Wednesday fans are happy to learn that actress Jenna Ortega understood her assignment despite changing the script without the writers knowing. Sometimes actors truly get the character right down to the very bone that they instinctively know why and how the character would think, speak and do as they do. Definitely, Ortega has reached that point of internalization for the Addams Family’s eldest child.
There are rare times that an actor ‘gets’ the character more than how the writers’ team would create lines for them. In cases where a classic such as the Addams Family, where a team of writers get to the task of pushing the plot along, sometimes, writers dictate an action or a line for a character that may not make sense. Something that actors can see when they get to the point of reading and internalizing the script.
It may not be courteous, but Ortega’s actions in changing the script actually made Wednesday authentic. And judging by the ratings as well as the accolades the show collected since it started streaming, Ortega was right.
Jenna Ortega Followed Wednesday’s Instincts, Not Writers’ Lines
According to the actress during a recent podcast episode of the Armchair Expert via a report from Variety, many of the original scripts from the writers’ team did not make any sense. Ortega felt the lines were made of words and phrases or even delivery that Wednesday would never say under any circumstance. The actress shared:
When I read the entire series, I realized, ‘Oh, this is for younger audiences,’. When I first signed onto the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it was going to be a lot darker. It wasn’t… I didn’t know what the tone was, or what the score would sound like.
She further discussed the things that she felt didn’t belong to the series as part of the story. She continued:
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,’. 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.
Vividly she cited the example:
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.’ There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines.
But despite the changes, director Tim Burton must have agreed to her choice of action or non-action. This is because instead of getting reprimanded about the change and having to retake the moment to include what was in the script, she was made to talk to the writers. She said:
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.
The Wednesday character that Ortega got to develop throughout the series was more than just what was written in the script. In fact, the dance she made for the season was all her own. Mainly, she did her research on how she could incorporate dance moves from previous Wednesday versions. During the podcast, she finally said:
I grew very, very protective of her. You can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you. When you are little and say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s nasty and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.
Jenna Ortega Knows Wednesday Better Than The Writers
With 47 acting credits to her name, Ortega truly has formidable experience and skill set for character study. She even received nominations and awards years before portraying the eponymous lead of the Netflix original series. Her performance in Stuck in the Middle won her the Best Young Actor – Television award back in 2018.
Surely, there will be more news in the future about Jenna Ortega. Other than expecting season 2 of Wednesday, the actress has 4 projects down the line in various production phases. She will be Remi in Winter Spring Summer Or Fall, and in undisclosed characters for Finestkind, Miller’s Girl and an untitled the Weeknd & Trey Edward Shults Project.
Meanwhile, Netflix Original series Wednesday still streams on the platform.
What do you think of Jenna Ortega’s decision to change the script without the writers knowing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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