Despite languishing in pre-production limbo for the last several years, Tim Burton‘s planned adaptation of the Gothic daytime soap opera Dark Shadows, which ran on ABC from 1966-1971, now looks to be showing new signs of life. Seth Grahame-Smith – whose penchant for injecting a healthy dose of the macabre into literary classics has resulted in such bestsellers as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – has been hired to rewrite the movie’s draft. Warner Bros. is now expected to begin production in January with lead Johnny Depp, who is of course set to star as the vampire Barnabas Collins (originally played by Jonathan Frid.)
Writer John August was originally signed on to develop the script for Burton, but will be replaced by Grahame-Smith, whose talent Burton recognized based on the strength of his best-selling novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. In fact, Burton was so impressed by Vampire Hunter that he and Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) have bought the rights to the film adaptation out of pocket, with Bekmambetov likely to make the movie his next project. (And if you haven’t seen Night Watch check out the trailer and then rent it on Netflix – it’s an incredibly creative piece of filmmaking.)
David O. Russell is also eyeing Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which Lionsgate has optioned as a possible vehicle for Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Bennett. Presumably, Grahame-Smith’s Elizabeth has to deal with a fair deal more than just the subtleties of 19th century gender politics.