Wednesday Star Jenna Ortega Talks the Challenges of Playing the Emotionless Addams Family Character

Having starred in genre projects like You, Scream, and the upcoming X, actor Jenna Ortega is seemingly right at home playing Wednesday Addams, the macabre daughter of Gomez and Morticia Addams, but playing the character in the upcoming Wednesday does bring with it some interesting challenges for the performer. A defining trait of the character is how she lacks emotion in even the most unsettling scenarios, with Ortega detailing how she finds the balance of delivering a compelling character while also withholding emotions over the course of an eight-episode narrative. Wednesday does not currently have a release date on Netflix.

"We've never seen her as a teenage girl," Ortega explained to Entertainment Weekly. "You know, it's funny and sweet and almost charming to hear this eight-year-old's obsession with murder and blood and guts. As she gets older, that nasty attitude or [those] biting remarks, it's almost kind of hard to not make it sound like every other teenage girl. So, it's like, how do we establish this character and give her the same fire without letting her become something that she's not? Also, it's eight-hour series so, for an emotionless character, there has to be some sort of an emotional arc." 

She added, "That's been really interesting to figure out in terms of, okay, well, she's got to be able to push the story forward in some way but how do we keep her true to her deadpan self? It's been a bit of a challenge and I'm curious to see how it plays. I've never had the opportunity to play an iconic character before. I know she's well-loved and well-respected and I just don't want to mess her up."

The series is set to explore Wednesday's time at the Nevermore Academy, with previous incarnations of the character in movies and TV shows exploring a slightly earlier point in Wednesday's history.

Luckily, Ortega has some guidance from director Tim Burton, who previously delivered compelling blends of humor and horror with films like Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks!, with a number of previous projects proving how well he can capture such ambitious tones.

"That has been really incredible, just being such a fan of his work prior, but also getting to know him and realizing he's the most detail-oriented director I'll ever work with," the actor expressed. "He's also one of the sweetest directors I think I'll ever work with. I'm really blown away by how collaborative he is and how kind he is."

Stay tuned for details on Wednesday.

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