As a weird kid (and an even weirder adult), The Addams Family has always spoken to me in a way that other cartoons and family-friendly series and films have not.
I loved how Morticia and Gomez were shown to be a loving couple who let their freak flags fly and, by way of that, allowed their kids Wednesday and Pugsley to do the same. I also feel as though Wednesday was perhaps some of the inspiration for Aubrey Plaza’s portrayal of April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, so it’s little wonder I have long thought of her as my kindred spirit.
For comedian, actor and writer Nick Kroll, who once again lends his voice talents as Uncle Fester to The Addams Family 2, the appeal of America’s creepiest and kookiest family is simple.
“The Addams Family has been around for so long and various iterations — from the original comic strip to the TV show and then the Addams Family Values live-action movies in the 90s,” Kroll said in an interview with The Latch.
“I think it’s that people, they just find the family relatable. I mean, as weird and bizarre as they are is kind of how we all kind of see our own families. They’re outcasts and yet inside of that, they’re very close with each other. And I think those are just very relatable themes that people can get down with.”
Indeed, when you think about the fact the family first appeared in the 1930s, the Gothic tones of the series seems fairly ahead of the time and it’s little wonder the characters were not only able to stand out in the entertainment landscape, but continue to intrigue and delight us over the years.
“I also think, while they’ve always been family movies, they’re always a little riskier, and edgier and subversive,” muses Kroll. “And I think that kids and adults all enjoy that element — that they take a few more liberties than a lot of family fare normally does.”
In a time when we are practically begging studios and creators to diversify what we see on our screens and to give young generations characters they can relate to and see themselves in, The Addams Family have long been allowing kids who feel a little different to take pride in who they are.
“I think that’s a lifelong journey we’re all on: trying to figure out what makes us unique and embracing the eccentricities of who we are,” said Kroll of his own attachment to the franchise. “And once we can start to appreciate those things that make us different, the more that they will benefit us in the long run. That’s a journey that takes a long time.
“In my case, I recently had a son, but until then I was the Uncle Fester to my family. I have a ton of nieces and nephews, and I was the weird single uncle. So I even though I now have a family of my own, I still carry an Uncle Fester somewhere inside of me.”
Speaking of journeys, The Addams Family 2 sees the unique little gang, Fester included, off on a road trip adventure, suggested by Gomez (Oscar Isaac) when he and Morticia (Charlize Theron) lament that their kids are starting to feel distant as they grow up. Along the way, we see Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) question both her biological and emotional connection to her family, Pugsley (Javon Walton) and Fester up to their usual misfit tricks and, of course, a catch up with the uber-cool Cousin It (voiced once more by Snoop Dogg). In all, it’s a road trip for the ages and one not devoid of misadventure but would we expect anything less?.
So, now that he is a father himself and family vacations are on the horizon, what would Kroll’s ideal family road trip look like?
“Right now my son is very small and doesn’t quite understand what’s happening when he gets into a car,” laughed Kroll. “So I look forward to the day when he understands that when he’s getting in the car it means he’s going somewhere fun, and maybe that means he won’t be screaming and crying the entire time.
“But, you know, there’s nothing like the good and bad of being enclosed in a small space, like a car, with your family. I think there’s something about being in a car, everybody’s facing forward, kids are in the backseat, that allows you to sometimes turn it into opportunities to have really big interesting conversations which are sometimes harder in person with your family.”
For the multi-talented actor, it seems that returning to play a part in the tale of this beloved family was not only a nod to his own journey in embracing his differences and his evolution from “the weird single uncle” but also an opportunity for reminiscing on happy memories from his own youth.
“I look back at my childhood and I have really fond memories of those family road trips. I hope that I can begin to, and continue to, have a lot more fun family road trips with my own family now.”
The Addams Family 2 is showing in HOYTS Cinemas from January 6.