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Upcoming Documentary Pays Tribute to Legendary TV Vampire & Stage Actor: Dark Shadows & Shakespeare: The Jonathan Frid Story

The in-depth documentary explores Frid’s struggles, joys, artistic triumphs and rise to fame through the personal reminiscences of family, friends and colleagues Marion Ross, Dick Cavett, Christina Pickles, Anthony Zerbe, David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Marie Wallace, [Will McKinley], and others. The documentary also includes rare clips, photographs and audio from Frid’s career in addition to previously unseen video interview footage.

Dark Shadows & Shakespeare: The Jonathan Frid Story is produced and directed by Mary O’Leary, who produced the one-man shows that brought Frid out of retirement in the mid-1980s and back into the spotlight. Executive Producer Jim Pierson has overseen and worked on Dark Shadows projects for three decades, including the 1991 primetime series and the 2012 film version. He was also a producer of the 2019 documentary Master of Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows & Shakespeare: The Jonathan Frid Story will be released by MPI Media Group in 2020.

Adapted from: collinsporthistoricalsociety.com/2019/10/documentary-in-works-about-life-career.html

A note from Jana: Dark Shadows: Reincarnation is being developed as a television series sequel to the original Dark Shadows TV show. The CW has ordered DSR to script, which means Mark B. Perry is now writing same. What happens next? If the script is ordered to pilot, and if the pilot is ordered to series, then the TV series will be shown on The CW, a Warner owned subsidiary. It is likely DSR will eventually join other Warner owned content behind the paywall of their new HBO Max streaming service.

The CW and Warner Bros Television have made a deal to develop Dark Shadows: Reincarnation, an hourlong gothic horror drama based on the 1966 Dan Curtis-created cult classic TV soap opera. The pilot will be written by Mark B. Perry, whose credits include Revenge, Ghost Whisperer and Brothers & Sisters. He will be exec producer along with Amasia Entertainment’s Michael Helfant, Bradley Gallo and Tracy Mercer, along with Tracy Curtis and Cathy Curtis.

The re-imagined show will be a modern-day continuation of the strange, terrifying, and sexy saga of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine — a mysterious, influential, publicity-shy group hiding a ghastly secret: For the past 400 years, they’ve lived under a curse that bedevils their blue blood with every imaginable supernatural creature and horror. The intention here is to harken back to the original, which was so popular it actually saw Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid become as popular in the teen magazines as the young heartthrobs of the moment, for his role as the vampire Barnabas Collins.

As a kid, Perry ran home from school to catch the gothic soap — it aired each weekday after school — and for the past two years had been aggressively pursuing the rights.

Said Perry: “As a first-generation fan, it’s been a dream of mine to give Dark Shadows the Star Trek treatment since way back in the ’80s when Next Generation was announced, so I’m beyond thrilled and humbled to be entrusted with this resurrection. And while I could never hope to fill Dan Curtis’ very large shoes, I do aspire to carry them a little farther into the future.

I also want to reassure the fans of the original that this version will treat the show’s mythology with the same reverence given to Star Trek, but will also make the show accessible for audiences who aren’t yet familiar with the macabre world of the Collinses. My plan is to take as few liberties as possible with the Dark Shadows canon, while bearing in mind a quote from a 1970s episode delivered by the inimitable Oscar-nominee Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman: ‘The Collins family history is not particularly famous for its accuracy.’

”Curtis’ daughters Tracy and Cathy Curtis brought the iconic property to Amasia’s Mercer, with the hope of revitalizing and introducing their father’s legacy to a new generation. The two Tracys met when they worked together on CBS’s hit drama, Madam Secretary, where Mercer was a producer and Curtis was an editor. “I knew Tracy was a die-hard fan of my father’s work and would protect his vision by bringing on someone who understood how special this property is,” Tracy Curtis said. “My expectations were surpassed when she introduced us to Mark and I heard his incredible take. I felt my father was watching from above and smiling down on us. Tracy and I couldn’t be happier to have Mark take viewers back to Collinwood. Mark has opened up our father’s universe with fresh storylines and new characters that will delight original fans even as they thrill younger viewers.”

Mercer added, “Mark’s talent, unique take, and absolute fanboy love for Dark Shadows made him our ideal showrunner.” Helfant, also a first-generation fan, said, “We were thrilled to be in a competitive situation with the pitch for DSR. Gaye Hirsch and her team have a stellar track record with smart genre programming, so The CW makes total sense for this new incarnation of the godfather of horror TV.”

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