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SYFY WIRE Wednesday

Fred Armisen went method for Uncle Fester gig in 'Wednesday,' shaving his head for 1 episode appearance

Never question Fred Armisen's commitment to a role.

By Matthew Jackson
(L to R) Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in Wednesday Season 1 Episode 7

Prosthetic makeup has come a long way over the years, and it's so well-designed now that actors can easily transform into an entirely different person, even if they're just sticking around for a few days to shoot a small role. Some actors would still rather go old school, though, and that's exactly what Wednesday guest star Fred Armisen did for his short tenure on the new Netflix series.

Armisen revealed back in October that he'd shaved his head to play Uncle Fester, the classic Addams Family mainstay who's a major influence on Wednesday's upbringing and outlook. What we didn't know at the time was that Armisen buzzed off all of his hair for just a single episode of the series, starring Jenna Ortega in the title role. 

Speaking to TV Line about the series, Wednesday co-showrunner Miles Millar explained that landing Armisen for the role was a very pleasant surprise, helped along by the star power of the show's director, the legendary Tim Burton. 

"What’s great about working with someone like Tim Burton is that you get your first choice,” Millar said. “We always wanted Fred because he has the perfect look, but also, he brings such fun energy to the role. For us, he was always that first choice.”

Getting guest stars to agree to be in Wednesday was certainly boosted by Burton's presence, but getting those same guest stars out to the show's shoot in Romania was a different story. If you wanted to be on Wednesday, even for a little while, it was quite a trek to make it to the set, which made Armisen's "all in" commitment to Uncle Fester that much more impressive.

“It’s OK for the cast to be there for eight months, but [booking] guest stars was more challenging,” Millar said.

Armisen revealed that he shaved his head (but not his eyebrows, thankfully) for the role in an interview with Vanity Fair back in October, explaining why he made that choice rather than let the production fit him for a bald cap during the single-episode shoot. 

“They really did such a great job with the makeup and everything. I had no eyebrows. It was prosthetics over my eyebrows to give me that look. But I think that bald caps don’t look great all the time, so I was hoping to just make it that much more convincing,” Armisen said.

So there you have it. Never question Fred Armisen's commitment to a role. 

Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.

Looking for more spooky TV? Check out SYFY's original series Chucky and Reginald the Vampire.