A transoceanic leap into Dark Shadows
Pretty Aussie faces keep flooding Hollywood's screens. Famous directors seem to find Down Under the ideal talent for their particular characters.
A recent discovery may have changed an Australian actress' career forever. The surprise came when legendary director Tim Burton offered newcomer Bella Heathcote a role in his latest film Dark Shadows
The macabre comedy -an adaptation of popular American soap opera from the 70s- tells the story of the Collins family, whose lives are permanently, altered once their dead relative, Barnabas Collins –a vampire- comes into their lives. After all, “every family has its demons”.
“My name is Barnabas Collins. Two centuries ago, I made Collinwood my home… until a jealous witch cursed me, condemning me to the shadows, for all time,” the voice in off starts the movie.
Tim Burton carefully chose the cast to interpret each peculiar, odd character that were really Dark Shadows' material, at the time he tried to find actors who would have a strong chemistry on set, as they are related in the story. Mythical stars in Tim Burton's films such as Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter –Burton's wife- feature in this film. Depp plays the main character, Barnabas Collins, while Helena Bonham Carter plays a secondary humorous role: the alcoholic psychiatrist.
“We've done about 15,000 films together, Helena and I,” said Johnny Depp. “I don't how many times I've killed Helena on films. Tim constantly has me killing his wife in his movies… I wonder what that means.”
To play the head of the family, Burton chose Michelle Pfeiffer, whom he worked with in Batman Returns. “Catwoman was one of my favourite performances of anybody I've worked with,” Burton said.
With this stellar cast, Bella Heathcote's career promises to be outer space, and following Burton's casting, she will most probably appear in his next movies. In Dark Shadows, the 24-yeard old plays two characters: Victoria Winters –the ghostly governess- and Josette Du Press –Barnabas' lost love. “Bella looks like a person who has been reincarnated”, Tim Burton explained his choice. “That is why she was just the right person for Victoria”.
Talking about the challenge of interpreting two characters in the same film, Bella explained: “I've been fortunate enough that I haven't shot Josette and Vicky on the same day. But it's kind of great, because the look is so different. It makes it a lot easier to play the two separate characters”.
“He's coming… He's coming…” the ghostly figure of Josette alerts Victoria and the plot begins. Bella's characters develop a romantic attachment with Barnabas –Depp- in different centuries. Depp promised Josette they would spend eternity together, but little did he know that his jilted lover was a witch and would compel Josette to jump off a cliff. Josette reincarnates in Victoria and the love story begins once again.
Isabella “Bella” Heathcote was born in Melbourne and is best known for playing Amanda Fowler on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. She began her career in 2008 and in 2010 was a recipient of a Heath Ledger Scholarship.