we approached his people,” Jim Pierson of Dan Curtis Productions told reporter Richard Knight Jr. “This was like eight years ago, when SLEEPY HOLLOW came out.” Scheduling could never be worked out, though, says Pierson, because “Johnny Depp’s always been so busy [. . .] . But now he’s figured out a way to squeeze it in his schedule.” At the end of July, an agreement was signed to develop DARK SHADOWS as a film for Johnny; “there’s no word on whether [Tim] Burton will join him” as director, notes Knight, although Burton expressed interest in directing the project when it was first broached in 1999. Internet speculation that Rob Zombie might direct the film is just a rumor, says Pierson. He assures DARK SHADOWS fans that the agreement with Infinitum Nihil, GK Films and Warner Bros. requires the new movie “to be faithful to the original premise of the show”–it will respect the DARK SHADOWS mythology.

Original DARK SHADOWS cast members are delighted with the new movie and the prospect of Johnny Depp becoming the next Barnabas C0llins. Pierson reports that the original Barnabas, Jonathan Frid, autographed a photo for Johnny “and certainly wishes him well.” Lara Parker, who created the role of the witch Angelique, told Richard Knight, “I’m very proud that Johnny Depp is going to make a movie from our show. [. . .] I think he’ll be marvelous.” Ms. Parker, who has penned a couple of DARK SHADOWS-themed novels, sees no reason to stop with a single film. “I think there could be not one, but many made. There are five years of DARK SHADOWS stories to draw on, after all.”

Many thanks to Emma for posting the Richard Knight Jr. article; you can read it in its entirety on the Zone’s News & Views forum, or here: http://tinyurl.com/25cags As for our photograph of Johnny Depp with fangs, that’s Shadow’s interpretation of what Johnny’s Barnabas Collins might look like. We thank her for sharing it; you can see a larger version here: http://tinyurl.com/2zcu83 –Part-Time Poet

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