Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amber Benson joins Dark Shadows

She played a witch on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a vampire on Supernatural, and this year Amber Benson will add Dark Shadows to her résumé. Benson will star in the Big Finish audio drama Dress Me in Dark Dreams where plays a young Judith Collins, a role originally played by Joan Bennett in the 1897 storyline.

From Big Finish:
Big Finish is pleased to announce that Amber Benson, best known as Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will be taking on the iconic role of Judith Collins in upcoming Dark Shadows release Dress Me in Dark Dreams. Fans of the TV series have already seen Judith as the stern matriarch of the Collins household in 1897 but this story visits her as a young, carefree woman whose life is blighted by having to care for her elderly grandmother, Edith. Edith is played by Terry Crawford, reprising her role for the first time in over forty years.
“It was always a dream of mine to have a shot at the Dark Shadows blend of horror and romance,,” says writer Marty Ross, “and the characters of Judith and Edith, these two strong and impassioned women, offered all the inspiration a writer could want in terms of what I hope is complex, creepy but ultimately rather moving gothic drama.”
Completing the cast for Dress Me in Dark Dreams is James Unsworth, playing the sinister and seductive Redmond Van Buren. The story was recorded simultaneously in London, Los Angeles and Florida earlier this year.
“The story gives us a chance to delve into the history of one of my favourite characters from the show,” says series co-producer Joseph Lidster. “Judith is such a glorious creation but with Joan Bennett sadly no longer with us, it didn't seem as though we'd be able to feature her in one of our Dramatic Readings. It was James Goss's suggestion that we get Amber in to play her at an earlier age and it works beautifully.”
Amber herself says, "Big Finish lured me away from my latest novel, How To Be Death, with an offer I couldn't refuse: the chance to get involved (and flex my acting muscles) with Dark Shadows, one of the most influential genre programs ever to grace the television set."
 I like Benson and was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but this news (coupled with the announcement of Doctor Who's Colin Baker recording a Dark Shadows episode for 2012) has me a little worried that the program is going to fall prey to geek stuntcasting. What's next? David Ducovny as Sheriff George Patterson? Jim Parsons as a grown David Collins?


Efe X said...

Although I understand your concern, I don't see why it should really be a problem if other cult shows or their cast members interacted with each other. It's a nice way to appreciate these other series and have them under one extended umbrella.

I've never been interested in DS audio dramas before but this piece of news grabbed my attention :)

Cousin Barnabas said...

True enough. Most of this is just typical fanboy territoriality on my part, but it does worry me that two consecutive Dark Shadows productions from Big Finish star people who have no ties to the series. It feels a little like stunt casting.

At this moment it's just a minor quibble.

Cletus said...

If they don't cast Nathan Fillion as Cletus Collins, there's gonna be Hell to pay!

Cletus said...

If they don't cast Nathan Fillion as that sexy ass Cletus "I'll whup every sumbitch in the room" Collins, there's gonna be hell to pay!

Yeah, I been drinkin'. Whut of it?

Anonymous said...

I think they just got the best actress for the role - after all, Joan Bennett came to the role with a track record in other creepy things, such as her whole body of work with the great Fritz Lang. I'll confess an interest, I'm Marty Ross and wrote the script... but haven't yet heard the final edit. But I reckon Amber will be terrific - and Terry Crawford is pretty much guaranteed to be. By the way, the Marilyn Ross gallery is great. As a Brit, unable to see the original shows when first broadcast, the Marilyn Ross paperbacks (which you could get for pocket money as cheap imports in my local Woolworths back when I was a kid) were my introduction to the show. (although s/he is no relation, sorry to say!)

Cousin Barnabas said...

Thanks for dropping by, Marty! I look forward to hearing the upcoming Big Finish DS episodes, which have no right being as good as they are. Audio dramas are notoriously difficult to write and stage, but the Dark Shadows and Judge Dredd episodes I've heard have been amazing.

I discovered Dark Shadows through the Marilyn Ross books, too, when I was living in England in the early 1980s. The used book store I visited in Penn was absolutely infested with Dark Shadows books.

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