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Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan Interview: The Addams Family

The Addams Family’s latest incarnation arrives in theaters on October 11th, thanks to the vision of directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. The two previously teamed up on Sausage Party, and they’ve brought their wacky synergy to Charles Addams’ beloved cartoons. The duo talked to Screen Rant about their new additions as well as the homages they pay to the source material.

Guys, congratulations on the film. The Addams Family is back, and it's great; I loved it so much. This is one of the first times we get an origin story of The Addams Family. What were you looking to bring to life with that little origin story we got of Morticia and Gomez?

Greg Tiernan: That was your idea, Conrad.

Conrad Vernon: That all went back to the very beginning; us trying to figure out how we're going to do something that was different and new with this version of The Addams Family. We had the TV show, and great movies from the 90s, and various cartoon sprinkled in between. So, we just kind of thought to ourselves, “What have we not seen yet?”

We haven't seen how Morticia and Gomez met, when they got married, how they found their house – just some really fun little things to play with that I haven't ever seen in any of these iterations before. So, we wanted to go back and kind of explore that.

Nice. This property’s been around for decades – whether it be comic strips, other movies, television – and the message has to kind of modernize itself with the times. What were you guys trying to do with the modernization of the message and updating it for now?

Greg Tiernan: Well, I think the Addams themselves are perfectly situated to do that, because they have always been very comfortable with themselves; comfortable in their own skin and who they are. It’s always the outside world that always seems to have an issue with them, which is where a lot of the humor originally stemmed from back in the original Charles Addams cartoons.

So, we just had to introduce them to a new 2019 outside world there, and sort of just let things happen the way that they always have done. For us, it was sort of a gift that The Addams Family gave us; that we just sort of let them take the lead, and we followed along and steered them along a bit.

Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac in The Addams Family 2019

Why was animation the right medium for bringing The Addams Family back?

Conrad Vernon: I feel like we've seen the live action TV show, we've had two live action movies, and no one remembers any of the animated iterations in between. And what we didn't want to do was make a typical-looking animated film, because the Addams have their very own specific style.

So, for people who were wanting a live action movie, we tried to – as best we could – put this design into more of a live action setting. When you're looking at it, things aren’t overly skewed or over-cartoonized. We wanted to make it look like a real house that you were in, and then go take Charles Addams’ beautiful character designs and put those in a more realistic and darker world.

I love it. We also get introduced to the extended family of The Addams Family. Who were some of your favorites, and what can we expect from some of those characters?

Greg Tiernan: I think there's a lot of weird and wonderful characters there.

Conrad Vernon: They all come from Charles Addams’ original cartoon. I mean, there were a couple that we designed, but most of them – in case you're wondering – are found in the backgrounds of Charles Addams’ cartoons.

Greg Tiernan: Yeah, there's little Easter eggs now for the Charles Addams aficionados. They'll recognize some of those characters, either in name or visually. But, yeah, there's a lot of cool characters I like. Aunt Petunia, with somebody living in her hair. There's a lot of cool characters.

Conrad Vernon: Auntie Sloom.

Greg Tiernan: Auntie Sloom. I'm scared of Auntie Sloom.

So am I. The film's great, guys. I can't wait for everyone to see it. Thank you, guys, so much for your time.

More: Chloe Grace Moretz Interview for The Addams Family

Key Release Dates
  • The Addams Family (2019) release date: Oct 11, 2019
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