Back in the early ’90s, Christina Ricci famously brought Wednesday Addams to life for two The Addams Family movies, not only cementing the impact of the creepy and kooky daughter, but also kickstarting Ricci’s career. Jenna Ortega is stepping into the shoes of the character for the upcoming Netflix TV series Wednesday, with Ortega recalling the experience of meeting Ricci, claiming that she nearly had a panic attack over the experience. Rather than this merely being a meeting between two performers, the encounter unfolded due to Ricci having a role in the project, with her involvement seemingly signaling a welcome passing of the torch. Wednesday premieres on Netflix on November 23rd.
“I felt like I was genuinely having a panic attack when I was told,” Ortega revealed to Empire Magazine. “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.”
The series is a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy. Wednesday’s attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.
Ortega went on to detail the challenges of taking on the role, as she wanted to honor the character yet not be doing an imitation of Ricci’s take on the figure.
“It’s really important to me that I wasn’t ripping anyone off,” the actor admitted. “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.”
Luckily, the nature of the story meant that audiences would be seeing Wednesday at a different age than we’ve seen in the past.
“We’ve never seen Wednesday as a teenage girl,” Ortega clarified. “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.”
Wednesday will premiere on Netflix on November 23rd.