Tim Burton and The Addams Family are a match made in stylistic and aesthetic heaven, which is why nobody was surprised in the slightest when the filmmaker was announced to be developing a Netflix show based on the property, which has since been confirmed as high school murder mystery Wednesday.
The spooky and kooky clan got their first live-action feature film back in 1991, when Burton was hot off the success of reinventing blockbuster cinema as we know it with Batman. He was the first name on everybody’s lips when the project was initially revealed to be in development, but Barry Sonnenfeld ended up landing the gig.
However, it turns out that the future Men in Black director only wound up helming The Addams Family because both Burton and Terry Gilliam had turned it down, as he revealed in a 30th anniversary retrospective with Variety.
“I will tell you that there were two other directors approached, Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, and they’re both really good choices. But they both turned it down, so that’s how I ended up getting it. Producer Scott Rudin thought he wanted a visual stylist, not just a comedy director. He thought, ‘If I can’t get Tim or I can’t get Terry, I’ll get someone with a strong visual sense’.”
Sonnenfeld’s film turned out to be a major box office success after earning $191 million at the box office on a $30 million budget, and it endures as a beloved favorite three decades on. Burton’s Wednesday is currently shooting as we speak, so it eventually worked out for both filmmakers in the long run, even if it took much longer than expected for the Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands architect to get his shot at the franchise.