Jenna Ortega has been in the acting business since she was a child. Her career has led her to take on the infamous role of Wednesday Addams in Tim Burton’s Wednesday Netflix series. The actor joins Lisa Loring and Christina Ricci in the live-action adaptation of the macabre teen. But taking on Wednesday is a heavy task with many complex details to get right. Having had a breakthrough year in movies, Ortega explains why she joined Wednesday after a hiatus from TV.
The ‘Wednesday’ actor had trouble getting grown-up roles after Disney
While Ortega has risen to stardom over the past few years, the actor battled the common stigma after getting her start at Disney. Ortega even once considered quitting acting after being unable to break free of the childlike image to get more serious roles.
In an interview with NYLON, Ortega explained no one prepared her for the awkward phase of being a child actor going into adulthood. “I was too old for the young roles and too young for the older roles. It was really frustrating… You finally have to get that one job that moves the meter,” explained the actor.
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Before joining Disney, Ortega was known for her role as young Jane Villanueva in the CW series Jane the Virgin. In 2016, she got a leading role as Harley Diaz in the Dinsey series Stuck in the Middle. From there, Ortega tried to break free of her youthful image to more serious roles. While challenging, she found it playing Ellie Alves in You Season 2. But the thriller series was Ortega’s last major small-screen role until Wednesday.
Ortega had taken a small break and focused on movies. In doing so, she had one of the most successful years in her career. She soon became well-known in the horror genre in The Babysitter: Killer Queen and dazzled as Tara Carpenter in Scream. Ortega then played Skye Willow in Studio 666. In 2022, before joining Wednesday, Ortega gained immense stardom for her role as Lorraine Day in X. In an interview with Netflix Tudum, Ortega explains, “I don’t know what it is about my face. But people always want to throw blood on it.” But her bloody face also helped land her the role in Wednesday.
Jenna Ortega could not pass on the opportunity to star in Tim Burton’s ‘Wednesday’
According to Ortega, she had received a call from Burton asking to meet with her for Wednesday. It seemed like a dream, as the actor has been compared to the macabre teen her entire life. But why did Ortega agree to audition for Wednesday after giving the boot to staring in TV series and opting for movies?
In her interview with Netflix Tudum, Ortega explains, “But when you’re approached with a character like this, and a director like this, and a story like this, it’s very compelling. You don’t know when you’re going to get the opportunity to do something like that again. I knew that I just had to take it.”
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Working with Burton was a fruitful experience for the rising 20-year-old actor. “[Tim] is really, really sweet guy, and probably one of the most collaborative directors I’ve ever worked with,” said Ortega in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like I learned a lot from him. I’ve never worked with somebody who was such a visionary, and I cherish that experience.”
While filming the series, Ortega grew worried and lost her footing while trying to play the perfect Wednesday. Amid her frustration, Burton allowed her to voice her concerns and became an ally in depicting the right Wednesday Addams. Ortega unknowingly stopped blinking while filming, leading Burton to fall in love with her Kubrick stare.
Will Jenna Ortega return for ‘Wednesday’ Season 2?
The Netflix series has hit a milestone, taking the number one spot on Netflix’s Top 10 list. Wednesday has beaten Stranger Things Season 4 with over 350 million hours watched by fans. Ortega adds a fresh take to the macabre teen as she solves mysteries at Nevermore.
So far, fans are divided between loving the series and feeling it does not stick to the original charm of the franchise. But the Wednesday finale did leave a few loose threads and cliffhangers for a second season. While Netflix has not greenlighted Wednesday Season 2, Ortega does have an idea of what she wants next for her character. Ortega hopes to see her solve more mysteries but have an “antihero” path.
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