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Original 'Dark Shadows' Cast Members Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott on The Show and Tim Burton's Remake

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire May 10, 2012 at 1:13PM

For fans of the 1966-1971 ABC supernatural soap opera "Dark Shadows" (and they are legion), a lot is riding on Tim Burton's blockbuster film adapation to deliver the camp, romance and frights that made the show the hit that it was. The brainchild of producer Dan Curtis, "Dark Shadows" is legendary for pumping out a remarkable 1,225 episodes during its five-year run. The complete DVD box set comes in a mock coffin, and runs a whopping 30,000 hours over 131 discs.
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Bella Heathcote as Josette in "Dark Shadows"
Warner Bros. Bella Heathcote as Josette in "Dark Shadows"
Why "Dark Shadows" Has a Lasting Appeal

Scott: I think it all comes down to story.  I talked to one of the writers from "Dark Shadows" and he said that we weren't so much writers as we were thieves, but we did steal from the best.  I think that even though children couldn't reference "Turn of the Screw," "Jane Eyre, "Wuthering Heights," or "The Picture of Dorian Gray," they still recognized a good story and a good story is enduring.

On What it Was Like to Be On the Film Set of "Dark Shadows," Compared to the TV Show

Parker: We were dizzy with excitement, you can only imagine.  It's remarkable that this TV show that we did so long ago has inspired these amazing talents.  I was thrilled with the casting and thrilled to meet everyone.  We were taken to the studio and the costume department where Colleen Atwood put us in our dresses, then whisked off to the sets themselves.  They were just remarkable.  It was so grand.  The scene was a party and Alice Cooper was performing and we made entrance.  Kathryn, Jonathan and I, then David behind us.  We nodded to Johnny Depp and he nodded at us.  He said to Jonathan that none of us would be here if it weren't for you.  He was very gracious and warm.  So was Tim Burton.  It was very exciting set.  They said they were watching the episodes in the makeup room every morning!

Scott: I just stood there with Lara Parker in the middle of this ballroom set and it was so reminiscent of back in 1966-67, but it was so lavish.  To walk down the cobble streets of Pinewood Studios and see Collinswood come alive, it was very much as I imagined it, but there you had the entire town! It was just wonderful to see it all come alive.

On Meeting Their Feature Film Counterparts

Scott:  She's only a year older than I was when I started and it was really wonderful to chat with her and see this beautiful delicate young woman.

Parker: We talked for about ten minutes.  She came out of her dressing room for a minute.  She did not ask me for my advice, which I was prepared to give her, but she was intrigued.  She didn't know Angelique was from Martinique.  She was very intrigued to find out that Angelique had French origins like herself.  She said the part was truly a gift, that it had many layers and that she was thrilled to be playing it.  She looked gorgeous.

"There are two words that Johnny Depp used to describe Jonathan that I completely agree with -- he was 'elegant' and he was 'magical.'"

Fondest Memory of Jonathan Frid

Parker: My fondest memory was when we did the auditions.  I auditioned with him and the scene was where I'm begging him not to abandon me because I love him so much.  We finished rehearsing the scene, he turned to me and said before we went on the camera, "You know she's a witch don't you?" Which I didn't know, I had no idea she was a witch.  I thought she was a servant girl who was in love with her master, and I said "No, she's a witch?," and he said, "Yes."

So we did the scene and I put a little spin on it at the end; I looked at the camera and did that 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned look' and I got the part.  I think it was because he had coached me in that way.

Scott: My first memory of him was when Maggie Evans first meets Barnabas Collins in the Collinsport diner. There's a beautiful moment when these two people, both of them very much outsiders, have a long scene in which you can see them bonding.  I think that Dan Curtis wanted that chemistry that Jonathan Frid and I had from the beginning, and that inspired him to create the character of Josette and this long lost love of Barnabas.  It was a really lovely scene. It was Jonathan's first week on the show. Maggie Evans, who works at the Collinsport diner, is closing up and you can see that she's tired and she's about to go out the door. Then there's this face in the window and it's Barnabas Collins.  He says, "I didn't see you were closing," and against her better judgment she lets him in, makes a fresh pot of coffee, and the two of them sit down and talk.  It's my favorite scene of all the episodes that I ever did.

He was so warm and he had a whimsical sense of humor, but he was also very down to earth.  There are two words that Johnny Depp used to describe Jonathan that I completely agree with --  he was "elegant" and he was "magical."

This article is related to: Interviews, Dark Shadows, Television, TV Interviews






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