Jenna Ortega gets candid about her overwhelming Wednesday filming schedule, revealing she barely slept and started to pull her hair out due to stress.
Jenna Ortega candidly details her overwhelming Wednesday filming schedule. A spin-off of Charles Addams’ The Addams Family comics, Wednesday stars Ortega as the titular dead-panned teenager with psychic abilities. Created by Miles Millar and Al Gough, with four episodes directed by Tim Burton, Wednesday was a massive success, breaking Netflix’s viewership record for most hours watched in a single week for an English-speaking TV show, garnering over 1 billion viewing hours to date. Guest-starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman as Wednesday’s mother and father, Morticia and Gomez Addams, Wednesday follows the sarcastic, gloomy teen as she is sent to Nevermore Academy boarding school, where she hones in on her powers to solve a mysterious murder case.
Speaking at a Netflix Q&A panel, Jenna Ortega describes Wednesday‘s demanding filming schedule, per Variety. Explaining just how intense it was for her, Ortega candidly reveals she broke down crying frequently throughout filming. Read below to see what Ortega had to say about her overwhelming experience filming Wednesday, and why it caused her to want to pull her own hair out:
It was show up to set two hours early, do that 12-14 hour day, then go home and then get on a Zoom and have whatever lesson that I had. Or show up to my apartment, my cello teacher was already waiting for me…It was just constantly going, and if you could on a weekend, if we weren’t shooting the sixth day that week, it was ‘All right, well then, we’ll get your lessons in on that day. I did not get any sleep. I pulled my hair out. There’s so many FaceTime calls that my dad answered of me hysterically crying. We started running out of time because Wednesday’s in pretty much every scene…They had to start using stunt doubles or occasionally cello doubles if they didn’t have time to get hands, but I was very adamant about being as well prepared as possible because I wanted them to be able to use myself, because that’s so much more believable if you could see your face.
Why Ortega’s Dedication Makes Her The Perfect Wednesday
While countless iterations of The Addams’ Family exist, Wednesday brought the franchise back to life for a new generation, thanks to Ortega’s outstanding performance as the satirical teen. Ortega proved she is the perfect fit for the iconic character, cementing her status in pop culture alongside Christina Ricci’s Wednesday from the 1990s Addams Family films. Garnering a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination for her performance, Ortega’s characterization of Wednesday is multidimensional, offering a more vulnerable, relatable side to her, without sacrificing her sarcastic nature. Ortega ensures Wednesday can be both serious and dark but also young and playful, all while keeping a straight face.
Ortega’s dedication to Wednesday went beyond simply reading lines off a script, she wanted to master the same skill set as her fictional character, including learning the cello. Ortega refused a body double for most scenes, wanting the show to be as realistic as possible. Ortega also learned fencing, archery, and cannoning for the role, flawlessly carrying out the sports on-screen. Even more memorable, Ortega choreographed her now-iconic Wednesday dance scene, which similarly left her mortified as she’s admitted to having regrets that has kept her up at night since. It’s clear that her practice made perfect, as Ortega expertly set this Wednesday apart from Ricci’s previous beloved performance, with her many talents and new look.
While Ortega admits that filming Wednesday was intense, and emotionally draining at times, it seems she can agree her dedication and effort paid off. Not only has the role set her up as one of the most exciting and emerging young talents in Hollywood, it also ensured a Wednesday season 2 is on the way. While the next installment is likely a year or two away, this gives Ortega plenty of time to learn and grow for a bigger and better Wednesday season 2.