In the world of entertainment, there are few characters as iconic as Wednesday Addams. With her eerie charm and morbid sense of humor, she has captured the hearts of generations. Now, in the Netflix series "Wednesday," the talented actress Jenna Ortega takes on the formidable task of portraying this beloved character. In this article, we'll delve into Jenna Ortega's journey as she steps into the dark and intriguing world of Wednesday Addams.
The Audacious Idea
From the moment Jenna Ortega was cast as Wednesday Addams, she approached the role with daring creativity. In one early scene, she proposed a rather audacious idea - to hang herself Harold and Maude-style, while her on-screen parents, Morticia and Gomez, engaged in a romantic rendezvous in a car. This imaginative twist would have added a darkly comical touch to the series, but it was swiftly vetoed. Nonetheless, this audacious mindset showcases Ortega's commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring the macabre in her portrayal.
Emergence of a Scream Queen
Jenna Ortega is no stranger to the world of horror. In 2022, she faced off against Ghostface in the latest "Scream" installment, cementing her status as a scream queen for the new generation. Her versatile talent was evident in her role as a member of a crew of filmmakers terrorized by a lustful elderly woman in "X." Now, as Wednesday Addams, she embraces the morbid cartoon character with a teenage twist, affirming her reign as the scream queen of her era.
A Dark Sense of Humor
Ortega's fascination with all things dark and macabre dates back to her early teenage years. At the age of 13, she began immersing herself in the horror genre, drawing inspiration from classics like "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream," and "Halloween." However, her journey into acting commenced even earlier, at the age of six, when she was captivated by Denzel Washington's thriller, "Man on Fire." Her decision to pursue acting might have been unconventional at such a young age, but it marked the beginning of a remarkable career.
Embracing Tim Burton's Offer
When the legendary director Tim Burton approached Jenna Ortega to join the cast of "Wednesday," she initially had reservations. Having transitioned away from television, she had to carefully consider the offer. However, the opportunity to bring Wednesday Addams to life, combined with the chance to work with Tim Burton, ultimately lured her back to the small screen. The series transports Wednesday to Nevermore Academy, her parents' alma mater, after an incident involving piranhas and her brother, Pugsley. Here, she grapples with being an outcast, even among supernatural beings like werewolves and sirens.
Dedication to the Character
Ortega's dedication to her role as Wednesday is truly remarkable. She thoroughly studied the two Addams family movies from the 1990s, familiarizing herself with Christina Ricci's iconic portrayal. She delved into Charles Addams's original comics and watched the 1960s TV series. Her preparation also extended to learning the cello and taking German lessons to add depth to her character. With Burton's guidance, she mastered the art of conveying captivating emotions through her stoic expressions.
Creating the Dance Sequence
In one memorable scene, Wednesday Addams embraces her uniqueness during a dance sequence set to The Cramps's "Goo Goo Muck." Despite not having a formal dance background, Ortega took on the task of choreographing the scene herself. Drawing inspiration from '80s Goth club aesthetics, Lene Lovich music videos, and the iconic dance from the '60s TV series, Ortega's performance is both hilarious and impressive. She may claim not to be a dancer, but her dedication shines through in every move.
Empowering Latina Representation
Beyond the character of Wednesday, Jenna Ortega is passionate about empowering Latina representation in the entertainment industry. She recognized the importance of accurately portraying a young person of color's coming-of-age story. While the show's writers may not share her background, Ortega ensured that her concerns were communicated and respected. She aimed to prevent any disconnection between the character's experiences and the audience's understanding.
A Different Kind of Love Triangle
One interesting aspect of "Wednesday" is the unexpected presence of a love triangle. Ortega acknowledges that this wasn't what viewers initially expected for the enigmatic character. In her words, "Nobody wants to see her in the middle of a love triangle. They want to see her torturing people." Despite initial assurances from the writers that it wouldn't be a love triangle, the actress herself questioned the direction while filming. Ortega was determined to preserve the essence of Wednesday, even if it meant defying traditional expectations.
A Multifaceted Future
As Jenna Ortega continues to navigate her career, she has a multifaceted approach to her roles. She's eager to explore diverse genres, from dramatic works like "The Fallout" to projects that align with her cinematic passions. Her interests span from David Lynch's enigmatic "Eraserhead" to the timeless classic "The Passion of Joan of Arc." Ortega's ultimate goal is to create content that elicits unconventional emotions and thoughts in her audience, much like the character she embodies, Wednesday Addams.
In taking on the role of Wednesday Addams, Jenna Ortega has displayed an extraordinary level of commitment and creativity. Her dedication to pushing boundaries, empowering representation, and maintaining the character's authenticity is truly commendable. With a bright future ahead, Ortega's versatile talent promises a wealth of intriguing and thought-provoking performances that are sure to captivate audiences and make them squirm in the most captivating way. Jenna Ortega is not just an actress; she's a darkly artistic force to be reckoned with.