Monday, February 27, 2012

Kathryn Leigh Scott returns to Collinwood: Part 1

Kathryn Leigh Scott
Kathryn Leigh Scott returns to Collinwood in her latest book about the cult phenomenon Dark Shadows, but in many ways she’s never left.

Scott played Maggie Evans and other characters during the show’s 1,225 episode run. She also appeared in the show's first episode, which puts her in a very select club of actors. And it's a club that's been steadily expanding over the years, giving her frequent opportunities to explore the world of Dark Shadows in print. Her latest book, Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood, might be her last on the subject, though.

Her first book, My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows was published in 1986, prompted by the death of friends and Dark Shadows cast members Grayson Hall and Joel Crothers.  

“I thought it would be my only book on Dark Shadows,” she said. “Since then I’ve found there are always new stories to tell and I’ve published a new Dark Shadows book every six years. I think this one will be the last one. What more is there to say? And yet never say never.”

Return to Collinwood, due in stores March 27, will be the first of her publications to be full color. It will also connect the television show’s debut in 1966 to the filming of the new Warner Bros. feature film, to be released this May. The film stars Johnny Depp and is directed by long-time collaborator Tim Burton, with England standing in for the fictional Collinsport, Maine.

“Return to Collinwood is really about what it felt like 45 years after we originated these roles, to go back and play cameos in this entirely new production,” she said. “But the book also contains information about all of the other incarnations of Dark Shadows. And that includes the pilot for the WB series that wasn’t picked up, the 1991 series, the new dramas we’re doing (for Big Finish,) and both of the original films.”
Scott and Dark Shadows alumni Jonathan Frid, David Selby and Lara Parker also filmed cameos in the film, something that was documented for Return to Collinwood.
“We were the kids on the show when we first started,” she said. “Now we’re the senior members. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp could not have been more welcoming. They’ve been very supportive of the book, as has Richard Zanuck, the producer.” 

Even though it's been off the air since 1970, Dark Shadows has still managed to accumulate new talent as it has expanded into other media. London-based Big Finish Production has produced almost two dozen original "audio dramas" starring original members of the cast. They also managed to coax Jonathan Frid out of retirement to play Barnabas Collins for the first time since 1970, as well as luring Alec Newman further into the fold. Newman played Barnabas Collins in a pilot for The WB that was not picked up as a series.
“I loved working with him," Scott said of Newman. "Once you’re part of the Dark Shadows family you're part of Dark Shadows forever. We’re like this huge family. We never lose track of anybody.”

With Return to Collinwood Scott said she fought to produce a book of original material that represented every branch of the Dark Shadows family tree. Ultimately, she had to rely very little on material from previous books.
“A number of people, in various blogs and fan mail that I’ve gotten, have said they were disappointed that there were certain books that were out of print,” she said. “So I thought ‘Do I really want to put a couple of pieces (from earlier) books in this one?’”
She decided the new movie would likely bring Dark Shadows to a new audience this summer, many of who won’t have the benefit of a lengthy relationship with the show that other fans enjoy.
“Just like this film is reaching a whole new audience, the book is reaching a whole new audience of Dark Shadows fans, as well.” she said. “I think there are two pieces that have already appeared in print, but they’ve been re-edited. Everything else is new.”

Hollywood isn’t known for being sentimental, and Scott said the inclusion of the original cast in the new movie is a fortunate exception to the rule. None of the surviving cast members were invited to appear in the Mission Impossible films, for example, but Scott said the new Dark Shadows production has gone out of its way to include the original cast.
“Very often people don’t want to acknowledge who invented the wheel. This film is very much Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s film, but the idea that they should be so inclusive is very remarkable. And we’re thrilled about it"

(Come back later this week for the second part of this interview HERE, in which Kathryn Leigh Scott discusses her novel Dark Passages and shares her thoughts on the new Dark Shadows movie.)

1 comment:

Sandi McBride said...

I have been digging through my books to resurrect my copy of her first book so I can read it again before the newest one. Great interview, by the way. I do wish they'd return the show to the small screen though, don't you?

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