Jenna Ortega slips into the iconic shoes of Wednesday Addams in Netflix‘s anticipated series, “Wednesday”, which also returns original star Christina Ricci — who played the heroine in the ’90s films — to the franchise in a new role.
Presented with the unique opportunity to seek wisdom from Ricci, Ortega admitted that once they stepped onto set, their focus was on the present and not the past.
“I did not pick her brain,” Ortega told ET’s Denny Directo at the “Wednesday” virtual junket in October. “It was weird, it was like an unspoken agreement that we had. When we first locked eyes, we were just, ‘Let’s never talk about her.'”
“I don’t think I’ve ever really said the word, ‘Wednesday,’ around her actually until a couple of weeks ago,” the actress noted.
In the new “Wednesday” series, Ortega’s Wednesday attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore Academy.
Ricci plays a new character, Miss Marilyn Thornhill, who is an alum of Nevermore.
“It was scary,” Ortega said when asked what the experience was like being on set with the “Yellowjackets” star. “Because it’s like, she’s observing what it is, what you’re doing and it is one of her more popular characters and… she’s created quite the legacy to live up to.”
“And the show is very reminiscent of her take. It just goes to show that there’s respect there,” she acknowledged.
For Ortega, who starred in “You” and the “Scream” franchise, landing the role “felt like a fever dream.” The actress recalled going through the audition process while making the 2022 horror film, X.
“There were a lot of challenges because we’ve never seen her as a teenage girl before… We’ve never spent so much time with Wednesday as a character doing an emotional arc with someone who’s usually the one-liner, you know?” she said.
“It’s introducing the audience to a new version, a modern take. It’s a different world, it’s a different environment. We’ve never seen the Addams in this world before,” Ortega explained.
The 20-year-old actress described playing Wednesday throughout the eight episodes as “super fun.”
“I had never played a character that somebody else had played, so that’s where the intimidation comes up,” she said, adding that filming in Romania with a strict 9 p.m. curfew every night due to COVID protocols bonded the cast and crew even more.
“If I did leave, I’d go to our friend, [co-star] Georgie [Farmer]’s apartment on Saturdays. Like, you always knew something was happening at Georgie’s on Saturday,” she shared. When I wasn’t tired, if I didn’t have cello work, fencing or something to do, I’d go do that.”
“Wednesday” premieres Nov. 23 on Netflix.
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