What do a disembodied hand, a harpsichord-playing, Frankenstein-ish butler and a family of supernatural weirdos have in common with Tim Burton? A single name: Charles Addams.
The noted New Yorker cartoonist is known for creating the characters who became the inspiration for “The Addams Family,” which lived on as a popular 1960s TV show, two feature films starring Anjelica Huston and the late Raul Julia, cartoons, video games and more. The news today comes from Deadline Hollywood, which reports that Burton will be going back to Addams’ original artwork to use as his inspiration for a 3-D, stop-motion animated family film to be produced by Universal subsidiary Illumination Entertainment.
Burton, who is currently flying high following his biggest box-office opening with Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” is no stranger to stop-motion animation. He produced Disney’s holiday classic, the Henry Selick-directed “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” and he later directed “Corpse Bride,” which featured the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson and Tracey Ullman. Burton is also currently working on a stop-motion remake of his 1984 short film, “Frankenweenie.”
“The Addams Family,” as they were originally conceived by Addams the artist, were a play on the ideal American family. A wealthy husband and wife with two kids and a live-in uncle, they stood out with their eccentric, ghoulish behavior. Television and film characterizations of the family highlighted the satirical elements, as many might remember most recently from the two Barry Sonnenfeld-directed films.
Deadline reports that Burton intends to look past the more recent interpretations of the family and instead use Addams’ original illustrations for his inspiration. This could mean some changes for fans of the movies and TV show. Thing, for instance, was originally described by Addams as a disembodied head rolling around the family’s mansion but was ultimately changed to a slightly less-morbid hand for TV.
What do you think? Personally, I’d be all for it if I didn’t know that we we’re going to end up with Helena Bonham Carter as Morticia and Johnny Depp as Gomez. Much as I can enjoy those actors and Burton’s direction, I’m definitely tired of seeing the same old thing from him. A lot of filmmakers have their muses, but I feel as though Burton’s duo has gone a little stale after what we’ve seen already. Feature them, perhaps, but I’d rather not see them in the lead vocal roles. I just think that’s a little too much to hope for.