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San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Dark Shadows Panel Highlights; Original Cast Cameos Confirmed for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows Film

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Hermes Press hosted a “Dark Shadows” panel with Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans and Josette du Pres), and Jim Pierson (consulting producer for the new Dark Shadows film). The big news was that four of the original cast members will be making cameos in Tim Burton’s new film! Read on for the details and much more.

San Diego Comic-ConDaniel Herman (publisher, Hermes Press) moderated, and Parker and Scott were just about bursting at the seams to share the news that they, along with both David Selby (Quentin Collins) and, yes, the much beloved Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) spent three days at Pinewood Studios during the filming of Burton’s upcoming Dark Shadows movie. They will all be making cameos, but the real highlight for the quartet was being able to thank Johnny Depp (who plays Barnabas in the new version) for all the kind words and tributes he has given the 45-year-old show, especially as it relates to Frid and his performance. The icing on the cake was Depp telling Frid in person, “None of this would be here if it wasn’t for you.

Scott went on to describe the film as not an homage, but “so inclusive”, and she believes Burton’s vision is not reverential, just “a damn good movie.” She and Parker joked about how both Helen Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer are hooked on the old episodes of the series. Originally Bonham Carter wanted to play Angelique but now loves being Dr. Julia Hoffman – she’s “eating it up!”

It was confirmed by Pierson that Danny Elfman is doing the music for the adaptation, but Bob Cobert’s original TV theme also plays a part. Everyone feels like we (the “Dark Shadows” fans) are in good hands as Depp has promised “poetry” in the final product.

Looking back on the series’ 45-year history, Scott shared a story about when they realized how broad a demographic their audience was comprised of. The show was taken off the air during the 1967 Six-Day War (between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria), and they were inundated with letters of protest from people of all walks of life – not just your “typical” soap opera fans.

As for what our leading ladies Parker and Scott are up to now, both are prolific authors. Parker has her third “Angelique” book coming out, and it’s based on both original and new characters. It’s called The Salem Branch and is about Angelique’s first incarnation as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts.

Scott, who has previously written mostly non-fiction about her time both as a Playboy bunny and working on “Dark Shadows”, has her first fictional story, Dark Passages, coming out in August. It’s about an actress who is a real vampire and gets a job on a TV show not unlike “Dark Shadows”. In addition, the new NBC series “The Playboy Club” has bought the rights to her autobiographical The Bunny Years to utilize as a possible source for future episodes.

Both “Dark Shadows” based movies – House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows – are being restored for DVD to coincide with the release of the new film, and fans of the latter will be especially happy to hear that all the previously edited footage is being put back in.

Hermes Press is republishing Gold Key Comics’ original “Dark Shadows” tie-in comics in a series of five hardcover volumes. Click here for more info on that.

Lastly, the new comic books from Dynamite were touched upon. They pick up directly where the original daytime episodes of “Dark Shadows” left off, and the first issue is due out in October. Click that link for more info.

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Debi Moore

I'll see you on the other side...

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