Director Barry Sonnenfeld on how the first table read for 1991’s The Addams Family led to a cast backlash.
Celebrating its 30th birthday – yikes! – is the much-loved 1991 comedy The Addams Family. The film, which was headlined by Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci, had something of a troubled production, with its parent studio selling it on half way through filming. But it emerged as a strong hit in the winter of 1991.
If you’ve not seen the film and don’t want it spoiled, this it the bit where you need to stop reading.
Right then. The story of the first movie is the return to the Addams home of Uncle Fester, played by Lloyd. The film then concerns itself with the question of whether he’s the real Fester or not, and as it turns out, in the original script, he was an imposter.
That story thread got as far as the cast and crew table read for the film too, which was when the cast came to learn what the ending was. As the film’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld, explains in an excellent new interview with The AV Club, “the cast rebelled”.
“They discovered that Fester is still an imposter – not the real Uncle Fester. They went crazy, and they got Christina Ricci as their spokesperson – which, you’ll never win that debate. And we didn’t! We realized they were right. In our original ending, we had Fester remaining an impostor with Gomez inviting him in anyway, which worked as an intellectual ending, but not an emotional ending”.
Turns out, after Huston had brought the objection up, Ricci explained that the audience wouldn’t be happy with the finale as written, and Paul Rudnick was tasked with penned a better ending to the film. Rudnick would go on to write the even more loved sequel, Addams Family Values. And the ending of The Addams Family would alter forever.
The full interview, and it’s well worth a read, can be found here.
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