Production designer Rick Heinrichs and Tim Burton go way, way back. Although you're certainly familiar with their collaborations on The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, and Planet of the Apes (to name a few), the two began working together as film students in the 1980s, and projects such as Hansel and Gretel and Vincent. Now, they're teaming up again for Dark Shadows.
Heinrichs spoke with Blog of Dark Shadows recently:
BLOG OF DARK SHADOWS: What are your overall feelings about becoming a part of the project; what made you say yes?
RICK HEINRICHS: I’m a fan of Tim’s movies as well a colleague and I’m delighted to be working with him again. I also love the genre of this film.
BLOG OF DARK SHADOWS: Were you a fan of the original series or the ’91 revival?
RICK HEINRICHS: I was aware of Dark Shadows growing up for the fact that a lot of kids were running home from school to watch the series in the afternoon. It seemed an odd subject to me for a soap opera. Now of course I realize the brilliance of showcasing it as a soap: the interplay of extreme emotions pouring from the different characters brought about by this courtly vampire in their midst. I also noticed that a majority of the fans seemed to be female and I wondered what was up with that. Obviously this was before I realized that the opposite sex could be romantically attracted to the doomed bad boy. Or was it bat-boy? At that time, I was looking at horror comics like Creepy and Eerie and the work of Jim Steranko and others. That’s where I first experienced the pleasure of stories that recognized the fine line between humor and horror.
BLOG OF DARK SHADOWS: Does the experience of Sleepy Hollow serve as a kind of stepping stone for this film? Of all of Tim Burton’s films, it is the one that most closely hits on the whole Dark Shadows feeling, I think.
RICK HEINRICHS: Sleepy Hollow was the story of a rational man’s journey into the irrational. We intentionally wanted Ichabod Crane’s investigation in upstate New York to have a progressively dreamlike quality ultimately leading to a nightmare. While the two movies do share certain genre aspects as well as the male lead, it’s certainly going to be a different feeling film.
BLOG OF DARK SHADOWS: Do you envision it being a challenge capturing visual elements of that show, yet updating it for the modern audience, or is it a completely different kettle of fish?
RICK HEINRICHS: It’s not a completely different kettle of fish. The reason [we're] doing Dark Shadows to a degree is to explore and relish what was great about that series and the character of Barnabas Collins, and we intend to make it a world the series’ many fans will enjoy.