Visionary director Tim Burton and two-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp have collaborated together to make some of the most interesting and beloved films of their generation including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow. In fact, the two are considered by many to be one of the best director and actor teams of all-time, so it should be no surprise that after their latest outing, Alice in Wonderland, grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide that the two would consider taking on the classic '60s soap opera, Dark Shadows as their next project. The series ran from 1966-1971 and was basically a soap opera that incorporated werewolves, zombies, monsters, witches, ghosts, time-travel, parallel-universes, and featured a vampire named Barnabas Collins in the lead role. Both Burton and Depp have gone on the record as saying that they were huge fans of the show growing up and Depp has even stated that he was obsessed with the character of Barnabas Collins as a child. At one point production on the film was scheduled to start as early as this summer with Burton directing and Depp playing the role of Barnabas Collins himself, however post-production on Alice in Wonderland and Depp's commitment to other projects seems to have delayed the production from beginning for now.
One man that knows both Burton and Depp very well is legendary Hollywood producer Richard D. Zanuck (Driving Miss Daisy, Jaws). Zanuck has produced three of the six live-action films that the director and the actor have collaborated on, which include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd and most recently Alice in Wonderland, which will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 1st. Zanuck is set to reunite with Burton and Depp again on Dark Shadows and we recently had a chance to speak with the producer about the upcoming project. "That is still in the works but it's been delayed a bit," Zanuck confirmed. "We expected to do it much earlier, actually before Alice was finished. We must have been intoxicated when we thought that Tim could direct this picture while he was doing the post-production of Alice. Most of the post-production on Alice was done on computers and there were months and months of down time. At one point we thought that we could make it then and then we realized right away that Tim couldn't do it. Then that put it behind a couple of pictures that Johnny had lined up and right now we're waiting for him to finish The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and then he is going to take some time off and then do Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides next," explained Zanuck.
"It's unlikely, while everybody intends to make the picture, and we're still working on the script and all the rest, it's unlikely that we can start it earlier than the beginning of next year," he continued. "Johnny had committed and he has to do Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides first. He had a long-standing, firm, unchangeable contract to do that. That's a big project and he doesn't start that until later in the summer. So there you have it and we're waiting in line." Zanuck went on to say that the film was "still very much alive" and that they are currently working on the script. Finally, since the show ran for several seasons and incorporated so many different elements of sci-fi and horror we wanted to know which elements he was hoping to incorporate into the film and if the lead character would still be the vampire Barnabus Collins played by Johnny Depp? "Well the main character ... yes," answered Zanuck. "But one of the problems we've had with the script is that there are hundreds of episodes of this and boiling it down to an hour and a half or two hour movie with one story has been a real challenge and that's what we are doing now. But it will have all of the elements of the TV show. It won't be high camp, obviously. It won't be soap opera, which the show was. No, it will be scary, it'll be very funny and it will carry the Tim Burton stamp of uniqueness," confirmed Zanuck.