August Talks Original “Dark Shadows” Take

Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” earlier this Summer was not well received by the critics. Now frequent Burton collaborator John August has revealed to STYD that the previous incarnation of the project was quite different to the product we ended up with.

August, who penned the first draft of “Dark Shadows” a few years back, said his version was a straight-laced drama with supernatural elements. However the direction of the film changed to something more resembling a comedy and he found himself replaced by Seth Grahame-Smith as writer.

“Dark Shadows, when it came to me, it was before ‘Twilight’ had come out and before ‘True Blood.’ They said, ‘Let’s make a big gothic, vampire drama.’ I pitched that and I wrote a ‘Godfather’-like saga of the Collins family and Barnabas was at the center of it all. It took itself seriously. It was set in ’71 too and leaned on that for a bit of the comedy, but it played itself straight and not a comedy” says August.

He adds that it was one of his works that he was most proud of – “I was excited to make that movie and, honestly, I think it’s one of the best scripts I’ve written. But I totally get why, at the time they went off to make it, they didn’t make that version. It was frustrating to see other things coming out doing what was there, like ‘True Blood,’ but that’s going to happen.”