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Jenna Ortega says she turned down ‘Wednesday’ role a ‘couple times’

‘The only reason I went back is because Tim [Burton] is such a legend,’ the actor said

By Hollie Geraghty

Jenna Ortega ‘Wednesday’ still
Jenna Ortega in ‘Wednesday’ (Picture: Youtube/Netflix).

Wednesday star Jenna Ortega has revealed that she almost didn’t play the titular role in the hit Netflix show, sharing that she turned down the job “a couple” times.

The US actor plays lead character Wednesday Addams in the show, directed and executed producer by Tim Burton, but has said that she didn’t “desperately” want the role when it was initially offered.

“I got the email, passed on it,” she said in a new interview with The Sunday Times. “The only reason I went back is because Tim [Burton] is such a legend, and we just happened to get along very well. But even then I said, ‘Ah, no – I think I’m OK,’ a couple [more] times.” 

The actor went on to explain that she wanted to pursue more big-screen roles over TV. “I had done so much TV in my life, all I’ve ever wanted to do is film,” she said. “I was scared that by signing on to another television show it could prevent me from doing other jobs I really wanted and cared about.”

She continued that it was only over the past few years that she had been able to “prove” herself to star in more ambitious film roles.

“When I first started acting, I don’t want to say nobody believed in me, but at the same time, nobody believed in me. You have to prove yourself,” she continued. “It’s only in the last three or four years that I’ve been able to start going up for film.”

Ortega’s comments come after she recently revealed that she became “almost unprofessional” with requesting script edits on Wednesday because she felt “very, very protective” of the character.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down on a set in the way that I had to on Wednesday because it’s so easy to fall into that category, especially with this type of show,” she said during a recent podcast episode of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.

“There was times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional, in a sense, where I just started changing lines. The script supervisor thought that I was going with something, and then I would have to sit down with the writers and they would be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I would to have to go through and explain why I couldn’t do certain things,” she said.

The actor most recently starred in Scream VI, while there are also talks about another team-up with Tim Burton in Beetlejuice 2.

In January, Lisa Loring – who played Wednesday Addams in the first screen adaptation of The Addams Family – died at the age of 64.