11 things you never knew about Addams Family Values

Emma Kelly
·7 min read
Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

From Digital Spy

There are few sequels that are better than the originals – but surely Addams Family Values falls into that category.

The 1993 comedy has become a Halloween classic, thanks to its endlessly quotable script, Morticia and Wednesday's contribution to goth glamour, and the campness provided by Joan Cusack as villain Debbie Jellinsky.

Here are 11 things you may not know about Addams Family Values to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Christopher Lloyd had to bend his knees at all times to appear shorter than he is

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Shop Now The Addams Family/Addams Family Values 2-movie collection

Lloyd played the eccentric Fester Addams in the movie, but at 6'1, he was only an inch shorter than his on-screen brother Gomez, played by the late Raúl Juliá, and taller than both Angelica Huston, who played Morticia, and Joan Cusack, who played his villainous love interest Debbie Jellinksy.

However, there was no computer trickery used to shrink Lloyd down into the short, squat Fester we all know and love. He revealed, "I always had my knees bent to make me look shorter and more squat. It worked out well because it gave me kind of a funny walk."

Lloyd also shaved his head to play Fester, something he had no problem with.

Marisa Tomei was considered for the role of Debbie Jellinsky…

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Joan Cusack plays the murderous bombshell Debbie Jellinsky, who plans to seduce Fester and then kill him on their wedding night.

But while Cusack made the role her own ("And do you know what they got me? Mal-i-bu Bar-bie!"), Oscar winner Marisa Tomei had previously been considered for the role before it went to her.

…. And Cher nearly played Morticia

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

It's hard to imagine anybody else playing Morticia, but we could have had another raven-haired star as the glamorous matriarch.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld said, "Scott [Rudin, the producer] and I both agreed on Anjelica Huston and Raúl Juliá as Morticia and Gomez. The studio wanted Cher but we felt that would unbalance the film – we didn’t want it to be about stars."

Carol Kane, who played Grandmama, is younger than her on-screen daughter

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Kane was born on June 18, 1952, while Angelica Huston – who played her daughter – was 11 months older, born on July 8, 1951.

The actresses had actually been close friends since they were 19 years old, and Kane had previously starred alongside Christopher Lloyd in Taxi.

She replaced Judith Malina, now 88, who played Grandmama in the first Addams Family film, and was offered the part without an audition.

Mercedes McNab is actually in the first Addams Family as an unrelated character

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

McNab plays the snooty Amanda Buckman at Camp Chippewa, but she had already faced off against Wednesday and Pugsley in the original film The Addams Family as an unrelated but equally snooty character.

In the 1991 movie, McNab played a girl scout who happens across the Addams' siblings lemonade stand, and demands to know if their drink is "made from real lemons" because she only likes "all natural fruits and beverages, organically grown with no preservatives" (via Buzzfeed). In fairness to the girl scout, she was right to be suspicious – there were bottles of cyanide and poison next to the lemons on their stand.

Despite having already acted in the Addams Family universe, McNab had to audition for the role of Amanda, but obviously won the casting directors over yet again.

Speaking of Amanda, test audiences thought that Wednesday killed her by burning her at the stake

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

After Wednesday, playing Pocahontas, flips the script in the camp musical to wage war on the pilgrims, Amanda is tied to a stake with an apple shoved in her mouth.

Wednesday (Christina Ricci) lights a match as the Addams Family theme begins, with Amanda screaming her heart out – which is where the scene cuts away from camp. And this ending left some test audiences thinking that Wednesday had actually murdered her rival by burning her at the stake.

"They didn't want kids watching the movie to think that because that obviously doesn't really look too good for them to be out there killing off children, no matter how awful the child is," McNab said.

"So they had to throw in that quick little shot of Amanda and her family on the plane ride home, just to convince the audiences that Amanda did survive and it was all in good fun."

In the finale, when baby Pubert saves the Addams from electrocution by Debbie, the baby is catapulted into the sky by a bowling ball, and he passes an airplane window, where a shellshocked Amanda and her parents can be seen.

So don’t worry, Wednesday didn’t murder her campmate in a gruesome fashion.

And the lake Amanda 'drowns' in was heated

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Wednesday and Amanda are paired up as lifesaver and victim, but in classic Wednesday behaviour, she waits until her enemy has gone underneath the water before telling the camp counsellors that she cannot swim.

While drowning in a lake at the whim of a gothic rival may not sound too glamorous, the crew actually heated the water for McNab so she wouldn’t get too cold.

McNab said, "When we shot the scene where I had to jump in the lake, it was freezing that day. And I remember it was very fancy because they heated the lake for me, which I didn’t know they could do.

"I’ve done many movies since where they certainly did not heat anything, let alone a lake. But they heated part of the lake up for me so that was very exciting."

The 'Eat Me' turkey song had a starry choreographer

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) gets a starring role in the summer camp Thanksgiving musical, as a turkey who asks the audience "eat me".

The number was choreographed by Adam Shankman, who went on to choreograph the Step Up franchise and the 2007 remake of Hairspray, as well as the iconic Once More, With Feeling episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and he was so close to Sarah Michelle Gellar that he officiated her wedding to Freddie Prinze Jr).

Shankman will be stepping his toes back into Halloween movies as he is set to direct Disney+'s Hocus Pocus reboot.

Morticia and Gomez's iconic tango has a very familiar soundtrack

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

One of the sexiest goth numbers in film, Morticia and Gomez's passion is laid bare in their brilliant tango scene while on a double date with Debbie and Fester.

And if you listen closely, you’ll note that the couple are actually dancing to an arrangement of the original Addams Family theme.

The legendary theme for the campy 1960s show was written and performed by the late Vic Mizzy, who died in 2009 aged 93.

Baby Pubert was played by twin girls

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Little Pubert was the spitting image of his father, with black hair and a pencil moustache to boot. But the second Addams boy wasn’t a boy at all, and was played by twins Kaitlyn and Kristen Hooper.

The twin infants weren’t even one when they starred as Pubert, and went on to star as Tim Taylor's twin nieces Home Improvement. However, the Hoopers have since left acting, both went to college and are now 28 years old.

Cousin Itt's wig weighed 35 pounds


Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Actor John Franklin had quite an arduous task playing Cousin Itt. The actor – who is five foot tall due to a growth hormone deficiency – revealed that the floor-length wig he wore to play Cousin Itt weighed 35 pounds, while he weighed just 100 pounds himself.

To keep him comfortable, he had to wear a neck brace and a hoop skirt with a fan attached, but for Addams Family Values, the wig got a bit of a haircut, being made lighter by about 10 pounds.

Ironically, Franklin was allergic to hairspray, so the crew had to use an oil-based spray to keep the tangles out of Cousin Itt's 'do.

Addams Family Values is available to watch on Netflix, along with The Addams Family and the 2019 animation.

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