Jenna Ortega–Wednesday Addams in the upcoming Netflix series–on working with director Tim Burton and the challenges of stepping into a legacy role.
Jenna Ortega recently opened up about her experience playing Wednesday Addams in Tim Burton’s upcoming series, Wednesday. Wednesday Addams first appeared on screen in the 1960s series, The Addams Family. Following the original series and a ‘70s animated spinoff, The Addams Family launched into a successful film franchise, with two movies directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. An animated reboot starring Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron debuted in 2019, followed by its sequel, The Addams Family 2, in October 2021.
Now, Burton and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar are giving the famously macabre character her own series. The eight-episode show will follow the teenage Wednesday as she hones her psychic abilities at the Nevermore Academy. While attending to her studies, Wednesday gets swept up investigating a local killing spree, as well as a supernatural mystery in which her parents were entangled 25 years earlier. In addition to Orega, the Wednesday cast includes Luis Guzman as Gomez Addams, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams, Issac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams, Gwendoline Christie as Larrisa Weems, Victor Dorobantu as Thing, and George Burcea as Lurch.
In an interview with THR, Ortega talks about working with Burton and the challenges of stepping into such an iconic role. Of the eccentric director, Ortega calls Burton “the most detail-oriented.” She also speaks of the pressure to “do [Wednesday] justice,” citing the character’s beloved, decades-long stature. Check out Ortega’s quote below:
“It’s been quite an insane experience. I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with an iconic director who just so happens to be one of the sweetest directors I’ve worked with, and also the most detail-oriented. To step into the shoes of somebody who’s a bit more eccentric and frightening has been really exciting for me, and definitely a challenge — especially with such a beloved character, I really want to take care of her and do her justice.”
Ortega notes the difficulties of portraying a character who is “a bit more eccentric and frightening,” but given the up-and-coming actress’ track record, she should be up to the task of capturing Wednesday’s delightful menace and dark deadpanning. Ortega has appeared in the similarly sinister You, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, and most recently, she starred in the fifth Scream film. Ortega has also received praise for her upcoming role as a post-traumatic school shooting survivor in The Fallout.
If Ortega is concerned about portraying the altogether ooky Wednesday Addams, she will be in the able hands of director Tim Burton, who has built his career on the gothic and macabre. Most famous for films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Corpse Bride, Wednesday marks Burton’s first foray into television directing since the ‘80s. The series feels especially appropriate for Burton, who was originally tapped to helm The Addams Family in 1991. While fans may have a certain idea of Wednesday Addams in their heads, whether it’s an animated version or Christina Ricci’s iconic portrayal, Burton will surely be able to coax out a memorable performance from Ortega in Wednesday.
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