Fang­tas­tic jour­ney

Eight movies deep, the Johnny Depp and Tim Bur­ton tag team is still go­ing strong

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

IN­D­ING Hal­loween cos­tumes is prob­a­bly not a prob­lem at Johnny Depp’s house. Since his early days in the busi­ness, the ac­tor has had it writ­ten into his con­tracts that he’s al­lowed to keep his wardrobe from movies. He stores the clothes in a per­sonal ar­chive that’s ‘‘prop­erly cat­a­logued, as much as any ar­chive at any stu­dio,’’ says Colleen At­wood, an Os­car-win­ning cos­tume de­signer who of­ten works with Depp and di­rec­tor Tim Bur­ton.

Their lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion is Dark Shad­ows, a new spin on the gothic 1960s TV soap opera about 200-year-old vampire Barn­abas Collins with Michelle Pfeif­fer as El­iz­a­beth Collins Stod­dard.

Freed from a cof­fin in 1972, Barn­abas helps his fam­ily restart their fish­ing busi­ness.

Dark Shad­ows also casts Chloe Moretz as a bored teenager and Eva Green as an im­mor­tal witch who threat­ens to de­stroy Barn­abas’s fam­ily if she can’t have him.

Bur­ton says as a boy, he used to race home from school to watch the show. ‘‘I wasn’t do­ing my home­work. I was watch­ing this weird TV show,’’ he says.

He says he, Depp and Pfeif­fer were the only peo­ple on set who watched the TV show when it aired from 1966 to 1971.

The film be­gins in 1760 Liver­pool, Eng­land, with the Collins fam­ily pre­par­ing to move to the New World.

Af­ter Green con­demns him, Depp’s vampire is found buried in his cof­fin by con­struc­tion work­ers. He re­turns to his fam­ily home to find he is liv­ing in a dif­fer­ent era. At one point, he chal­lenges a neon Mcdon­ald’s sign.

He vows to re­store his fam­ily to its for­mer glory, but Green’s fa­tal at­trac­tion threat­ens to stand in the way as she de­clares: ‘‘If I can’t love you, I will de­stroy you and your fam­ily.’’

Rocker Alice Cooper – who Depp de­clares ‘‘the ugli­est woman I’ve ever seen’’ – has a cameo.

As in other Bur­ton films, Depp al­most dis­ap­pears be­neath lay­ers of fab­ric and makeup to be­come Barn­abas.

‘‘At our first fit­ting, we all got to­gether and we put the fin­gers on and the cos­tume and the wig and then Johnny started glee­fully run­ning around the house hid­ing in dark cor­ners and Tim was tak­ing pic­tures of him,’’ At­wood says.

Like the char­ac­ter in the orig­i­nal se­ries, Depp’s Barn­abas is al­ways im­pec­ca­bly dressed.

‘‘He wasn’t a ca­sual guy. He was a gentleman from an­other time, so he wasn’t some­one who hung around in a T-shirt and jeans,’’ At­wood says. The wig was in­spired by the Barn­abas from the orig­i­nal se­ries (played by Jonathan Frid). On days of heavy ac­tion, Depp’s bangs were held in place with glue.

Mul­ti­ple sets of fangs were made for the film’s star – some shorter, some longer, some curved. One set worked by drop­ping into place when­ever Depp opened his mouth.

Joel Har­low, Depp’s long­time (and Os­car-win­ning) makeup artist, says Bur­ton thought it was cru­cial Depp’s Barn­abas had long fin­ger­nails.

‘‘Tim wanted Barn­abas to be tac­tile. His hands sort of lead the way, like they’re feel­ing things out,’’ Har­low says.

Depp and Bur­ton first col­lab­o­rated in 1990’s Ed­ward Scis­sorhands. They also worked to­gether on Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, and Ed Wood, among other films.

opens to­day.

Johnny Depp as Barn­abas Collins in

Michelle Pfeif­fer as El­iz­a­beth Collins Stod­dard.

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