Jenna Ortega Explains Why Playing Wednesday Addams Is Challenging

Jenna Ortega Explains Why Playing Wednesday Addams Is Challenging

Jenna Ortega talks about the challenges of playing Wednesday Addams in the upcoming series, Wednesday, on Netflix, which is directed by Tim Burton.

Wednesday star Jenna Ortega talks about the challenges of playing the teenage version of Wednesday Addams. Ortega, having gotten her start in television through roles in Jane the Virgin and Netflix’s You, is turning quickly into a “scream queen” with appearances in horror movies like Scream (2022,) Studio 666, and X. Aside from acting, she’s also recognized for her philanthropy and activism against discrimination, as well as becoming a brand ambassador for Neutrogena in 2020.

Netflix’s upcoming series, Wednesday, follows Wednesday Addams, daughter of The Addams Family, a satirical inversion of the ideal American family with a fondness for the macabre and the frightening. Based on a long-running comic strip, the family has seen adaptions for TV, stage, video games, and film, with the most recent being The Addams Family 2 in 2021. Wednesday is usually portrayed as emotionless and sadistic around the age of 12, with the new series featuring her as a high school student with psychic abilities. Other cast members include Riki Lindhome, Gwendoline Christie, Jamie McShane, and Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams.

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In an interview with EW, Ortega talks about the challenges of playing the character as a teenager, citing difficulties in making the character sound authentic. She mentions how Wednesday’s emotionless nature makes it tricky for her to have an emotional arc over the eight-episode series. Ortega also opens up about the challenge of portraying a well-known character whose been played and reinterpreted many times. Read Ortega’s quote below:

We’ve never seen her as a teenage girl. You know, it’s funny and sweet and almost charming to hear this eight-year-old’s obsession with murder and blood and guts. As she gets older, that nasty attitude or [those] biting remarks, it’s almost kind of hard to not make it sound like every other teenage girl. So, it’s like, how do we establish this character and give her the same fire without letting her become something that she’s not? Also, it’s eight-hour series so, for an emotionless character, there has to be some sort of an emotional arc. That’s been really interesting to figure out in terms of, okay, well, she’s got to be able to push the story forward in some way but how do we keep her true to her deadpan self? It’s been a bit of a challenge and I’m curious to see how it plays. I’ve never had the opportunity to play an iconic character before. I know she’s well-loved and well-respected and I just don’t want to mess her up.

Jenna Ortega and Wednesday Addams

The show will be directed by Tim Burton, director of Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, and Edward Scissorhands, with Wednesday being his first major project for television. Ortega also mentioned Burton’s openness as a director and his guidance helping shape her performance, given Burton’s experience with darker themes. Wednesday will be scored by Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, who received an Academy Award nomination in 2003 for scoring Burton’s Big Fish. With all of that said, Wednesday is certainly shaping up to be a must-see when it releases on Netflix.

Ortega is overdue for the chance to headline her own project, having delivered consistently strong performances on both the big and small screen. With both recent Addams Family movies breaking $100 million at the box office, the franchise clearly has the name recognition, and with Burton’s name on the front of Wednesday, viewers are sure to come running. Only time will tell if Wednesday will be a success, but it has all the right ingredients to make a dark, funny, tale about growing up with a different definition of beauty.

Next: Why Tim Burton’s Addams Family Cast Is Perfect So Far

Source: EW

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Warren Elliott
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Warren Elliott is a freelance entertainment writer newly working for Screen Rant. They graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a degree in English and Creative Writing.

Living in California, they also enjoy doing standup comedy, reading books, and playing tabletop RPGs

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