Johnny Depp to Star in DARK SHADOWS for Tim Burton; Filming Set to Start in April

     November 4, 2010

It looks like Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows film is finally gearing up for production. The project has been in the works for quite a while now and last we heard, Pride and Predjudice and Zombies author Seth Grahme-Smith was writing the latest draft of the script, from a previous draft by screenwriter John August (Big Fish). Heat Vision now reports that Depp has signed on to star, with Burton definitely directing and filming to begin next April. The project is based off the 1966-71 ABC gothic soap opera that featured Jonathan Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins along with (per Wikipedia) other supernatural creatures like werewolves, ghosts, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel (both into the past and into the future), and a parallel universe.

Depp would, of course, be taking on the title role of Collins.  Hit the jump for more on the project, including what this means regarding Depp’s involvement in Katherine Bigelow’s (The Hurt Locker) ensemble drama starring Tom Hanks.

Shadows appears to be an obvious choice of project for the Depp-Burton team.  It’s dark, gothic, and quirky.  I’m actually interested to see how the two tackle supernatural creatures.  Depp and Burton doing werewolves and zombies sounds like it could be a lot of fun.  It seems like they’ve become a bit rote as of late in their decision to do films aimed at younger audiences. Hopefully this project is closer to the tone of Sleepy Hollow, which I think is one of the better projects they’ve done together.  Depp talked to us earlier this year about Shadows.

Bigelow has been courting Depp as of late for her new film. Triple Frontier, reunites her with The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal.  Both won the Academy Award last year for their respective work on that film (Director and Screenwriter).  The film is said to center on Latin American drug cartels, and Bigelow is said to have been courting some big names for the ensemble project, including Hanks and Depp.  With that film set to start shooting in February, it’s not known if Depp will be able to do both projects.  However, if Frontier turns out to be a large enough ensemble film (a la Crash), it’s possible that Depp could be able to shoot all of his scenes in time to make the April start date for Shadows. But for now, this is all speculation, as he’s made no formal commitment to star in Frontier.

Depp sure has been busy lately.  The Tourist, with Angelina Jolie is set to hit theaters on December 10th.  He also has The Rum Diary in the can, based upon the Hunter S. Thompson book, which will hopefully be released sometime next year.  In addition, he lent his voice to the Gore Verbinski-directed (the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films) animated film Rango, which will be released on March 4th, and he’s currently filming the fourth Pirates film with director Rob Marshall (Chicago).  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hits theaters on May 20th, 2011.

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