Jenna Ortega reveals why she ‘put her foot down’ on Wednesday set: ‘I became almost unprofessional’

Jenna Ortega is set to star in Beetlejuice 2 as Winona Ryder's daughter (Getty)

Wednesday star Jenna Ortega had to “put her foot down” to save the script and her character in the hit Netflix show.

The series traces the origin story of Addams Family member, Wednesday, as she’s forced to navigate boarding school and love with her bespoke grumpy demeanour, while solving a murder mystery.

The show was an instant success, becoming the second-most streamed English-language series on the platform and getting the green light for a second season.

Although there has been no official confirmation on whether Ortega will be an executive producer, there are strong rumours to that effect. Speaking on the Armchair Expert podcast, she shared the battles she fought to make Wednesday the character we know and love.

“When I first signed on to the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it was going to be a lot darker. It wasn’t… I didn’t know what the tone was, or what the score would sound like,” she said.

Wednesday with one half of her love triangle Tyler.
Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) with Tyler (Hunter Doohan). (Netflix/Vlad Cioplea)

“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. Everything [she] does, everything I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all. Her being in a love triangle? It made no sense.”

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Ortega is referring to the heavily criticised plot decision to thrust Wednesday into a love triangle with fellow student Xavier (Percy Hynes White) and Tyler – played by out gay star Hunter Doohan – who is the son of the local sheriff.

Fans believed that the dynamic felt forced and that it would have been better to either keep her away from any romance plots or set her up with someone she actually had chemistry with, such as sparky werewolf roommate Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers).

However, that wasn’t the only part of the script with which Ortega had an issue.

She continued: “There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a school dance and she says, ‘Oh my God, I love it. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’ I had to go, ‘No.’

“There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines.

“The script supervisor thought I was going with something, then I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I’d have to explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”

Jenna Ortega’s plan was to lift Wednesday away from being the stereotypical morbid teen with no emotional character growth.

Emma Myers as Enid (L) and Jenna Ortega as Wednesday (R). (Netflix)
Enid (Emma Myers) and Wednesday (R). (Netflix)

“I grew very, very protective of her,” Ortega said. “You can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you. When you are little and say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s nasty and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.”

It’s something she echoed when speaking to Interview Magazine . “[Director Tim Burton] did not want me to have any expression or emotion at all. He wanted a flat surface, which I understand. It’s funny and great except when you’re trying to move a plot along, and Wednesday is in every scene.

“There were a lot of battles like that because I felt like people didn’t always trust me when I was creating my path in terms of, ‘OK, this is her arc. This is where she gets emotional.'”

Ortega, 20, is slowly getting production experience under her belt, having just wrapped working as executive producer and filming romantic comedy Winter Spring Summer or Fall which is yet to be given a release date.

And during an interview with Elle she reiterated her aversion to including romance plot lines in her work.

“I hate being googoogaga over a boy,” she said. “I think it’s secretly a pride thing. It’s a problem with a lot of female characters, that a lot of them are guy-oriented or what they’re expressing or emoting is based on a guy’s position and a guy’s story.”

Given that Ortega’s influence is only likely to increase in the second season, fans are hoping this means there is still a chance for Wenclair (Enid and Wednesday) to become a reality.

Both Ortega and Myers have previously said they love the idea of the two of them getting together.