Jenna Ortega keeps it brutally honest when it comes to discussing “Wednesday,” her smash hit Netflix series that ranks behind only “Stranger Things 4” as Netflix’s most-watched English-language series of all time. In a recent interview with The Times U.K., Ortega revealed she did not desperately want the role of Wednesday Addams. She even turned down multiple offers to star in what would become a breakthrough role.
“I got the email, passed on it,” Ortega said. “I had done so much TV in my life. All I’ve ever wanted to do is film…You have to prove yourself. It’s only in the last three or four years that I’ve been able to start going up for 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.”
“The only reason I went back is because Tim [Burton, director and executive producer of ‘Wednesday’] is such a legend, and we just happened to get along very well,” Ortega added. “But even then I said, ‘Ah, no — I think I’m OK,’ a couple [more] times.”
Ortega never expected “Wednesday” to become such a global phenomenon. “I thought it wasn’t going to be watched,” she said. “That it will be a nice little gem that someone finds, but [most people don’t].”
When asked by the Times if “that would be preferable,” referring to the show being a small gem and not a massive hit everyone watched, Ortega answered, “Yeah.”
“I used to do a Disney show when I was younger,” Ortega said. “I was a little bit of a public figure, used to get recognized, or whatever. When I look back, I think I was so out of place. I didn’t understand where I was, and you start to see Hollywood for the first time and it’s a bit intimidating, a bit off-putting. I felt like I was a people’s princess. I didn’t really feel like myself. Then it started to slow down and I lived a pretty normal life….Until ‘Wednesday,’ until now, I think.”
During an appearance on the “Armchair Expert” podcast earlier this month, Ortega revealed she opposed a lot of Wednesday’s dialogue and changed her lines on set without telling the series’ writers ahead of time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on ‘Wednesday,’” Ortega said. “Everything that Wednesday does, everything I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all. Her being in a love triangle? It made no sense. There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a school dance and she says, ‘Oh my god I love it. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’ I had to go, ‘No.’”
Ortega continued, “There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines. The script supervisor thought I was going with something and then I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I’d have to go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”
“Wednesday” has been renewed by Netflix for Season 2.