What in the Heck Is Going on With Johnny Depp in “Dark Shadows?”

Will Leitch
The Projector

Say what you will about Johnny Depp, but we don't think anyone can deny that the guy's willing to go the extra mile. Colin Farrell plays a vampire by putting on some powder and wearing a T-shirt. Robert Pattinson plays a vampire by throwing on some fake fangs and growing his hair. Johnny Depp? He plays a vampire by turning himself into Michael Jackson.

That's the only thing we can come up with after seeing early images of Depp on the set of "Dark Shadows," his upcoming film with director Tim Burton. The film, which is an "updating" of the '70s ABC soap opera (Depp's character, Barnabas Collins, was originally played by Jonathan Frid), is the seventh collaboration between Depp and Burton. By our count, it's the second time in a row in a Burton film that Depp has played Michael Jackson.

In case you don't know, Barnabas Collins is a vampire, which would explain the paleness. Though the original version wasn't that pale. Even though he's a vampire, Collins is a good guy. (Here's a complete synopsis of the series.) The film is coming out next May and co-stars Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer.

It's worth noting that it's possible Depp is painted up like that to help digital animators put in special effects in postproduction. Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican, who has seen footage of the film, says he looks a lot different onscreen. We do hope so.

Here's a larger version:

Is Johnny Depp a Ghoulish King of Pop in 'Dark Shadows'? [/film]