Jenna Ortega to ‘Wednesday’ writers: ‘No, there’s no way’

Jenna Ortega, the 20-year-old star of Netflix’s “Addams Family” spin-off “Wednesday,” has offered a peek inside the sausage-making realities of crafting a hit television show in the streaming era. Speaking with Dax Shepard on his “Armchair Expert” podcast, Ortega said that she had to self-advocate with the show’s producers, arguing that the scripts she was given did not have a true understanding of the character.

“Everything that she does, everything that I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all,” she told the host.

“Her being in a love triangle made no sense,” she continued. “There was a line about like, this dress that she has to wear for a school dance and she said, ‘Oh, my God, I love it. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’ And I had to go, ‘No, there’s no way.’”

Ortega added that she had to make some of her own choreography choices during the show’s viral dance sequence, too. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down on a set in the way that I had to on ‘Wednesday’” the star of “X,” “You,” and “Scream VI” said. 

“There was [sic] times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional, in a sense, where I just started changing lines,” Ortega shared. “The script supervisor thought that I was going with something, and then I would have to sit down with the writers and they would be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’” 

“I would to have to go through and explain why I couldn’t do certain things,” she said. “I grew very, very protective of her, but you can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you.”

Luckily for Ortega, “Wednesday” was a massive success. According to Netflix, it is the platform’s third-most-watched show of all time (behind “Stranger Things” and “Squid Game”). Ortega herself received strong reviews and industry acclaim for her performance. She was a nominee at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this year and is expected to compete for Emmy Award recognition as well.

The series has been picked up for a second season, and Ortega will act as an executive producer, alongside Tim Burton, who directed the first four episodes, and series creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. With Ortega involved at an earlier stage of development, it may cut these conflicts off a little earlier. At least by Tuesday!

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