Tim Burton expected to direct vampire pic

Warner Bros.’ long-simmering “Dark Shadows” has taken a step toward reality with the signing of Seth Grahame-Smith to pen the script.

Johnny Depp has been attached to star and produce with Graham King’s GK Films for the past three years (Daily Variety, July 27, 2007), with Tim Burton expected to direct. Richard Zanuck, Christi Dembrowski and David Kennedy are also producers.

Grahame-Smith is already attached to adapt his novel “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” for Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. The history-horror hybrid book, which details Lincoln’s secret battle with the undead, hit shelves in March and portrays the 16th president as a highly trained vampire assassin. Scribe also wrote the book “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Depp obtained feature rights to “Dark Shadows” from the estate of Dan Curtis, the producer-director who created the vampire soap opera that aired weekdays on ABC from 1966 to 1971 with 1,225 episodes.

Studio hasn’t set a release date for the bigscreen project, but it was included in a deal, announced in late April, between Imax and WB to release up to 20 WB films in Imax format through 2013.

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