Jenna Ortega Opens Up About Why Wednesday Addams Was A Role She Almost Passed On: 'I Was Scared'

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in Wednesday
(Image credit: Netflix)

Jenna Ortega is a massive star on the big and small screen right now. The actress is in Scream VI in theaters, which had an incredible opening weekend. She’s also the star of Netflix’s Wednesday, one of the most successful streaming shows, possibly ever. Ortega is a much bigger star thanks to Wednesday, though she admits she originally passed on doing the series because she wanted to focus on films.

Jenna Ortega’s big break came as part of the cast of Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle, and over the last several years Ortega could be mostly found on television appearing in recurring roles and guest spots. But she tells Deadline that she really has only ever wanted to make movies, so she originally passed on Wednesday because she was scared the show would prevent her from making movies. Ortega explained… 

No, I didn’t. I got the email, passed on it. I had done so much TV in my life, all I’ve ever wanted to do is film. I was scared that by signing on to another television show it could prevent me from doing other jobs I really wanted and cared about.

Over the years, we’ve heard stories about actors who had to pass on films because the shooting schedule conflicted with their TV series. Pierce Brosnan famously had to pass on playing James Bond the first time around because of his commitments to Remington Steele. Since Ortega really has her eyes on movies, it’s understandable that she might fear something like that happening.

In the end, it was apparently Tim Burton who was able to convince Jenna Ortega to come on board Wednesday. The two met and Ortega found that she got along with Burton quite well. I suppose if you can’t make a movie, making a high-profile TV series with a guy who is known for directing and producing major films is the next best thing.

Ortega seems now to be quite sure that she made the right choice. And it’s possible that in the age of prestige streaming and cable TV, which tend to produce about half as many episodes per season as your average primetime network series, the issue of being unavailable might not be as strong as it once was. Ortega says work on her Disney Channel show was "crazy," and that could be part of the reason that she was afraid a series could keep her out of films.

In the end, the decision to make Wednesday might help the actress’ film ambitions. The bigger star that Jenna Ortega becomes the more likely there are going to be movie producers who want her in their films. The ones that want her bad enough are going to be willing to wait to get her, and if that means scheduling their film production after the next season of Wednesday, then they’ll do that. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.