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Netflix’s Addams Family Star Gets Candid About What It Means To Her To Portray Wednesday As A Latina Character

Jenna Ortega as Ellie on You.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Wednesday Addams is such an iconic character in pop culture. Her stoic sensibilities and deadpan one-liners have made her a phenomenon even beyond fans of The Addams Family’s TV and movie adaptations. Her character has no doubt been helped along by brilliant on-screen portrayals from actresses including Christina Ricci and Lisa Loring, and now Jenna Ortega, star of the upcoming Netflix series Wednesday, will be the first Latina to play the iconic role.

Jenna Ortega will be at the center of the Tim Burton-helmed and Danny Elfman-scored Wednesday, set for a release later in 2022. The premise follows Wednesday as a high school student at Nevermore Academy. Wednesday has never been played by a Latina actress, and Ortega recently opened up to Empire about what the role means to her and the importance of representation, saying:

A big part of the reason I signed on is because she’s technically a Latina character and that’s never been shown or represented. As someone who struggled, and still struggles to this day, with some sort of feeling of representation or relatability in mainstream media and film and television, I recognized this was an opportunity for me to… give that relatability to other girls like myself.

Even with Jenna Ortega’s recent success, the actress said she still struggles to find Latin representation in the entertainment world. Playing Wednesday Addams provides an opportunity for other up-and-coming Latina actresses to find relatability within her character.

Luis Guzmán has been cast as Wednesday’s father, Gomez Addams, with Issac Ordonez as brother Pugsley and Catherine Zeta-Jones as mother Morticia. Whereas Jenna Ortega hasn’t seen a number of iconic Latina characters, she thinks she fits well into this role. She continued:

Looking the way I do and having the cultural background I have, there aren’t many iconic characters out there. So when an opportunity like this comes up – she’s someone I’ve been compared to my whole life, just because of my humour and dry nature, so it just seemed fitting. I thought that would be a nice way to flex my muscles in a different way.

Audiences have definitely gotten to see some of those chops in Jenna Ortega’s recent work. Ortega is becoming a next-generation scream queen, playing independent teen Ellie on Season 2 of the Netflix series You, as well as Tara Carpenter in the recent Scream movie. Going off those credits and other things we know about her, I can easily see Ortega embodying Wednesday Addams’ dark humor and nonchalance. 

Wednesday will see the title character solving mysteries at her school and locally. She will also be trying to master her newly formed psychic abilities, and with the series set to take place in modern times, Wednesday might also have to navigate things like social media, as well as common social situations and friendships.

The eight-episode first season is set for release on Netflix later in 2022, so stay tuned for updates. Tim Burton tackling the Addams Family seems like a natural pairing, and I can’t wait to see Jenna Ortega’s take on the classic role. While we wait for more details on Wednesday, check out other shows on Netflix, as well as our 2022 TV Schedule to see what premieres are coming soon. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.