A closer look at Mockingbird Lane (Munsters reboot)

The Munsters remake has got the whole family on board.

Just last week, we confirmed the addition of Jerry O’Connell to the cast as Herman Munster, and now we’ve got two more pieces of casting news. Yes, Charity Wakefield has been cast in the Role of Marilyn Munster, the niece of Herman and Lily, who is the only ‘normal’ person in the family.

Juding by the publicity photo below, it looks like her costume is not being updated from the original, so perhaps she will also be a sort of throwback oddball, who doesn’t seem to realize that the world has moved on from the 50’s.

This photo is of Wakefield, in character, on the set of the new show, and it’s our first real look at what the show will eventually be. The mansion seems to be more Gothic Victorian than the original was, and is a sharp contrast to the bright flower-print dress on the bubbly, blonde character.

We also have word that one role which was already been cast has changed hands. Mariana Klaveno was on board to play Lily Munster, but now that the production has been delayed, it will interfere with another contract, and she’s been forced to drop out. She’s been replaced by Portia De Rossi, mostly known for her role as Lindsay in Arrested Development.

Though Klaveno would have been great for the part – visually, at least – I’m not too saddened, since she already plays a vampire on True Blood, and it’s never a good idea to play the same kind of monster in two different productions. Other cast members include Eddie Izzard as The Count and Mason Cook as Eddie.

Foe the uninitiated, the original television show was a 60’s family sitcom which followed the humorous trials of a family of monsters in which father, Herman, is a reanimated corpse; the mother, Lily, and grandfather, “The Count” are vampires; and their only son, Eddie, is a wolf-boy.

Lily’s niece, Marilyn – a beautiful, curvy blond with no apparent monstrous heritage – also lived with the family, though she was poorly developed and under explained, serving mostly as comic relief (the family saw her as hideously deformed).

The Munsters was created in response to the popularity of The Addams Family, but while the Addams’s were aristocratic, eccentric, psychopaths, The Munsters were a working-class family, and their shtick was to parody the popular family sit-coms of the time by putting this odd family in similar situations. The episodes usually focused on the family’s inability to fit in, and their lack of understanding that people thought them strange.

The new show will rely less on the plot-blindness of the characters (a mechanic which doesn’t appeal to modern audiences), and will surely rely less on parodying other 50’s sitcoms, since those shows are no longer relevant. Instead, the rebooted series has been described as a cross between True Blood (a melodramatic vampire sex story) and Family Values (a dramedy about suburbia). So far, however, the only official description we have is that the show will be “a visually spectacular one-hour drama,” which only tells us it won’t follow the traditional sitcom formula of half-hour episodes. 

Mockingbird Lane

will focus, at least in the first episode, on the challenges of raising a werewolf. Indeed, the Munsters move to Mockingbird Heights becase Eddie accidentally attacked his friends, prompting the family to get him away from town. The conflict will apparently revolve around Herman trying to decide if Eddie should be told that he’s becoming a wolf-man, and how the transition should be dealt with. 

No premier date has been announced for Mockingbird Lane, but production begins this fall, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised by a mid-season start.