Actors can get very protective over roles.
Wednesday is an undeniable hit for Netflix. One of the biggest shows in recent memory. It drew in over a billion hours of watch time for the streamer and catapulted Jenna Ortega into superstardom. From the classic dance to the quippy one-liners, the show is a delight for all ages.
Now, we’re getting a bit of a peek into how the character of Wednesday was crafted by the writers and by Jenna Ortega.
On a recent episode of Armchair Expert, Ortega spoke about how she changed many of the original scripts for the show based on how she viewed the character’s perspective. These were mostly dialogue changes but happened without consulting the show’s writers.
Ortega said, “When I first signed onto 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.”
So, Ortega took it upon herself to make the alterations.
“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,” she said. “Everything that Wednesday 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. 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.’”
That wasn’t the only change Ortega made.
“There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines,” Ortega said. “The script supervisor thought I was going with something and 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 go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”
Obviously, making TV or movies comes with collaboration. Actors, directors, writers, and other crew members are working together to all create something special. While Ortega said she did things without the writers, it sounds like there was an eventual sit-down where the two parties sorted things out.
If you’re a budding actor, my bossy advice would be to get ahead of this by talking to the writers before the scene shoots, so everyone on set can be on the same page, especially since shooting delays can drive up costs and affect people’s jobs.
Ortega continued to talk about why the changes were made, stating, “I grew very, very protective of [the character],” and continuing, “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 sounds like there were some issues with tone. We’ll never really know what happened behind the scenes when it comes to adjusting this story. All we know is that audiences love the take that made it to screen and are excited for what future seasons bring.
Let me know what you think in the comments.