How Christopher Lloyd’s Classic Uncle Fester Performance Impacted Fred Armisen's Take On The Character For Wednesday

Fred Armisen as Fester in Wednesday on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Wednesday is one of November’s most-anticipated Netflix titles, and it only takes one look at the actors playing America's creepiest and kookiest family to understand why. The Addams Family adaptation has an awesome cast that includes Jenna Ortega as Wednesday, Luis Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Gomez and Morticia, as well as former Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester. Armisen comes into the series after Christopher Lloyd delivered a popular Fester performance in the movies from the 90s, so understandably, those interested might want to know if Armisen based his performance on Lloyd's. 

Fred Armisen had a chance to speak to Entertainment Tonight about his character, and how Christopher Lloyd's Fester performance in The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values informed his own in Wednesday. Armisen confirmed he's looked at Lloyd's work, as well as the work of Jackie Coogan in the original series, explaining: 

I do study that [and] going back to the original TV show as well. Just to make sure there's some sort of momentum all the way through. I just kept the tradition of what Fester is because everyone added their own little version of it.

It's unknown what unique flair Fred Armisen will bring to Wednesday, though one can imagine what he'll bring to the table with his past Saturday Night Live performances. Between that and his work in Portlandia, he's done some pretty surreal comedy that falls right in line with the friendly but creepy vibe of Fester. Take that, and mix in a weird obsession with pain, and that's Fester! 

Of course, Christopher Lloyd's Fester was also characterized by his loneliness. The first Addams Family movie focused on his need to feel accepted and a part of a family, and the second movie tackled his quest for love. Fred Armisen's Fester is already a known member of the family on Wednesday, or at least I'd assume so given the brief interaction available with him and his niece Wednesday. That said, I wouldn't be mad to see Fester get some sort of love subplot if the story calls for it. 

Audiences will likely have to take some time to adjust to the portrayals of Fred Armisen or other stars in Wednesday, as it's doing something a bit different than past adaptations. Jenna Ortega already spoke about the difficulty of playing Wednesday similar to how fellow co-star and former Wednesday actress Christina Ricci did back in the '90s, and how she didn't just want to do every scene with a flat delivery. In a movie where she's part of an ensemble it might work, but as the main character in a dramatic series, there are times when the character needed to show a bit more emotion. Perhaps the opposite will be true for Fred Armisen's Fester, where less screen time compared to Christopher Lloyd's Fester will create a bit more freedom for him to make the character his own with less scrutiny. Not that it's really possible for modern adaptations to escape judgment from fans these days, so perhaps it's best they just played it how they best felt comfortable. 

Wednesday premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, November 23rd. This definitely looks like a series that's worth holding onto a Netflix subscription for, just in case anyone was wondering which service they may want to cut ahead of the holiday season. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.