Morticia (Charlize Theron), Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz), Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) in a scene from The Addams Family.
Morticia (Charlize Theron), Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz), Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) in a scene from The Addams Family. Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Creepy or just odd? Meet the new Addams Family

IT'S been nearly three decades since the Addams Family was last on our screens.

And now, almost a century since the close-knit family first appeared in Charles Addams's New Yorker cartoons, they will appear in animated form on the big screen for the first time.

Directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon bring the eccentrically macabre clan into the 21st century in The Addams Family, which follows Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (voiced Charlize Theron) as they flee persecution, finally settling and starting their family in suburban New Jersey (a nod to the creator's home state).

When their daughter Wednesday announces she wants to enrol in the local school, the family finally reveal themselves to the nearby town. While they attempt to immerse themselves in the community, the locals aren't very welcoming.

"In all the eras the Addams have existed, it's always been the same reaction to them throughout the ages," Vernon says.

Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) in a scene from The Addams Family.
Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) in a scene from The Addams Family. Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

"Even back in the 1930s people were staring at them strangely. In the '60s people were saying 'Oh my God who are these weirdos?' and it was the same thing in the '90s. For me it's always been about how the Addamses react to the era they're in. In the 20-plus years since the (last) movie, there have been quite a few technological advantages. We wanted to explore how they react to cell phones, social media, being watched all the time, the age of outrage we live in.

"What's nice is they're always open-minded. They might think it's strange or they might misinterpret it, but they never do what the rest of the world does to them - which is shut them out and be judgmental.

"It gave us a reason to tell a story with the Addams Family, rather than just trying to march them back out for no good reason other than to make a buck."

Allison Janney voices the film's antagonist Margaux Needler, a bright but controlling home renovation show host whose grand plans for her suburb are threatened by the spooky new arrivals.

"We went through a lot of different ideas for her," Vernon says.

Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) in a scene from The Addams Family.
Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) in a scene from The Addams Family. Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

"In the beginning she was just a nosy busybody who felt herself morally and aesthetically superior to everyone else, but we found that there was no reason anyone would listen to her so we needed to give her some power. Someone in our writers' room said 'How about a nosy busybody with the power of someone who has their own makeover show?'."

The impressive voice cast also includes Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday, Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Bette Midler as Grandma and Martin Short as Grandpa Frump.

Snoop Dogg also makes a cameo as Cousin Itt.

"I wanted him on from day one to play Cousin Itt," Vernon says. "I'd worked with him before and when I asked he graciously signed on. We actually gave him tongue twisters to say on the microphone, then we reversed it and pitched it up, and that's what you're hearing."

Itt (Snoop Dogg) in a scene from The Addams Family.
Itt (Snoop Dogg) in a scene from The Addams Family. Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

The filmmakers hope their message of acceptance strikes a chord with families.

"First and foremost it's a comedy based on a comic strip," Tiernan says.

"We would be happy if families come away with a greater understanding of other families that may be different to them in whatever capacity and have them understand that no matter how strange any person or family might appear to them, at the core we're the same. We're all human beings."

The Addams Family opens on Thursday.


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