Jackie Earle Haley And Bella Heathcote In Talks For 'Dark Shadows'

Tim Burton is planning to follow up his 3D Alice in Wonderland with a long-planned big-screen version of the cult '60s vampire soap opera Dark Shadows. The film is being produced by Dark Shadows superfan Johnny Depp, who has long hoped to play lead character Barnabas Collins. Now he gets his chance. The film is reportedly set to shoot early this year, but no other cast has been announced.

Now Jackie Earle Haley and Bella Heathcote are reportedly in talks for key roles.

Deadline says that Mr. Haley would be Willie Loomis, the violent drifter and con man who is instrumental in releasing the vampire Barnabas Collins from his family mausoleum.

Bella Heathecoate, meanwhile, would be Victoria Winters, the character who was basically the lead of the series in its early days, before the introduction of the supernatural elements that made it popular, and who ends up as a sort of romantic interest for Barnabas. Victoria is a young governess of the Collins estate, who becomes an employee and close friend of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the character that Willie Loomis and his friend Jason McGuire come to town to swindle. (Seem complicated? It's a soap oprea, remember.)

Jackie Earle Haley is a great choice for the role; I kind of hate to see him plugged into another creepy antagonist role, but there are some complications in Willie's story that should be fun to see him play. (Think of him as a sort of Renfield character.) Bella Heathcote is more of an unknown to those who didn't see her on Neighbors. (She's also in David Chase's Twylight Zones and Andrew Niccol's Now.) Looked for a moment like she might end up as Snow White in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman, so I'll be curious to see how she fares here.