Aug. 13, 2012 | 1:18 p.m.
Tim Burton has watched plenty of world-class actors while directing 15 feature films, but he sensed there was “something really special happening” when Michelle Pfeiffer played the practically purr-fect Catwoman in “Batman Returns,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. “I don’t really go back and look at the movies but her performance in that was one of my favorite performances of anything by anyone in any movie that I’ve worked on,” Burton said recently. “It was just the best. Really, I’ll never forget her in that.” “Batman Returns, ” released in June 1992, is one of the seven films in the Warner Bros. Home Video collection “The Tim Burton Blu-ray Collection,” which arrives on store shelves Sept. 11 (but is already on sale at Amazon.com through a special exclusive arrangement). The film is also a timely one to revisit with […]
May 10, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
With “Dark Shadows,” the tandem of director Tim Burton and producer Richard D. Zanuck has delivered its sixth movie, this one starring Johnny Depp as a confused and heartsick vampire who spends two centuries trapped underground before emerging with two urgent instincts: Drink blood. Find family. Both those impulses stay with the fanged Barnabas Collins for the remainder of the Warner Bros. film, which arrives in theaters Friday, as he dedicates himself to restoring the fortunes of his cursed bloodline. It’s not the first time that the legacies of fractured families and a yearning for reconnection pulsed at the heart of a Burton-Zanuck film. In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” for instance, the film’s emotional payoff arrives with the doorstep reunion of candy-maker Willy Wonka (again, Depp, deep in the pale) and his estranged father (Christopher Lee). It’s a scene […]
May 06, 2012 | 8:43 a.m.
Johnny Depp makes transformations for a living — he’s played a poet, pirate, cop, crook, lizard, killer, candymaker, astronaut and even (shudder) an accountant — but, surprisingly, he had never portrayed a vampire until “Dark Shadows,” opening May 11, in which he stars as the aristocratic Barnabas Collins. The movie actually adds a second unprecedented role to Depp’s career list: Now he can say he’s been the producer of a Tim Burton film. Depp had produced just two previous films, “Hugo” and “The Rum Diary,” both released last year, but expect to see more; in 2010 his production company, Infinitum Nihil, solidified and extended its existing deal with Oscar-winning producer Graham King (“The Departed,” “The Aviator”) and an adaptation of Image Comics’ “The Vault” is among the projects in the pipeline. Years ago, Depp snapped up the rights to the old television show “Dark Shadows” and that led to Depp and King […]
April 19, 2012 | 4:23 p.m.
Johnny Depp said the world has lost “a true original” with the passing of Jonathan Frid, the darkly debonair Canadian actor who played vampire Barnabas Collins in the melodramatic and macabre soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Depp grew up as an ardent fan of “Dark Shadows” and that passion led to the film version remake, which reaches theaters May 11 with Depp as a key producer and also starring in the role made famous by Frid. Director Tim Burton also brought Frid and other original series cast members in for cameos in the movie, giving Depp a chance to share the screen with an idol of his youth. So as news spread Thursday that Frid had died late last week — on Friday the 13th, no less — Depp was balancing the bittersweet subplots of a life that could last 87 long years but […]
March 23, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.
Reporting from London — There’s a night and day difference between the soundstages of Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” and his previous movie, “Alice in Wonderland,” and, no surprise, this is a filmmaker far more comfortable in the darkness. The digital ambitions of “Wonderland” required numbing weeks of work in a green-screen chamber, and by the end of it Burton was desperate to get back to his roots — building a cinematic house and then haunting it with his unique brand of cemetery cabaret. For “Dark Shadows,” an eccentric vampire romance starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green, he’s staged a minor one-man rebellion against CG imagery; the story has some digital effects, but where the script called for a Maine fishing town’s waterfront, circa 1972, Burton persuaded Warner Bros. and the film’s producers to build it on the back […]
July 18, 2010 | 9:19 p.m.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara has an undying (and undead) affection for “Dark Shadows,” that grand old gothic soap opera, and she carried her torch to a scary place this weekend — the Los Angeles Marriott at Burbank Airport. There were, mercifully, no vampires in attendance at this weekend’s “Dark Shadows in the Sun” convention. Sure, there were a few Victorian cape coats, at least two wolf-head canes and several “Barnabas Collins for president” T-shirts (though with Johnny Depp’s face rather than that of role creator Jonathan Frid). But nowhere to be seen were the bouncing, writhing goth-tramp girls and boys who show up for “Twilight” premieres or appearances by the “True Blood” cast. This may have been due to the convention’s location — the Burbank Airport Marriott does not scream “fetch me my plum-colored waistcoat” — or […]
Sept. 08, 2009 | 11:40 p.m.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of “Let It Bleed,” the classic Rolling Stones album, and how perfect is that? There has never been more bloodsucking in pop culture that right now, and Gina McIntyre reports in this fun feature on Hollywood’s vamping pursuits. Next we may ask her to consider the link between the resurgence in zombie cinema and the current condition of Keith Richards… Forget the garlic, the crucifixes, the security of daylight. Nothing is holding the vampires at bay these days. With the wild popularity of movie, TV and literary properties including “Twilight” and HBO’s hit series “True Blood,” the bloodthirsty undead are dominating the pop culture landscape in ways Count Dracula could have never imagined, and the trend seems unlikely to abate any time soon. “ He admits, though, that he was somewhat skeptical at first, well aware that his new show […]
Oct. 15, 2008 | 9:12 p.m.
EXCLUSIVE I got Tim Burton on the phone the other day while he was on the set of "Alice in Wonderland" and I had to admit right off the bat that I was surprised that, with the filming just underway, he was taking the time to chat. "Yeah, well, me too," he said in his droll deadpan, and I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or apologize and hang up. Then he let me off the hook. "Actually," he said in a sunnier voice, "we’re just about to get going so we’ll see how things go. Good, I hope." I’m guessing things will go quite well for the 50-year-old filmmaker, who seems like the ideal auteur to bring Lewis Carroll’s surreal 1865 classic "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" to the screen for a 21st century audience. Young Aussie Mia Wasikowska will be […]
Sept. 25, 2008 | 7:11 p.m.
Johnny Depp will play Tonto in a Disney revisitation of the Lone Ranger, but who will be the masked man? The Hero Complex is officially supporting Viggo Mortensen for the role of mystery man of the Old West because, after seeing “Hidalgo” and the trailer for “Appaloosa,” we just think he does the dusty-trail adventure thing with a nice flair. George Clooney would also give Disney a powerhouse tandem at the top of this hoped-for franchise, as well as some major opportunity for the type of winking humor that gave “Pirates of the Caribbean” its box-office flair. Clooney may be too old, but we still think he has enough silver bullets in his ammo belt. Depp, meanwhile, may be just five years shy of 50 but still approaches his acting career like a kid rummaging through a trunk of dress-up […]