Jenna Ortega’s Fascinating Journey and Take On “Wednesday”

Jenna Marie Ortega is the new ‘Wednesday’ from the popular fictional story “The Addams Family”. There have been many other actresses that have played the character ‘Wednesday’ starting with the series from the 1960’s. The Netflix Original, ‘Wednesday’ directed and produced by Tim Burton, premiered November 23rd 2022 and received a lot of excitement and positive feedback when it was released.

“The Addams Family” created by Charles Addams, is a freelance cartoonist who wanted to create a perfect family with shockingly abnormal twisted elements. The comic strips he created involved all the characters everyone knows and loves to this day such as Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, and even Lurch. People love the dark gags like Wednesday Addams playing with her brother Pugsley by torturing him. It was then made into a sitcom in the 1960’s and then “The Addams Family” story had then been set to entertain people for many years.

“It was exciting to see her embrace a completely different type of role.”

— Julie Readmond, GVHS Theatre Guild President

Before Ortega had received her role as ‘Wednesday’, she started off in acting in commercials when she was young, from an Old Navy commercial to a McDonald’s commercial. Because of all her commercials she was in, it had landed her a job with Disney and led to having her own show “Stuck In The Middle”.

After “Stuck In The Middle” Ortega found it hard to get other acting jobs because of the reputation with Disney. It took time for her to gain more roles but brought her way back into more horror and murder TV shows and movies.

Ortega had mentioned that even before being casted as ‘Wednesday’ many would tell her that she had resembled the character a lot. Ortega believed that it was because of her type of humor being dark humor and leans towards darker things than most people.

Theatre Guild President, Julia Readmond, said they were familiar with Jenna Ortega’s work from Disney and that “It was exciting to see her embrace a completely different type of role.”
Of course, when the show “Wednesday” had premiered, there would be many fans of “The Addams Family” questioning whether it would live up to their expectations casting wise. Ortega had said in an interview with Wired, “It’s weird to do something that people have already created expectations and ideas of and still try to do something different that doesn’t stray too far from the character but puts her in a different world and atmosphere”.

Jenna Ortega as Wednenesday

Watching the show, Readmond said “Wednesday’s conflict with her mother felt a little forced.” She understood why the writers would want to have the conflict because of the target audience and having similar feelings towards their own mother’s. Based on the past clips from “Addams Family”–despite the way they act towards each other and are not your typical family–they still showed each other a lot of love just in a different way than “normal” making it a very interesting choice to go through with the conflict between Mortica and Wednesday.

Christina Ricci, ‘Wednesday’ from the 90’s, was in the show as well; casted as the normie teacher, ‘Marylin Thornhil’. In an interview from Access with Ortega, she talked how it was wonderful to work with her and they never talked about both of them being ‘Wednesday’. “I think it was a little intimidating, definitely trying to be Wednesday in front of Wednesday…it really was such a pleasure. We never once mentioned Wednesday to each other. We always had casual conversations. It was nice getting to know her.”

Watching “The Addams Family”, “Addams Family Values”, and looking at the comic strips, and the show ‘Wednesday’, there is a very different approach to each of them. The characters and scenery is portrayed how it’s always been, but the plot of the show plus the cinematic style has definitely changed. They’ve shared a new perspective on the family, especially on ‘Wednesday’ with her being on her own and meeting new people.

The show was done wonderfully with the cast, effects, and crew. Everyone is hoping for a new season to be amazing and that there will be more things added to the show with more characters involved and with ‘Wednesday’ herself.