The cast of 1991’s The Addams Family requested a rewrite of the ending after the cast disagreed with it. Starring Raul Julia, Angelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci, the supernatural comedy was an adaptation of Charles Addams’ cartoon and the 1964 TV series of the same name. Though it had a troubled production, the film was an overall commercial success.
The Addams Family sees the titular family welcome Uncle Fester (Lloyd) back into their lives following his 25-year disappearance. Though Gomez (Julia) is overjoyed at his brother’s return at first, the family soon becomes suspicious due to Fester being unable to recall childhood memories. It is revealed that “Fester” is an imposter, with his resemblance being used to con the family, though a last-minute reveal states that he was indeed the real Fester, and simply suffered from amnesia. With a Tim Burton-helmed series and animated film franchise, The Addams Family’s unusual and outlandish domestic lives continue to entertain audiences, though the surprisingly successful 1991 film almost ended differently, if the cast hadn’t gotten involved.
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Speaking to THR to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Addams Family, director Barry Sonnenfeld revealed the original ending saw Fester continue to be conman Gordon Craven, with the Addams simply adopting him into their family. However, Sonnenfeld revealed that the cast discussed the original ending, agreeing amongst themselves that it was awful, before sending Ricci to let him, executive Scott Rudin, and writer Paul Rudnick know how they felt. After discussing the cast’s opinion, the three agreed, asking Lloyd how he felt about changing the ending, before rewriting the ending to how it appeared in the final cut. Check out Sonnenfeld’s full story below:
“The cast all gathered in a circle and told all the reasons to Christina why they thought it was a bad idea. She went on for 10 minutes, explaining why it had to be the real Fester. I said, ‘Give us a minute.’ Scott, Rudnick and I went into a corner. I said, ‘I think she’s kind of right.’ And Rudnick and Rudin agreed. I asked Chris [Lloyd], ‘Do you care if he is the real Fester or fake Fester?’ He said, ‘Meh. I don’t care.’ So we rewrote the ending based on the cast disagreement.”
Sonnenfeld’s film and its sequel, Addams Family Values, reintroduced the family to a new generation. Despite the successes, the production for The Addams Family was troubled. Due to financial issues, the original production company, Orion Pictures, sold the production to Paramount midway through the film’s production, making the film surpass its original budget, while numerous rewrites saw the script change numerous times, with Rudnick providing his own input later on.
With The Addams Family, much of the film’s humor stems from how outlandish and surreal the family can seem while still being within the bounds of an idealized family. Both endings would be fitting for the film’s sense of humor, as the original script still showed the family’s loyal and dedicated side. However, the last-minute revelation would also feel fully in tune with the families’ more absurd nature. Despite this, most would agree the cast’s requests were right, as it kept the focus on the family dynamic while remaining as outlandish as ever.