NBC previewed an exclusive first-look at its Bryan Fuller drama pilot The Munsters, with original Eddie Munster Butch Patrick introducing the four-minute preview to wide applause in the small but enthusiastic ballroom Saturday at Comic-Con.
The four-minute trailer featured the world premiere of Portia de Rossi, Eddie Izzard, Jerry O’Connell and more in the hyper-stylized footage that was met with screaming applause from fans of his previous efforts, including Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies.
“I’m not afraid of reboots and reimaginations, I’m afraid of bad ones,” Fuller said, acknowledging that the process of doing something different was a tricky one. “I thought now was a good time to see a show about a family of monsters doing monsterous things. With the pilot, you’ll see it’s about monsters but also parents trying to craft a way for their child who’s a little different.”
The Munsters reboot stars de Rossi and O’Connell as Lily and Herman Munster in a remake of the 1960s CBS sitcom, reprising roles played by Yvonne De Carlo and Fred Gwynne. Izzard (The Riches) will play Grandpa Munster in the darker, stylized take, with Mason Cook as Lily and Herman’s werewolf son, Eddie; newcomer Charity Wakefield is on board as Marilyn, the Munsters’ “plain” cousin.
The Munsters reboot, Fuller said, has been long in the works with the showrunner evolving the project through three regime changes at NBC.
During the panel, which was held Saturday afternoon in the 500-person Room 7AB, Fuller was joined by Patrick, who enthusiastically gave his stamp of approval to the project and noted that it’s been more than 40 years since he first stepped into Eddie’s short shorts.
The clip, which featured a dark-haired de Rossi clad in Lily’s trademark white gown, also offered a first look at the Munsters’ famed 1313 Mockingbird Lane address and the mild-mannered Eddie transforming into a vicious werewolf attacking his Cub Scouts troop leader. In addition, multiple nods to the original effort were showcased, including the sitcom’s trademark theme and a cute nod to Herman’s neck bolts.
“We’d love to have Butch come back and be one of our troop leaders,” Fuller said, noting that he wants to bring back the Munsters’ trademark car and Spot, the family’s ferocious pet. In addition, there will be a lot of visual effects should the project go to series, including Lily’s spider dress and more.
Fuller noted that everyone was concerned about taking the beloved characters and he plans to make his effort more of a story about a dysfunctional family. “Herman, who is essentially a zombie living in a constant state of decay, is married to a person who doesn’t age,” he told the crowd.
“There is no traditional family anymore — it doesn’t exist because there are so many different types of families,” he said. “This is about embracing the freak of your family and being proud.”
Fuller also noted that the pilot was filmed on the Universal lot, where classic tales including the wolfman and more came to life and he plans to incorporate other famed monsters into the project “when it’s ordered to series” including the Invisible Man, the Creature From the Black Lagoon and more.
“We wanted this to look like if Hitchcock was directing a Harry Potter film,” he said, noting he was inspired to retell the Munsters story after seeing Tim Burton’s art exhibit in New York.
Fuller said NBC has ordered additional scripts and Fuller and company are crafting future episodes. “The fact they spent a lot of money on the pilot, they’re clearly invested in doing the show in a spectacular fashion.”
(NBC is not releasing the clip as the project is still officially a pilot.)
For Its part, Fuller said he has seven seasons mapped out for Hannibal. “Season 1 is the bromance, Season 2 the horrible breakup,” he teased of the retelling of Thomas Harris‘ 1981 novel Red Dragon.
Hannibal, which was picked up straight to series with an order for 13 episodes in February. The NBC effort, a co-production with Gaumont International Television, is described as an hourlong contemporary thriller featuring characters from Harris’ best-seller. It revolves around FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who are reintroduced as the beginning of their budding relationship.
Hugh Dancy (The Big C) will star as Graham, the criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI and enlists Lecter’s help with the case, with Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen playing the psychotic psychiatrist-turned-serial killer.
“We’re getting a lot of great ideas about how to cook people,” Fuller joked of the project, noting that the show has its own consultant on just what Hannibal could eat.
Fuller said that despite his previous series short-lived time on the schedule, he can’t help but plan future seasons out, noting he had multiple seasons of his efforts including Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls mapped out as well.
Fuller also noted that there is “something” regarding Pushing Daisies that he’s working on, that isn’t a miniseries or a comic but declined to provide additional details. “If it doesn’t go through I look like an asshole!” he joked.
Hannibal producer Martha De Laurentiis and director David Slade also joined Fuller for the chat.
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