Wednesday’s Jenna Ortega Was ‘Terrified’ When Christina Ricci Joined The Cast – Exclusive Image

Wednesday – exclusive

by Ben Travis |
Updated on

Talk about stepping into someone’s shoes. With Wednesday Addams, you don’t even just get shoes – you also get some of the most iconic pitch-black pigtails in the business, a deadly scowl, and an acid-sharp wit to boot. While there have been multiple incarnations of The Addams Family over the years, the ‘90s films by Barry Sonnenfeld – The Addams Family and Addams Family Values – are particularly fondly-remembered, with Christina Ricci perfectly inhabiting Morticia and Gomez’s deadpan daughter. It was daunting enough, then, for Scream and Ti West's X star Jenna Ortega to take on the role for Tim Burton’s upcoming Netflix series Wednesday – and even more so when Ricci herself joined the cast of the show, in an undisclosed role.

For Ortega, it was a lot to take. “I felt like I was genuinely having a panic attack when I was told,” she tells Empire in the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever issue. “I was terrified. She’s a really cool lady. I was fine meeting her, but the first time we did a scene together and she had to see me done up the way she was done up 30 years ago, it was nerve-racking.” It was particularly scary because of how, well, scarily-good Ricci’s Wednesday Addams was. “It’s really important to me that I wasn’t ripping anyone off,” says Ortega. “Christina Ricci’s performance is flawlessly done. It’s pitch-perfect and I wouldn’t change anything about it, which is another reason it was hard for me to do this job.”

Instead of retreading old ground, Wednesday – created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, with Burton directing four of its eight episodes – moves things forward and picks up a few years down the line from where Ricci would theoretically have left off. “We’ve never seen Wednesday as a teenage girl,” reasons Ortega – an evolution which brings its own challenges. “When you get older and you say these sarcastic, bitchy one-liners, it can come off less charming and more rude or obnoxious. That was something I was really wary of.” Still, from everything we’ve seen so far, it looks like Wednesday could be a creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky treat.

Empire – November 2022 cover

Read Empire’s full Wednesday feature in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever issue – on sale Thursday 29 September, and available to order online here. Wednesday hits Netflix on 23 November.

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