With his “Alice in Wonderland” currently filling Disney’s rabbit-hole with mountains of crisp currency ($450 million worldwide in less than two weeks. Yowza!), you can pretty much bet that Tim Burton will be given pretty much carte blanche to bring whatever cinematic endeavors that tickle his fancy to life.
As has been reported before, he’s currently attached to the “Sleeping Beauty” quasi-remake “Maleficent,” the film adaptation of the 1960’s ABC soap opera “Dark Shadows” (which seems to be stuck in development hell presently), along with an animated remake of his early short-film “Frankenweenie.”
Now, as reported by Deadline New York, Burton has added yet another project to his increasingly hectic schedule, with a 3D stop-motion “Addams Family” movie.
The film, which will take most of its inspiration from Charles Addams’ classic illustrations — which frequently appeared in “The New Yorker” back in the day — will bear no obvious connections to either the 1960s television series starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones, or the two Barry Sonnenfeld-helmed movie vehicles from the early ’90s. According to the article, Burton’s take will attempt to blend the “sharper wit” of Addams’ work, with his own unique “visual look,” hopefully producing an original version of the cult-fave property.
Although there’s no set date as to when “The Addams Family” will see the light of production, I would estimate that the pieces will likely begin falling into place once “Frankenweenie” finishes up. He may also wind up repeating his “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” / “Corpse Bride” work timetable and simultaneously bounce between this stop-motion venture and whatever live-action film he decides to tackle next. If that’s the case, expect a number of key cast-members to populate both efforts (I’d bet my entire savings on Helena Bonham Carter voicing Morticia).
Having relatively fond memories of both the classic sitcom and the first “Addams Family” movie (I never saw “Addams Family Values” — should I remedy this?), I’m somewhat intrigued to see what Burton can bring to this material. Obviously it won’t require much of a stretch on his part in terms of aesthetic vision, but I’ve always found Burton to be somewhat underrated as a director of comedy — despite a portfolio chock-full of gleefully twisted and infectious studies in sardonic, macabre humor — and I’d love to see him let his ghoulish wit off the leash here.
However, as much as I support this project’s existence, I would love to see Burton break out of his comfort zone and try something a little more unexpected and challenging again. “Ed Wood” remains one of the best films of the 1990s, and I had hoped that both “Big Fish” and the wonderful “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” would mark a return to his slightly more experimental days of movie-making. Yet the fact that those three films floundered at the box-office, while safer fare like “Charlie,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Alice” brought in the bucks, might indicate that the old risky Burton — eager to take chances on unproven or original material — may quickly be becoming a morbid thing of the past.
Still, no matter what form he takes, the man sure knows how to get $10 out of me, and I can guarantee that I’ll be snapping along with everyone else when “The Addams Family” lurches into theatres in the next few years.
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.