Michelle Pfeiffer takes us behind the scenes of Tim Burton’s gothic comedy.
Four decades before Twilight, adolescents across the country flocked to a different sort of soap opera with forbidden fangs: the strangely titillating daytime-TV program Dark Shadows. The cult series, with its vampires, werewolves, and Frankensteinian monsters, gave birth to a generation of devotees, including director Tim Burton, who’s reimagined it as a feature film starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who is an ardent fan of the original. “I was one of those kids who raced home from school to catch it,” Pfeiffer says. “The show was weird, scary, and kind of erotic. It had everything.”
In Burton’s rendering, Pfeiffer plays Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the stoic matriarch of the cursed Collins clan, which for centuries has inhabited the spooky, gothic Collinwood Manor of fictional Collinsport, Maine. The house’s current residents include Barnabas Collins (Depp), a rich playboy in his time—that is, the 18th century—who’s just awoken from a 200-year nap in the year 1972 to find himself a vampire in financial ruin, haunted by a dilapidated house full of terrible family secrets and cursed by the beautiful witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). And that’s just where the campy intrigue begins. Says Pfeiffer of going to work every morning: “This was the most fun I’ve ever had preparing for a film.”