As The Addams Family makes its grand return to theaters, Morticia and Gomez’s clan must of course be faced with the expectations of society. In true iconoclast fashion, they immediately rub someone the wrong way. In this case, it’s Margaux Needler, a reality TV host who wants to change the face of the neighborhood. Her daughter Parker, on the other hand, grows closer to Wednesday and soon realizes that different can be good.
Allison Janney (Mom) and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) bring the Needler family to life, and they chatted with Screen Rant about their experiences with The Addams Family on and offscreen as well as the message they hope the film sends.
Congratulations on the film. I love The Addams Family; I'm glad it's back. What are some of your fondest memories of The Addams Family property? Not necessarily this movie, but in general.
Allison Janney: I first became aware of The Addams Family in my parents’ New Yorker magazine. It was Charles Addams’ cartoons, and I love them. And then I started watching the TV show with John Astin and I just – Morticia and Gomez, their relationship is what stayed with me, really. The passion and the love that they have for each other; I just thought, “That's what I want.”
How about you, Elsie?
Elsie Fisher: Yeah, as a kid, I loved Addams Family Values. I used to watch it on repeat. My dad and some of my other family members were more Munsters people, but in true Addams Family [style], I rebelled. I love the Addams.
Was that the one with “2 Legit 2 Quit,” the MC Hammer song?
Elsie Fisher: I think it might be.
Your characters are Margaux and Parker. Can you guys chat me up about where they fit into the Addams Family world?
Allison Janney: Well, in this incarnation of the Addams Family, I become their nemesis. Margaux Needler is the self-proclaimed Queen of the home makeover reality shows. She's about to unveil her biggest project ever, which is making over a whole community. A community called assimilation.
And to her horror, there is a change of weather pattern or whatever, and all of a sudden, she sees the Addams Family monstrosity, the house on the hill overlooking her community. And she's hell bent on getting rid of them. As a lot of people are in The Addams Family history; people don't like what they don't understand, and they're afraid of it and they reject them.
So, we again deal with that issue in this version. And Elsie plays Parker, my daughter.
Elsie Fisher: Who feels very taken advantage of by her mother, I think. And she’s not the popular girl at school. I think Wednesday and the rest of the Addams really enlightened her and allow her to explore herself
Allison Janney: Margaux’s terribly threatened by the Addams family and by Wednesday's influence on my daughter. She’s like, “No, no, no.”
But it's so great, because the movie is all about that. About acceptance and allowing for people to be individuals and allowing people to explore. Like Margaux needing to let her daughter find out who she is and not projecting her own desires and wishes on her – and just about acceptance and inclusivity and all those great things.
I'm glad you brought that up because Parker is actually one of my favorite characters in this movie. Talk to me about how she views the Addams family, because most of her classmates don't view Wednesday the same that way that Parker does. Parker goes through a massive change.
Elsie Fisher: Yeah, I think Parker starts off feeling pressured by society to be like, “Oh, they’re Other, and they're wrong and bad.” But when Wednesday really takes her under her wing and they become friends, I think she realizes that that's exactly what she needed; the Addams, and to have that sense of community and being able to be yourself. And I think it's really special to watch that progression, and I think that's something a lot of people could take notes on in today's world.
Absolutely. I love the message this movie gives, and I want to thank you guys so much for your time. It's a lot of fun.
- The Addams Family (2019) release date: Oct 11, 2019