Jenna Ortega Reveals How She Secretly Changed Wednesday Without Telling Anyone
Jenna Ortega often made dialog changes to the Wednesday script without first informing the writers.
Taking creative liberties and making character assessments is all par for the course on the sets of Hollywood, with actors given a certain amount of freedom to deviate from the way their character was initially written. But, while Penn Badgley ran his thoughts of no longer including intimate scenes in You by the show’s creator, his ex-co-star Jenna Ortega took things into her own hands on the set of Netflix’s Wednesday. During a recent appearance on the podcast the Armchair Expert, the actress admitted to making some major adjustments to the project’s script without consulting the writing team.
During her chat, Jenna Ortega said that she felt the Wednesday changes were needed as the original dialogue didn’t stay true to the beloved Addams Family character. “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 commented before adding that most of the final scripted drafts “did not make sense for her character at all.” Included in the things that she scrapped were a love triangle and “a line about a dress [Wednesday] has to wear for a school dance.”
And while, sometimes, a leading character’s input is gratefully taken in by the production team (after all, who knows the character better than the person studying for the role?), the Scream star acknowledges that she may have overstepped the bounds of what was professional with the number of rewrites she did. She also ran into the pesky situation of dealing with some confused and upset writers after not going to the script supervisor to run her changes before committing them to film. As Jenna Ortega said, she would oftentimes need to report to the Wednesday writers to “explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”
From the moment she signed on to take on the newest revamp of the role previously played by a slew of stars, including Christina Ricci, Jenna Ortega was picturing a very different Wednesday from what the initial script revealed. Upon her first pass-through, she began to understand that what she imagined would be a moody, dark portrayal of the Addams family’s teenage daughter was “for younger audiences.” Without seeing the script before dotting the t’s and crossing the i’s, Ortega admits that she “thought it was going to be a lot darker” and that she didn’t have a complete understanding of the series’ “tone.”
What would prove to be an uphill battle, Jenna Ortega says that she was willing to give a significant amount of pushback on the set of Wednesday because she became “very, very protective of [the character].” Rather than having a character that showed no real growth and dimension, Ortega wanted to mold Wednesday to be fully fleshed-out with an “emotional arc” that would show her growing from an unaware sassy child to a more cognizant and self-aware teenager.
If the numbers revealed anything, it’s that every struggle Jenna Ortega faced and every script change she made was worth it, with Wednesday nabbing the title of Netflix’s second-biggest English-language series of all time. And, while things were up in the air for the show’s follow-up season, it eventually received the green light for a second season, which left fans feeling a lot of excitement. As of right now, no release date or plot for Season 2 of Wednesday has been revealed, but we can expect Jenna Ortega to make sure things stay true to the fan-favorite character no matter what comes her way.