If you were a kid in the ‘90s, then Barry Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family films were probably rays of moonlight in your life. Where else could you find a family of beautiful eccentrics living in a gothic mansion and having a great time?
The cast and crew stayed mostly the same for both 1991's The Addams Family and 1993's Addams Family Values, so everyone established close bonds. Some great stories from behind the scenes came to light, too. The actors spilled the beans about various strange occurrences on set and how often the director passed out while filming, but their memories are fond ones. The eccentric tales are also somewhat endearing. Would you expect anything less from the macabre, yet lovable Addams clan?
Raul Julia Passed Shortly After The Release Of 'Addams Family Values'
Raul Julia had stomach cancer while filming Addams Family Values; he passed about a year after the film's release. Carol Kane (Grandmama) recalled Julia's commitment to his work, specifically during one scene. Kane noted:
I thought Raul was very beautiful when he sang ["Swing Low Sweet Chariot"] when his character was [expiring] and everything. I think he may have already been sick at that time, so looking back at that, I think about how brave he was. He was quite a genius.
The Director Had A Twisted Sense Of Humor
The Addams Family is a film with fun sensibilities. Gomez and Morticia get intimate in a graveyard, and Wednesday Addams sprays her elementary school chums with fake blood - it's ghoulish, it's grim, but somehow the comedic timing seems perfect. And according to screenwriter Paul Rudnick, the director Barry Sonnenfeld had a lot of fun getting into the Addams spirit.
Rudnik mentioned, "I remember there was one moment on set when Barry called his wife gleefully and said, 'Guess what? Today I threw [someone] off a roof!'"
'Addams Family Values' Almost Got Its Own Michael Jackson Tune
The production team booked Michael Jackson to make the theme song for Addams Family Values. In the music video for the song, Jackson's neighbors chase him from his home in the Addams family mansion with pitchforks. The whole project imploded, though, when the singer encountered legal issues. MC Hammer released a song for the film instead.
Even though producers cut ties with Jackson, they left a joke in the movie at his expense. Writer Paul Rudnick explained:
There's a moment in the film when Wednesday, Pugsley, and Joel, to discipline them, were placed in the Harmony Hut. It's the most sparkly, wholesome, vanilla place imaginable. Joel starts screaming uncontrollably and then the camera cuts to a poster of Michael Jackson on the wall, which was a good joke when we began and then, after the scandal, it became an enormous laugh. It was just so in the air at the time.
Christina Ricci Helped The Screenwriters Figure Out Fester
There's an ambiguous nature to Uncle Fester in The Addams Family. Is he actually an Addams family member or is he Gordon Craven? Eventually, the film reveals his true identity: he's Fester, but he lost his memory at sea in the Bermuda Triangle.
That wasn't always the case, though. According to screenwriter Paul Rudnick, Christopher Lloyd's character was still undecided during the script drafting process. Luckily, a young Christina Ricci offered some guidance to the screenwriter. Rudnick mentioned:
"If I remember correctly, Christina Ricci explained why Fester should be the real deal, and she, as always, made perfect sense and was extremely helpful. I think she pointed out that it was simply more emotionally satisfying and necessary to have the real Fester return to his loving and odd family."