See Jenna Ortega Explain How She Made Wednesday Addams Her Own

Jenna Ortega, the star of Netflix's upcoming series Wednesday , shares the changes she made to the iconic character, famously played by Christina Ricci in the Addams Family films.

By Charlotte Walsh Aug 24, 2022 7:00 PMTags
Watch: "The Addams Family" 28 Years Later: E! News Rewind

Jenna Ortega is ready for a fright. 

In a new featurette shared by Netflix Aug. 24, the actress explained how she prepared for her role as the titular Wednesday Addams in the streamer's Wednesday, premiering this fall. While playing such an iconic role—made famous by Christina Ricci in the ‘90s films (and is set to make an appearance in the series)—Ortega said she wanted to make sure her take on Wednesday was fresh. 

"It was really important to me that I did something different, even though she's been done so flawlessly in the past," Ortega says in the new video. "She's more socially awkward. There's a confidence there, but it's more concealed."

To prepare for the role, Ortega says she attended fencing and cello lessons twice a week and practiced walking as Wednesday, saying she wanted the character to be "specific and certain and assertive."

Wednesday is also a Latina character, which Ortega says has "never been represented." A scene from the show features Wednesday revealing to her friends that her family has an altar in their living room, which has more seating for "year-long Día de los Muertos" celebrations.

2022 TV Premiere Dates

The series focuses on Wednesday, the daughter of Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzmán), who is expelled from her school due to "attempted murder"—a.k.a., unleashing two bags filled with piranhas on a water polo team bullying brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez). Wednesday is sent to complete her schooling at Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts and the place where her parents met. There, she attempts to "master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the murder mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago," according to Netflix.

In the featurette, showrunners and executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar make sure to emphasize that Wednesday isn't a reboot of The Addams Family or its subsequent sequels; rather, the show is a "new chapter in Wednesday Addams' life."

The Wednesday cast and crew also reiterated their confidence in casting Ortega, with Zeta- Jones bringing up Ortega's "dry sense of humor," which she brings to the character.

Director Tim Burton also sang Ortega's praises, comparing the up-and-comer to "a silent movie actress" because she is "able to convey things without words." Now, with more episodes to explore Wednesday, the series is "trying to give [her] a reality." New clips from the show depict Wednesday standing up to bully Bianca and confiding in Thing.

"To see the inner life and the subtleties was very exciting," Burton says. "That's why we're very lucky to have Jenna, because I can't imagine another Wednesday."

Wednesday premieres on Netflix this fall. 

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