I try not to report on set photos very often, and that’s for a of couple reasons. First off, it’s one thing to look at official images that are released by the studio and are ideally meant to create hype for a project without giving much of it away, and it’s another to look at spy photos that, quite frankly, give away a lot more about a movie than I want to know before I’m sitting in the theater to watch the finished product.
And also, seeing things out of context, not through the lens of the cinematographer, and without any of that special “movie magic” attached to it, can give you the wrong impression of how a film is going to look and make you go into your actual viewing of the finished film battling unfair prejudices. Case in point are some recent spy pics from the set of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, which made the rounds and gave Internet fans a glimpse at what Johnny Depp would look like as the vampire Barnabas Collins. His face was covered in a thick layer of grease paint, it looked like he had plastic hair, and generally the picture made Dark Shadows look like it was going to be one of the over-the-top cartoon movies that have become a hallmark of Burton’s recent career. That aesthetic doesn’t jibe much with what the original Dark Shadows was, and would have probably been a pretty stupid way to approach the material. Probably if I had looked at those pics back when they were released, I would have started cultivating some pretty strong resentment toward this movie.
But luckily I waited, because now an official image from the film has been put out by Entertainment Weekly, and it reveals an aesthetic approach that is much more real world and lived-in than the random, out of context photo of Depp doing who knows what for who knows what reason. Check out the full picture after the break.
Since this project was first announced, I’ve hoped that it would be a departure for Burton from the fright wig insanity that he’s been making his movies into recently, and more of a throwback to something like Ed Wood, which is my favorite film from him by far. And with this new official photo of the cast, those hopes are still alive in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving Burton the benefit of the doubt, but I’m still approaching this movie with reserved optimism. So, boo set photos.