An iconic member of the titular brood, Grandmama, was recast for Addams Family Values, with Carol Kane replacing original co-star Judith Malina.
- Grandmama Addams was recast in the sequel Addams Family Values, with Carol Kane bringing a memorable performance to the role.
- The decision to recast Grandmama wasn’t due to behind-the-scenes drama, but because the role became more physically demanding.
- Carol Kane’s portrayal of Grandmama adds vibrancy and over-the-top theatrics, making her a standout addition to the Addams Family Values cast.
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Although Grandmama was featured in 1991’s The Addams Family, the iconic member of the titular brood was recast for the 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values. The first film sees Judith Malina playing the role of Grandmama Addams, an elder witch who is often well-intentioned but foolish. The grandmother of Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), Grandmama is best remembered in The Addams Family for leading a seance to help patriarch Gomez Addams (Raúl Juliá) contact his long-lost, and potentially dead, brother Fester (Christopher Lloyd).
Despite Malina’s top-notch performance as Grandmama, director Barry Sonnenfeld recast the role ahead of what turned out to be one of the best movie sequels ever made. More well-received than its predecessor, Addams Family Values sees Oscar-nominated comedic great Carol Kane stepping into the role of the “disrespectful old hag.” Although Grandmama Addams remains just a supporting character in the sequel, Kane makes her into one of the 1993 film’s most memorable personalities — and that’s really saying something considering the outlandish cast of characters in the Addams Family.
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Judith Malina Wasn’t Asked To Return As Grandmama For Addams Family Values
Apart from Judith Malina, all the Addams Family cast members were asked to reprise their creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky roles in the first sequel film. According to E! News, the casting shake-up didn’t stem from any behind-the-scenes drama, but, instead, was the result of more practical concerns. That is, Addams Family Values saw the role of Grandmama becoming more physically demanding, so the filmmakers opted to age up a younger actor for the part. A life-long friend of Morticia Addams actor Anjelica Huston, Carol Kane was chosen to replace Malina.
However, not all accounts of Grandmama’s recasting for Addams Family Values paint the decision as amicable. Reportedly, Malina wasn’t even asked back for the sequel (via Buzzfeed). A German-born daughter of Jewish and Polish parents who were unafraid of taking political stands against antisemitism, Malina learned the importance of using one’s voice — and art — at a young age. Evidently, she found herself spurned by her other Addams Family cast and crew when she made an anti-war joke about burning the American flag (via Forward). Whether the anecdote is true or not, Malina, who co-founded a radical political theater troupe, certainly had the pluck to play Grandmama.
How Carol Kane Made The Role Of Grandmama More Memorable
One of the best secrets behind the Addams Family movies is that Carol Kane was cast as Grandmama without even having to audition for the part. After a couple of casual conversations with the film series’ director, Barry Sonnenfeld, Kane was brought on board.
While replacing an actor in a beloved franchise is always a gamble, Kane’s definitive performance as Grandmama in the Addams Family sequel proves the recast was a smart move. Where Malina brings a subdued energy to the witchy role, Kane leans into the over-the-top, cackling hag theatrics of it all. Replete with a more vibrant physicality, Kane’s version of Grandmama is endlessly expressive, making the actor a truly remarkable addition to the cast of Addams Family Values.
Sources: E! News, Buzzfeed, Forward