Jenna Ortega knew “Wednesday” was coming at a pivotal time in her career.
The former child star had already experienced a decade-worth of TV roles and was focused on cementing her film career status just as the Netflix series, helmed by her icon Tim Burton, was in the casting process.
“I got the email, passed on it. I had done so much TV in my life, all I’ve ever wanted to do is film,” Ortega told The Sunday Times. “When I first started acting, I don’t want to say nobody believed in me, but at the same time nobody believed in me. You have to prove yourself. It’s only in the last three or four years that I’ve been able to start going up for film.”
She continued, “I was scared that by signing on to another television show it could prevent me from doing other jobs I really wanted and cared about. The only reason I went back is because Tim [Burton] is such a legend, and we just happened to get along very well. But even then I said, ‘Ah, no, I think I’m OK,’ a couple [more] times.”
Ortega recently admitted that she “had to put my foot down on a set” when it came to certain “Wednesday” scripts.
“There were times on that set where I even became unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines,” the “You” alum shared. The script supervisor thought I was going with something, and then I would have to sit down with the writers and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I would have to go through and explain why I couldn’t do certain things.”
She continued, “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. And Wednesday is a teenager. When you’re little and you say morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing and, ‘Aww, you don’t know any better.’ But then you become a teenager, it’s, ‘Now you’re being nasty and you know it.’ There’s less excuse.”
Ortega concluded, “A job like Wednesday, I was trying something completely different. I’m naturally a very expressive person. I haven’t really done a teen show like that before. It’s not typically the kind of TV that I would watch, so it felt very out of place for me.”