Jenna Ortega Gets Real About How Tough It Is To Play Wednesday Addams When Fans Have Such Nostalgia For Christina Ricci's Character And Other Versions

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday sitting in a car doing her signature stare.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Jenna Ortega went to great lengths to make sure that her take on Wednesday Addams for Netflix’s Wednesday was memorable, even though shooting the series was tough at times. While it all seems worth it since the show became an instant hit on the streamer -- with Season 2 on the way -- the young actress is opening up about how tough it was to really play the beloved character since fans are nostalgic about Christina Ricci’s version, among others.

The Addams Family has been around for decades in the forms of comics, film, and television, which meant Ortega taking on a character previously played by Christina Ricci and the late Lisa Loring. While on Hot Ones, Ortega discussed the balancing act of portraying an already-established character while also making it her own, and it sounds as tough as it can get:

When you’re gonna be the lead of a story, you have to have some sort of emotional arc, some sort of emotional payoff. And Wednesday doesn’t actually have that. And I think fighting the nostalgia that everybody feels for the ‘60s Wednesday and the ‘90s Wednesday while also feeding into that but giving it a new take and making it your own to a new generation so that they’re introduced to the character. [It] was like a real balancing act.

Wednesday Addams has gone through multiple iterations, and each one was memorable and different. Even though Jenna Ortega had to find a way to make the character her own for Netflix, she had support from a former Wednesday, as Christina Ricci had a role. Luckily, Ortega was able to find a happy medium that worked for her:

I found as long as I studied the old material and took aspects and traits I knew I could easily weave into my own iteration, it felt like a good happy medium.

That happy medium seemed to have worked since Ortega’s take on Wednesday has done numbers on Netflix and has even created a viral dance. Even though she had to say no to filming You’s fourth season due to filming Wednesday, the end result is arguably one of the best shows on Netflix now.

Wednesday received mixed reviews from critics, but the overall consensus was that Jenna Ortega did a masterful job at bringing the character to life in a new way. With a second season of Wednesday confirmed, hopefully it’ll be less stressful for the former Disney star, especially now that she knows what she’s up against.

Wednesday is also not the only nostalgic project that Jenna Ortega has been part of lately. She is returning for the upcoming Scream movie, and the franchise is not so new. Ortega is basically a pro at this point when it comes to nostalgic projects and roles, and at least for Scream VI, this will be her second time playing Tara Carpenter.

It's unknown when Season 2 of Wednesday will premiere on Netflix, but since it was just renewed in January, it’s likely it won’t be part of the 2023 Netflix TV schedule. Though after what Jenna Ortega went through while she was filming the series, it’s probably a good thing, considering the pressure got to her at points. In the meantime, the first season is streaming with a Netflix subscription

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.