Depp lights up ‘Dark Shadows’

Graham King to produce Warner feature

Johnny Depp is getting in touch with his inner vampire.

Warner Bros. is teaming with Depp’s Infinitum-Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films to develop a feature based on the ’60s daytime supernatural sudser “Dark Shadows.”

Depp has said in interviews that he has always been obsessed with “Dark Shadows” and had, as a child, wanted to be Barnabas Collins, the vampire patriarch of the series. The role was originated by Jonathan Frid.

A rights deal just closed with the estate of Dan Curtis, the producer/director who created the soap that aired weekdays on ABC, from 1966 to 1971. Depp and King will produce with David Kennedy, who ran Dan Curtis Prods. until Curtis died last year of a brain tumor. Infinitum-Nihil’s Christi Dembrowski served as the point person on the deal.

Over 1,225 episodes, “Dark Shadows” was a highly atmospheric, spooky soap that featured gothic horror staples like vampires, monsters, witches, werewolves, ghosts and zombies. The show has a continuing rabid fan base that populates Dark Shadows Festival conventions. Numerous TV revivals of the series and pic adaptations have been attempted over the years but none with as high-wattage a star as Depp.

Depp, who is coming off “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and who just wrapped the Tim Burton-directed “Sweeney Todd,” is next expected to star in “Shantaram,” a Mira Nair-directed adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that Depp, King and Plan B are producing for Warner Bros. Depp, King and WB are also mobilizing to make a film about the life of Alexander Litvinenko, with Depp poised to play the former KGB agent, who was fatally poisoned.

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