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The Addams Family 2’s Nick Kroll Was Surprised By Some Of The Barrier-Pushing Improv That He Was Allowed To Do

The great charm of The Addams Family has always been the material’s darker sensibilities. The titular clan famously has an affinity for the morbid and the ghoulish, and the contrast they generate opposite ordinary life has made fans cackle for decades. It’s a tradition that is very much maintained with the latest feature effort from the franchise, as the animated Addams Family 2 is stocked full of macabre humor – but even still there were points when Nick Kroll, the voice of Uncle Fester, was surprised by what he could get away with and what was pitched while improvising during his performance.

Knowing that the actor is regularly given the freedom to go off-script in his voice over work, I asked Nick Kroll during a recent interview if there were points when he would wind up recording material that pushed past the PG rating the movie was ultimately certified with. He explained that there were certain points when directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan would gently yank the reins on what he was doing in a particular scene, but there were additionally sessions when what was given permission to do took him aback a bit. He explained,

The fun thing about The Addams Family particularly is that it is a family movie, but it's a little riskier than some of the other family movies and can get a little darker and a little more strange. And so I'll sometimes push that barrier a little bit and they'll be like, 'Okay, let's pull that back.' And I'm like, 'Fair enough.' But oftentimes I'll be surprised like, 'But this works!’ And I'm like, 'Great. Let's do that!'

In The Addams Family 2, Nick Kroll’s Uncle Fester has a complicated role to play – the most minor part of it being that he is at the wheel during the family road trip driving the story. He also attempts to help educate his nephew Pugsley (Javon Walton) in the ways of romance, and incidentally finds himself slowly turning into an octopus hybrid thanks to an gene splicing experiment conducted by his niece, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz). It gives the character plenty of opportunity to exercise some risqué humor, and Kroll took advantage.

Not only does this fit properly with the history of The Addams Family, but it also makes plenty of sense when you remember that the first opportunity Nick Kroll had to work with Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan was on Sausage Party: what may be the crudest, most vulgar animated feature to ever get a wide release (fans will remember that Kroll voiced an anthropomorphic Douche). Along with the experience that the trio had making the previous Addams Family movie, there was definitely a particular level of comfort that the actor felt during the recording sessions. Said Kroll,

I think that one of the reasons I get hired for these things is cause I will add bits and pieces when I'm recording, and the beauty of animation is if they don't like it, they don't have to use it… It's fun for me. It keeps it interesting, and helpful for them because they have another person pitching jokes. It's always a fun collaboration, especially with these guys who I worked with originally on Sausage Party, and now both of the Addams Family movies. So it's always fun, and it just keeps it light and interesting.

The Addams Family 2 – which features a stellar cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Bette Midler, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, and Wallace Shawn in addition to Nick Kroll, Javon Walton, and Chloë Grace Moretz – is now playing in theaters, and is available through digital services on PVOD (opens in new tab).

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.