How Netflix’s Wednesday pulled off bringing back Addams Family icon Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci as Wednesday

As new Netflix series Wednesday hits screens, one of the show’s creators has revealed how he managed to get the iconic Christina Ricci on board.

Ricci played Wednesday in the cult classic 1991 film The Addams Family, and returns as a new character in the Tim Burton series. 
In the new series, we find Wednesday Addams, a homicidal teen, joining Nevermore Academy where she undertakes solving a supernatural case of a monstrous killer in a nearby town.

While Wednesday is played by Jenna Ortega in the Netflix series, Ricci plays an original character Marilyn Thornhill, a Nevermore teacher and Wednesday’s dorm mom at Ophelia Hall who quickly adopts the gothic teen under her wing as a kindred spirit.

“We weren’t sure we could make it happen,” creator Al Gough tells TVLine, “because Christina was shooting Yellowjackets and she was pregnant.

“We had to rejigger the schedule because she really wanted to do it,” said Gough. “She worked with Tim [Burton] on Sleepy Hollow and she loves Wednesday and really loved the idea of the project. 

“It was really important to us that we honour the legacy of what’s happened before.”

Viewers are treated to the gothic Wednesday vibes, with cynical one-liners and biting morbidity. 

On Ortega’s casting, Gough added: “She had an intensity and she had an intelligence. She felt like an old soul, which really is what Wednesday is.”

Ortega also reflected on what it was like working with Christina Ricci on Wednesday, telling Digital Spy it was difficult to “warm up” at first.

“[Our Wednesdays] are very different,” she explained, “which is interesting because I feel like a lot of the humour and a lot of the lines are similar.

“We pull inspiration from the ‘90s film. But she’s a really wonderful, gifted actress. And obviously, it’s weird when I’ve grown up my entire life viewing her as Wednesday. 

“So it’s a bit disorienting. I think it took me a couple of days to kind of loosen up and warm up around her.”

She was keen to emphasise that their two Wednesdays shouldn’t be compared as they are in “a completely different world”.

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams. (Netflix)

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams. (Netflix)

Christina Ricci is also looking forward to the second season of the wildly popular queer show Yellowjackets.

It was during press for Yellowjackets that she reflected on how it was her role in The Addams Family that confirmed she wanted to stay in the acting industry. 

She told Collider: “I was 13 and spent seven months on the paramount lot [filming The Addams Family] and it was just such an incredible experience every day.

“At that time when you were a child actor everyone know that when you were 13 you basically had to stop acting because they cast adults to play teenagers. 

“I was walking through the lot and thought ‘you know what I’m going to really try to make this go past 13. If I could do this for the rest of my life, that would be really great.'”
Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.