There’s no denying that Nicolas Cage is something of an enigma. He’s arguably one of the best actors in Hollywood (there are arguments to be made for a lot of Cage’s acting choices, but that’s another article), and continuously relegates himself to starring roles in some of the – if not worst – most weirdly misguided projects possible. Many say it’s a result of Cage’s spending habits, which have landed him in deep trouble with the IRS on more than one occasion, but I don’t buy it.
Because the world apparently demanded it, NBC has in production a pilot for a remake of The Munsters. Called Mockingbird Lane – the street where The Munsters live – it is being produced and written by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and directed by Bryan Singer.
For anybody who doesn’t know what The Munsters is (I don’t want to be your friend): first shown 1964-1966 it was a sitcom about a family of monsters – Dad, Herman, was basically Frankenstein’s monster from the Universal movies, and Grandpa was Dracula – who lived a normal (as far as they were concerned) life on a quiet suburban street and couldn’t understand why everybody ran away screaming. The new series will be, to a certain extent, the same and the pilot will show them moving onto Mockingbird Lane.
The family has all been cast – and we have a couple of publicity shots to show you. Head of the household, Herman Munster, is to be played by Jerry O’Connell (Sliders, Stand By Me, Piranha 3D); Grandpa is to be played by Eddie Izzard – we have a photo of him here at a costume fitting; Portia De Rossi (Arrested Development) is Herman’s wife, Lily; Mason Cook (Spy Kids in 4D) is the son Eddie; and, finally, the non-monstrous niece Marilyn will be Charity Wakefield (The Raven) – here is a publicity still for her.
Other announced cast are Beth Grant (Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies, both with Fuller) who will play Maryanne – the wheelchair bound next door neighbor who is suspicious of the Munsters – and Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock) who will be guest starring as Scout Master Steve – Eddie’s charming, cheerful scout master who becomes smitten with Marilyn.
This all sounds very intriguing, but the words ‘edgy and dark’ are being used in conjunction with it all, which is worrying. Fuller has described it as a “dramatic departure from the tone style” of the original. He has said he wants the revival to be “an American Harry Potter. To have the sense of a magical world that you get to go to with your family and find stories told in a fantastical way that are instantly relatable. It’s a ‘American Horror Story’ that the whole family can watch.”
I’m not sure how well The Munsters will work as a drama – even if it is a comedy drama – rather than a sitcom. Hopefully the two Bryans will manage to make something worth watching.