The Addams family have been a constant of American pop culture since their single-panel cartoons published in The New Yorker in the 1930s. The bizarre bunch’s popularity soared from their illustrated start and have since appeared on-screen in their own cartoon television series, live-action shows and live-action movies, which are now hailed as Halloween classics.
The famously erratic family’s development is now set to continue with an all-new animated film.
Past “Addams Family” Projects
Following the success of the “Addams Family” cartoon strip came the ‘60s live-action television show of the same name. “The Addams Family” ran on ABC for two years, with 64 half-hour episodes that were shot entirely in black and white, paralleling the family’s adoration of all things eerie and dim. The live-action show is notably credited with the debut of what is now the world-renowned snap-equipped theme song for the beloved family.
Audiences found the “The Addams Family” to be delightfully frightening and were disheartened when the television show came to its end in 1966. However, the morbid Addams gang reemerged in the ‘90s with their first-ever big screen feature, also titled “The Addams Family.”
The 1991 film centered around the finding of Uncle Fester Addams (Christopher Lloyd), who had been brainwashed by a woman who referred to herself as Fester’s mother, Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson), who was really just after the Addams family fortune. Unaware of his true identity, Fester aids in the wicked plot until his brother Gomez (Raul Julia), and the rest of the family help him recall his place in the Addams family.
With the approval from diehard “Addams Family” fans, and the success of the iconic characters, such as the mischievously peculiar daughter, Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci), and the divinely dark mother, Morticia Addams (Anjelica Huston), the film received a sequel in 1993.
“Addams Family Values” came with yet another interesting, but similar, Fester-centered plot, as he marries a serial killer called “the black widow,” Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusak), who marries for money and then kills her husbands to absorb their riches. With her identity hidden, she becomes the kids’ nanny, marries Fester, paints the iconic caliginous mansion in “horrid” pastels and almost succeeds in the takeover of the Addams’ livelihood. With the return of Ricci’s Wednesday, and Julia’s Gomez, the film was quick to become a fan favorite.
The spooky clan’s historic and successful television and film features led to talks of yet another “Addams Family” project in the late 2000s. It was rumored that the legendary director Tim Burton was creating a stop-motion Addams Family movie. Fans of course, were eager to hear that the director who had crafted an eccentric, yet beautiful contrast of light and dark in his own creepy cult-classic, “Corpse Bride,” might be applying the same technique to the Addams Family. Sadly, the film never made it past the early development stage.
The New Project
In recent months, a beacon of hope arose for the quirky bunch’s return with the announcement of an all-new animated “Addams Family” film project. While some fans were hesitant to celebrate due to past disappointment with projects that fell through the cracks, recent news suggested that the new film is the real deal.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios assured a green light for the rumored animated film with the reveal of the voice-cast, which includes Charlize Theron as Morticia, Oscar Isaac as Gomez, as well as “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley and Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday. The film studio also released concept artwork of the famously eerie family, along with a synopsis and character description for each member’s role in the new film.
In addition to the star-studded cast, MGM revealed the plot of the movie. Newcomer, Matt Liberman, who wrote the screenplay for the film, said that he was inspired by the cartoons drawn in the New Yorker by Charles Addams. Therefore, unlike the past projects that focused on threats to the Addams’ family fortune, and Fester inadvertently aiding the antagonist, Liberman’s story is unlike anything any other “Addams Family” adaptation.
Liberman and directors, Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, instead, chose to focus on the Addams’ origin story, particularly how Morticia and Gomez meet, find their house and start their family. The writer promised that the animated feature will take a unique approach to the dark and zany misadventures that helped form the family viewers have come to love today.
More specifically, Liberman says the plot will follow the Addams family facing off with a mischievous reality TV-host, voiced by Allison Janney, who is obsessed with achieving “absolute suburban, pastel perfection,” while preparing for an extravagant celebration with their extended family — hopefully complete with the Mamushka.
As of right now, it is unknown whether the long-awaited return of the Addams Family will live up to the idiosyncratic humor and peculiarity achieved in the previous installments. Although, with A-list cast members, such as Halloween queen Bette Middler, and talented directors Tiernan and Vernon, who each possess a proven knack for “off-beat animated storytelling sensibilities,” the film appears to have the recipe for success for a “Addams Family” production. The film is set to release in October 2019.