Jenna Ortega chats to fellow Disney star and close friend Olivia Rodrigo for the latest issue of cult 1980s British magazine The Face.
Ortega has been promoting the eagerly anticipated “Wednesday”, which is on Netflix now and sees her play the title character.
In the interview, the actress talks about starring as Wednesday Addams after Christina Ricci did such a great job in the ’90s movies.
Ricci also stars in the new Netflix series, but is playing Marilyn Thornhill.
Ortega shares, “Christina, she did a part in our show, she came during the last two weeks of shooting. I had nothing to say to her, it was the most awkward I’ve probably felt in my entire life.
“Sometimes I’d say things and she’d go: ’Ooh, uh, that’s… dark.’ Things like that. I didn’t know how to handle it. Since then, we’ve talked and had really great conversations. Even on the day, she was super professional, super sweet, knew everyone’s names. We never talked about Wednesday once.”
Ortega gushes of the actress, “Christina Ricci is a legend. The character wouldn’t have been as big if it hadn’t been for her performance. I know that I can’t knock anyone off and I have to do it differently, but the script was also very reminiscent of her, so how can I take this and shift it in my manner?
“I didn’t realize it at the time, and maybe that’s me being naive and lame because Tim Burton is attached to it, but I didn’t realize that so many people were going to care about the project.
“I feel like the nerves are coming back even more because I don’t know if I did a good job. I am in almost every scene. I feel like I’m still learning things about her every day — I lay up all night staring at the ceiling like, ‘I could have done this, why didn’t I do that?’ It’s kind of a nightmare.”
The pals also talk about growing up in the industry, with Rodrigo asking: “Do you feel like you had to grow up super fast in the industry?
“When people ask me, they’re always like: ‘Oh my God, that must have been so fun for you to be on sets since you were a little girl!’ I’m like, ‘yeah, it was great, but I was also 13 years old and I was hanging out with adults.’ It was an interesting upbringing. Similarly, it must have affected the way you turned out.”
Ortega responds, “I wouldn’t say that I felt I had to grow up fast. It’s kind of something I’d already done. Since I was eight years old, people have been calling me an old woman. When you’re working and spending every day in an environment where you’re surrounded by a bunch of adults and you have to talk with them and work in a professional manner, I think a lot of actors seem a bit older than they are, or communicate in a way that other kids their age would have a complete struggle over.
“So I think it’s something that comes… Not naturally, because you do have to learn it, but I never felt pressure. I was just so excited to be on a set, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I wanted people to want to work with me. So you make sure you know the names and you can have the discussions, find out what people are interested in, keep it up. It was kind of exciting for me. It was like a little game.”
Elsewhere in the chat, Rodrigo and Ortega speak about being recognized in public, sharing their strange fan encounters.
Ortega tells the singer, “I feel like I’ve had a few. My strangest ones are from our Disney days, where I’d go to the restroom and someone would talk to me from underneath a stall. Or when I was washing my hands and someone grabbed me by the arm and took me to their son’s birthday party. And you don’t have enough of a backbone to say no!”
She adds, “I have p**s anxiety, too. So I’m like, I can’t go until you stop.”