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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hollywood Watch: Vampires and Queens of Rock

Two major Hollywood "remakes" are currently in pre-production and/or filming. One of the remakes is actually a retelling of the story of one of rock's greatest stars, Janis Joplin. After years of development and several actresses attached to the lead role, it looks like Oscar-nominee Amy Adams has finally landed the part of the hard-singing, hard-living rock goddess who died at 27 of a drug overdose. Adams might seem a strange choice for the role; until now Adams has made a career out of playing sweet-natured, quiet, very meek young women, nothing like the loud, boisterous, hard-partying Joplin. But sometimes actors score their greatest triumphs when playing against type, so you never know, this might be the role that finally makes Adams a huge star and wins her that elusive Oscar.
.(jonathan frid as
"barnabas collins")
An even more interesting project is the remake of the 1960's gothic soap opera, ABC's "Dark Shadows". For those too young to remember, "Dark Shadows" told the story of Barnabas Collins, a vampire, the Stoddard family, and an assortment of witches, werewolves, ghosts, etc. For those of us of a particular generation, it was the show that we ran home from school everyday to see, only to have the bejesus scared out of us for our efforts. Tim Burton is directing, and his go-to star, Johnny Depp, will play Barnabas Collins. We're not sure who else is in the cast
of the current movie, but the original cast of the 1966-71 t.v. show had some interesting members.
.(the cast of "dark shadows").

(johnny depp as "barnabas collins")
In addition to Jonathan Frid as Barnabas, the creepy soap also starred Oscar-nominated Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman. Hall was nominated in 1965 as Best Supporting Actress for "Night of the Iguana". Also starring was Joan Bennett, who had been a major Hollywood star in the 1930's and sister to fellow movie star, Contance Bennett. Other stars of the pre-Twilight vampire saga included Alexandra Isles, who later became the mistress to suspected wife-murderer, Klaus Von Bulow; Kate Jackson, who would later go on to t.v. stardom as a "Charlie's Angel"; and Mitch Ryan, who next found major t.v. success as Greg's father on "Dharma and Greg". Other notable cast members included John Karlen, who later played Harvey Lacey, the husband of Lacey of "Cagney and Lacey"; Louis Edmonds, who played Langley Wallingford for 16 years on "All My Children"; the very sexy David Selby, who played Richard Channing on "Falconcrest"; and on and on. You've probably figured out by now that the t.v. show was so popular that it successfully launched the careers of many young actors, many of whom are still working today.
(jonathan frid and grayson hall).

(kate jackson)
One of the most interesting actors to appear on "Dark Shadows" was Dennis Patrick, who went on to fame as Vaughn Leland on "Dallas". In addition to starring in more than 1800 t.v. guest roles in his four decade career, coincidental to his role on "Dark Shadows", he actually played the very first t.v. vampire in a 1950 episode of "Stalag 13". In another strange twist of fate, Patrick died in a house fire, fire being the only thing beside a wooden stake which will kill a vampire.
.But for the craziest trivia nuts out there, like us, here's the best one. Denise Nickerson was featured on "Dark Shadows" as Amy Jennings, from 1968-1970. Not sure who Nickerson is? Soon after her role on "Dark Shadows", Nickerson played the role of none other than Violet Beauregarde in the iconic 1971 movie, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".
(denise nickerson as "violet beauregarde")

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