EXCLUSIVE: Seth Grahame-Smith, who made his Hollywood entry writing novels that put a macabre twist to literary classics and historical figures, has just snagged the high profile job of writing the new draft of Dark Shadows. The Tim Burton-directed adaptation of the 60s daytime serial will star Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins. The film is slated to begin production in January at Warner Bros. Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films are producing.
Warner Bros has been trying for several years to get to the starting line on the movie adaptation of the TV series that ran on ABC from 1966-71 and had legions of fans frightened by the moody and atmospheric storyline. (Tim Burton May Push Back ‘Dark Shadows’ Start Date) Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid) was the central figure in the groundbreaking supernatural soap. As for Tim Burton’s version, John August was the first writer hired to script the project, based on the Dan Curtis-created characters. Grahame-Smith will be writing a new take under Burton. He got the job on the basis of his own bestselling novel, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Burton and Timur Bekmambetov bought that project out of their own money as producers, and I hear that Bekmambetov is likely to make the film his next directing effort.
Lionsgate has optioned Grahame-Smith’s book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, with David O. Russell circling as director, and Natalie Portman starring as Elizabeth Bennett and producing a film that injects bloodthirsty zombies into Jane Austen’s mannered literature.
Grahame-Smith also co-created with pal David Katzenberg the MTV series The Hard Times of RJ Berger. Grahame-Smith’s repped by WME.