Tim Burton Says DARK SHADOWS Won’t Be 3D, Wants an “Ethereal Tone”

     May 30, 2011


Tim Burton is at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art right now to present an exhibit that features hundreds of his drawings, paintings, sculptures and films.  During an interview, he spoke a bit about his plans for Dark Shadows; notably, they do not include 3D

“I have no plans for [3D]. I loved doing “Alice” in 3D.  Frankeweenie, gonna do that in 3D. There’s people like, ‘Everything’s gonna be in 3D,’ or ‘I hate 3D!’  I think people should have a choice. I don’t think it should be forced on anybody. At the same time, it’s great, some of it.”

That seems like the right approach, to employ 3D when it suits the project.  We’ll see if Warner Bros cooperates with no plans for post-conversion.  Production is currently underway in London with stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, and Jackie Earle Haley.  Dark Shadows is scheduled for release on May 11, 2012.  Read more from Burton after the break.

Burton spoke to The Wrap about the tone he’s chasing on Dark Shadows:


“It’s been hard to kind of come here because I’m just starting, and it’s a weird tone and it’s a lot of actors and, you know, we’re not starting with the simple stuff; we’re sort of getting right in there. You like to kind of sneak up on it a little bit, but this one we just kind of slammed right into it…

I’m early into it because it’s a funny tone, and that’s part of what the vibe of the show is, and there’s something about it that we want to get. But when you look at it, it’s pretty bad. I’m hoping that it will be — it’s early days, let’s put it — I’m very intrigued by the tone.  It’s a real ethereal tone we’re trying to go for and I don’t know yet.”

I haven’t seen much of the show, but the images and brief clips I have seen emit that bizarre Gothic quality that Burton is describing (I think).  Style and tone are generally among Burton’s strengths, so I find myself travelling slowly up the dark, shadowy hill of anticipation.

This will be Burton’s eighth collaboration with Depp.  The director talked about their artistic bond:

I just had an immediate connection with him. I didn’t know him, but he just felt right for Edward Scissorhands. We’re friends and colleagues, and we’ve always taken the tack of not working together just to work together. It’s got to be the right part, the right movie, all of that sort of thing. There’s a good sort of non-communicative communication, you know. Because especially back then I was not a good verbal communicator, and he’s a bit similar, but there’s more of a psychic kind of connection, I would say, that sort of has remained.  I like actors, too, that like to change, become different things. Those are the kinds of actors I find fun and exhilarating to work with.

When asked about his experience trying (and ultimately failing) to make a Superman movie, Burton discussed the exhausting world of big-budget filmmaking:


Any filmmaker that’s had that happen will tell you, it’s kind of a scarring. You don’t forget it. It’s kind of the worst thing that can happen to you because, as an artist you get excited — your whole energy is based on your passion for doing something.  And then when you’re going on and on and on, and that’s sort of taken away, it’s quite traumatic because you put your passion into it. If you didn’t care, you’d just move on. It’s happened a couple of times. It seems to happen more and more with people. You know, it’s a lot of money; it’s a big responsibility. And movies are a gamble. There’s no such thing as a sure thing. I’m always amazed that certain studio executives don’t realize that. I guess there’s some things that are a bit more sure than others, but at the same time, you got to rely on the filmmaker. I’ve always been grateful when the studios understand, ‘Well, you’re the one making it, we should support you.’ I’ve always had this image of like, ‘Okay, you’re the star athlete,’ and right before the race, they beat the shit out of you then say, ‘Okay, now go win the race.’  It doesn’t make any sense.

Click here for all our Dark Shadows coverage.  The official synopsis is below.

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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.

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