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SYFY WIRE Wednesday

Why ‘Wednesday’ star Jenna Ortega didn’t ask Christina Ricci for advice on ‘Addams Family’ role

"They're two very different people, our Wednesdays."

By Josh Weiss
(L-R) Jenna Ortega and Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci's performance as Wednesday Addams in the pair of live-action Addams Family movies directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (released in 1991 and 1993) was so iconic, that there was no way Netflix could make a Wednesday-inspired television series without her.

With the show's first season now available to stream, we know that Ricci (currently making waves in breakout hit, Yellowjackets) plays the role of Marilyn Thornhill, an instructor at Nevermore, a boarding school attended by Jenna Ortega's fresh take on Wednesday, who, in this iteration, has been gifted with psychic powers. While Ortega enjoyed direct contact with an Addams Family OG on set, she never sought out advice on how to play the sullen character.

"I think when she was on set, neither one of us said 'Wednesday' once to each other," she admitted during an MTV discussion with fellow co-star Emma Myers (Enid Sinclair). "I think because she knew not to say anything to me ... I don't think she wanted to get in the way of my performance or feel like she was overbearing. And then I felt like I didn't want to pull up something that she did 30 years ago. For one, the sake of my own benefit, but two, I didn't want to rip her off and I didn't want to be too much like her. Our show has super-powers and outcasts and evil ghost Pilgrims, so they're two very different people, our Wednesdays, I think."

Watch the full conversation below:

"I felt immense pressure," Ortega said of tackling such a well-known persona. "I felt a lot of pressure to do it right because she's such a beloved character. I've never played someone who's been done before, so I think that that was a really interesting thing for me. And yeah, I have a lot of respect for the character. We've never spent this much time with Wednesday on-camera before. I think there's gonna be some more depth [and] some more emotional range that we haven't really seen from her before. So I think trying to introduce that to the audience in a safe [by] pulling bits of nostalgia for them in terms of throwing back to previous iterations without knocking anyone off and still making it something new and fresh was a bit of a challenge. But it was interesting."

The project hails from co-showrunners and executive producers, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Tim Burton — who directed the first four episodes — also serves as an executive producer with Steve Stark, Andrew Mittman, Kevin Miserocchi, Kayla Alpert, Jonathan Glickman, Gail Berman, Tommy Harper, and Kevin Lafferty.

Gwendoline Christie (Principal Larissa Weems), Jamie McShane (Sheriff Galpin), Percy Hynes White (Xavier Thorpe), Hunter Doohan (Tyler Galpin), Joy Sunday (Bianca Barclay), Naomi J Ogawa (Yoko Tanaka), Moosa Mostafa (Eugene Ottinger), Georgie Farmer (Ajax Petropolus), Riki Lindhome (Dr. Valerie Kinbott), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia Addams), Luis Guzmán (Gomez Addams), and Isaac Ordonez (Pugsley Addams) round out the cast.

All eight episodes of Wednesday's debut season are now streaming on Netflix.

Looking for something horrific to watch? Peacock has lots of horror movies to keep you suitably scared including The Amityville Haunting, The Changeling, and Halloween Ends. New episodes of Reginald the Vampire are also airing Wednesday nights only on SYFY.