Nobody is more protective of Wednesday than Jenna Ortega. Recent interviews indicate that the actress had to fight multiple battles to ensure that her rendition of Wednesday Addams wouldn’t just be a static continuation of the iconic character, but rather someone who also held a degree of depth. Luckily, Ortega’s struggles won’t be in vain — a new profile in Elle Magazine revealed she is serving as an executive producer for Season 2, hopefully providing the star a chance to maintain her vision for the goth teen.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on Wednesday,” the Scream VI star said on a recent episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast. “Everything that Wednesday does, everything I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all. Her being in a love triangle? It made no sense.”
It’s not the first time that Ortega has spoken against Wednesday’s love triangle. “Nobody wants to see her in the middle of a love triangle,” she said to W Magazine. “They want to see her torturing people.” She also noted that the writers initially assured her that there wouldn’t be a love triangle, only for it to come up during filming. As a result, Ortega did her best to infuse her interpretration of how the character would handle it best, reasoning that “people are obsessed with Wednesday, and she humors them if they don’t annoy her too much.”
Although the love triangle turned out to be a losing battle, Ortega fought much harder to ensure that Wednesday would be a three-dimensional character. “You can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you,” she said. “When you are little and say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s nasty and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.”
During a conversation with co-star Christina Ricci for Interview Magazine, Ortega also revealed that she would receive contrasting notes about what direction they wanted Wednesday to go in. “I remember Tim [Burton] did not want me to have any expression of emotion at all,” she said. “He wanted a flat surface, which I understand. It’s funny and great except when you’re trying to move a plot along, and Wednesday is in every scene. There were a lot of battles like that because I felt like people didn’t always trust me when I was creating my path in terms of, ‘Okay, this is her arc. This is where she gets emotional.’”
It reached a point where the actress would take matters into her own hands without consulting the writers. “There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines,” Ortega elaborated on the podcast. “The script supervisor thought I was going with something and then I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I’d have to go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”
Ortega has also spoken about Wednesday being the most demanding job she’s ever had to take, crying on the phone with her parents every night due to the stress. “I was completely lost and confused,” she said to Interview. “Typically, I have no problem using my voice, but when you’re in it — I just remember feeling defeated after the first month.”
Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Dianna Shen is a TV Writer at Primetimer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine and Decider, among other outlets.
TOPICS: Wednesday, Netflix, Christina Ricci, Jenna Ortega, Tim Burton