Johnny Depp 'Feels His Costumes' In 'Dark Shadows'
Costume designer Colleen Atwood takes MTV News inside the extravagant looks of Depp's Barnabas Collins.
By John Mitchell, with reporting by Amy Wilkinson
Johnny Depp Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
Costume designer Colleen Atwood has dressed Johnny Depp for eight films, five of which were directed by Tim Burton. The pair's collaboration dates all the way back to 1990's "Edward Scissorhands" and continues to this day with Burton's latest flick, "Dark Shadows."
In the film, Depp plays centuries-old vampire Barnabas Collins, who is awakened in the late '60s and tries to forge a relationship with his modern descendents. Atwood recently revealed to MTV News that while Depp is most certainly involved in the costuming process, he's come to trust her enough to let her work her magic.
"Johnny's very open about what things are in the process, but he really lets people present things to him. He never really pushes at all," Atwood said. "Sometimes he doesn't even look in the mirror in his fittings. It's so funny. It's pretty amazing. People would be surprised, because I think they have this image of Johnny, because he's so stylish always, but he really feels his costumes more than looks at them, and the movement and the feeling in them is really important."
For "Shadows," Depp's vampire is of the traditional sort. Unlike the sparkling vamps of "Twilight," Barnabas cannot be exposed to sunlight. His courtship of Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) and his desire to keep his dark secret from her, however, forces him into the daylight. This presented a costuming issue for Atwood, who had to find interesting ways to conceal Depp's skin from sun.
"He plays a vampire who wouldn't normally go out in the daytime, but we wanted him to be able to have outings, so I did two or three different hat shapes and we tried them once he got his hair and makeup on," Atwood tells MTV News. "I also found these amazing hundred-year-old sunglasses, but they were too small ... so I took them and had them copied. And the color of the sunglasses and the color of the hat and his costume coat, which was a really dark green, is one of our favorite combos we've come up with in our work together."
The three-time Oscar winner (for "Alice in Wonderland," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Chicago") admits that Depp's professionalism has been key to their successful collaboration, saying, "There's a lot of trust there for both of us, so it's a nice process, because ... if he has an idea, it comes from someplace; it's not just some wanky fashion idea."
If the early photos are any indication, Atwood has outdone herself yet again. Depp's Barnabas looks simultaneously terrifying and alluring, and co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and Helena Bonham Carter's dark, high-style extravagance looks like a perfect fit for the Gothic world Burton has created.
Are you loving the look Atwood has created for "Dark Shadows"? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me at @JohnMitchell83 with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!