Jenna Ortega is the face of Netflix’s “Wednesday,” the streamer’s second-greatest English-language series of all time, but making the popular Addams Family series has forced the actor to put his foot down in a way she doesn’t. had never before on a film or television set. Ortega said on a recent episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast that many of the original “Wednesday” scripts didn’t make sense to her character-wise, so much so that she went ahead and changed dialogue without consulting the screenwriters of the film.
“When I read the whole series, I realized, ‘Oh, this is for a younger audience,'” Ortega said. “When I first signed on to the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it was going to be a lot darker. It wasn’t…I didn’t know what the tone was, or to what the score would look like.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to set foot more on set in a way that I had to on ‘Wednesday,'” she continued. “Everything Wednesday did, everything I had to play, made no sense to her character. She’s in a love triangle? It made no sense. There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a dance at school and she goes, “Oh my god, I love that”. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself. I had to say ‘No.’ There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines. The script supervisor thought I was going with something, and then I had to sit down with the writers, and they were like, “Wait, what happened to the scene?” And I would have to go explain why I couldn’t go and do certain things.
Ortega clearly wanted to make Wednesday more three-dimensional than the character’s reading on the page. She didn’t want to play on a Wednesday that lacked growth and was constantly monotonous, morbid and funny. For Ortega, this approach was not going to work for a teenager.
“I became very, very protective of her,” Ortega said. “You can’t have a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you. When you’re little and you say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s mean and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.
This isn’t the first time Ortega has talked about fights on the “Wednesday” set. In a discussion last year for Interview magazine, Ortega said it was director Tim Burton who “didn’t want me to have any expression or emotion at all” when she performed on Wednesday. “He wanted a flat surface, which I understand,” she said. “It’s funny and great, except when you’re trying to move a plot forward, 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, that’s his arc. This is where she gets emotional,” Ortega added at the time. “I was completely lost and confused. Usually I have no problem using my voice, but when you get there, I just remember feeling defeated after the first month.
Whatever battles Ortega had to fight and whatever lines of dialogue she had to change, they clearly worked in her favor, as “Wednesday” got great reviews and ranks behind only ” Stranger Things 4″ as Netflix’s most-watched English-language series. The show has been renewed for season 2.