Gina Ortega is the face of Netflix’s “Wednesday,” the second-biggest English-language TV series of all time, but making the popular Addams Family series required the actress to put her foot down in a way she’s never done before in film or TV. hiring. Ortega said on a recent episode of The Chair Expert podcast that many of the original “Wednesday” scripts didn’t make sense to her from a character’s perspective, so much so that she went ahead and changed the dialogue without consulting the film’s writers.
“When I read the whole series, I realized, ‘Oh, this is for a younger audience,’” Ortega said. “When I first signed on to the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it would be darker. It wasn’t… I didn’t know what the tone would be, or what the result would sound like.”
She continued, “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on set in a way that I had to on Wednesday.” “Everything she did on Wednesday, everything I had to play, made no sense for her character at all. Being in a love triangle? No sense. There was a line about a dress she had to wear to a school dance and she saying, ‘Oh my God, I love that. Ah, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself. I had to go, “No.” There were times on that set where I became even almost unprofessional in the sense that 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 were like, “Wait, what happened to the scene?” And I have to go and explain why I can’t do certain things.”
Ortega clearly wanted to make Wed more three-dimensional than the way the character reads on the page. She didn’t want to play Wednesday, who lacked development and was always monotonous, clunky, and intimidating. For Ortega, this approach wouldn’t work for a teenager.
“I grew up very, very protective of her,” Ortega said. “You can’t drive a story and not have an emotional arc because then it’s boring and no one likes you. When you’re young and you say very disrespectful and insulting things, it’s funny and likable. But then you’re a teenager and it sucks and you know it. There’s one less excuse.”
It’s not the first time Ortega has spoken about fighting battles on Wednesday. In a discussion last year for Interview magazine, Ortega said it was director Tim Burton who “didn’t want me to have any expression or emotion whatsoever” when she was playing Wednesday. “He wanted a flat surface, which I understand,” she said. “It’s funny and cool except when you’re trying to move a plot, and wednesday in every scene.”
“There were a lot of fights like that because I felt like people didn’t always trust me when I was creating my own way in terms of, ‘Well, that’s her arc.'” This is where you get emotional,” Ortega added at the time. “I was so confused and lost. Normally I don’t have a problem using my voice, but when you’re into it – I just remember feeling defeated after the first month.”
Whatever battles Ortega had to fight and whatever lines of dialogue she had to change clearly worked in her favour, as “Wednesday” garnered rave reviews and ranks behind only “Stranger Things 4” as the most-watched English-language series on Netflix. The show has been renewed for a second season.
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