Fred Armisen Details His Transformation Into Uncle Fester for Netflix's 'Wednesday' (Exclusive)

The 'Portlandia' star reacted to the fan response to his then-surprise casting: 'I loved it. It got me excited.'

Fred Armisen was nearly unrecognizable when he made his debut as Uncle Fester Addams in Netflix's Wednesday trailer. The Portlandia star steps into the iconic character for the upcoming series, a role that was previously made famous by Christopher Lloyd and Jackie Coogan. 

Armisen acknowledged his predecessor's performance in the '90s Addams Family movies, sharing that he didn't shy away from Lloyd's take in preparation for the character.

"I do study that [and] going back to the original TV show as well," the Saturday Night Live alum told ET's Denny Directo. "Just to make sure there's some sort of momentum all the way through. I just kept the tradition of what Fester is 'cause everyone added their own little version of it."

The 55-year-old actor noted it was important for him to keep elements of what made Uncle Fester unique in his portrayal, while also adding his own twist. "But it's basically, there's one set of rules for who Fester is, I think," Armisen said, "and I wanted to keep it at that." 

Armisen detailed the transformation process he undertook to play Uncle Fester, who is Gomez Addams' brother and Morticia's brother-in-law and harbors the ability to generate electricity by touch. The character often donned a long fur coat.


"As soon as they did my fitting -- we shot this in Romania but we did the fitting here in L.A. -- and as soon as I put [on the] long, black coat, it's something easy to take for granted...," Armisen recalled, adding that Uncle Fester's wardrobe had costume designer Colleen Atwood and executive producer Tim Burton's "signature" spin.

"It had exactly the right look and getting into makeup -- my head was already shaved -- so we just put prosthetics over my eyebrows and made a sort of a pallor over all my skin," he revealed. "It was a little longer [than 20 minutes to put together] but not too bad." 

Armisen also reacted to the fan response to his then-surprise casting.

"I loved it," he said. "It got me excited. It was almost like I got the news, like, 'What? I'm Uncle Fester? Woah!' So that was very exciting."

Wednesday premieres Nov. 23 on Netflix.