Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán play Morticia and Gomez Adams in the Netflix series.
The Addams Family has taken many forms over the years, from 1960s TV shows, 1990s big budget movies to 2009 Broadway musicals, and more recently as two offbeat CG animated features, each To change shape—or, indeed, to deviate from the norm of time. In the new Netflix series out Wednesday, centered on the family’s unlucky only daughter, the home of the macabre Bon Vivents draws closer to cartoonist Charles Adams’ original design that first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker.
See Catherine Zeta-Jones as matriarch Morticia, Luis Guzmán as patriarch Gomez, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday’s name, and Isaac Ordóez as helpless brother Pugsley. Tim Burton is an executive producer and directed four of the eight episodes, helping to shape the overall look of the series. Perhaps the strangest thing about the show, which will debut this fall, is that it hasn’t made the Addams Family project any time soon.
For her first foray into television, Burton brought on her longtime collaborator (and four-time Oscar winner) Colleen Atwood as costume designer to give Morticia her signature vampire chic and Gomez her fancy prisoner pin-stripes Is. Wednesday, who sees the world in black and white, wears only what—preferably one with a sharp sharp collar. Disorganized Pugsley is the only casual in the clan, always in short-pants and horizontal stripes that look like an old-school TV dialed in dead air.
The show is the brainchild of Smallville creators Miles Miller and Alfred Gough, who recruited Burton to bring his odd sensibility to a family of gothic outcasts. “He wanted the silhouette to look like a Charles Adams cartoon, smaller than Gomez Morticia, versus like the Raul Julia version in the movies,” Gough says.
“She’s also incredibly debonair and romantic, and I think she has all those classic elements of Gomez we’ve seen before, but she also brings something different,” Miller said. “It’s something that was so important to the show—that it didn’t feel like a remake or a reboot. It’s something that stays within the Venn diagram of what happened before, but it’s its own thing. It’s movies or 60s.” Not trying to be the TV show of the decade. It was very important to us and very important to Tim.”
Burton, who was not available for an interview, was famously known for filming The Addams Family from 1991, but it was passed over. Gough and Miller hoped they would not get it when they made their plea. “Tim was always the Mount Everest of directors,” Gough says. To his surprise, Burton called him three days after receiving the script for the first episode.
“He was interested in where he was going, and the mystery of the show,” Gough says. “He had a lot of questions about past television work, and how we were able to achieve that. He really loved that you had the time to be with Wednesday and explore the character and give you an hour and 45 minutes.” I didn’t need to wrap things up.”
“The ambition of the show was to make it an 8-hour Tim Burton film,” says Miller.
The mystery of the series are several murders that affect the small town where Wednesday is sent to excommunicate Nevermore Academy, a prestigious boarding school. Death and decay are not bothering him. They are really soothing at a time when she is learning to live on her own.
One way the show differs from traditional Addams family tales is that Wednesday is no longer a sad little girl, she’s an older teenager in high school—still depressed, but more independent. “The kind of relationship that hangs over the course of the season is really Wednesday’s relationship with Morticia,” Gough says. “How do you break out of the shadow of a glamorous mom like Morticia?”
Despite their formidable nature, the Addams family has always displayed a relentless enthusiasm and enthusiasm. It’s tiring for Wednesday. “Wednesday isn’t afraid of sharks or creepy crawlies or anything, but he’s afraid of emotions,” Gough says. “Their open displays of affection went crazy Wednesday.”
Ortega’s Wednesday also shares a love-hate relationship with his brother. He’s mostly benign – but the target of resentment from genuine outsiders who bully him and pick on him. “He’s allowed to torture her. No one else is,” Miller says. “That’s the difference. She will defend him to the end against threats or anything else, but she has the license to do whatever she wants. She is protecting him in a very Wednesday way. ,
“Every family is weird and it’s weird, but they love each other,” Miller says. “And that’s ultimately about it. They always have each other’s backs and that is unconditional love.”