Netflix’s Wednesday, a viral smash that cemented Jenna Ortega’s star in Hollywood, succeeds thanks to its very specific tone: The series transplants the kooky, traditionally flat character into a supernatural teen drama, allowing viewers to watch her amusingly squirm through the squishy emotional discomfort.
It wasn’t easy to strike that balance, at least according to Ortega during a recent podcast interview.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down on a set in a way that I had to on Wednesday,” the actress said this week.
“Everything that she does, everything that I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all.”
During her appearance on Monday’s Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, the host noted that Ortega and Wednesday had the “tiniest needle to thread” between viewer expectations for a teen show and actually staying true to the character.
As Ortega said during her interview, most of what Wednesday does in the series feels out of character. “Her being in a love triangle made no sense,” Ortega explained.
“There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a school dance, and she said, ‘Oh my God, I love it. I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’ And I had to go, ‘No.’”
At times, Ortega said, she took changes into her own hands. “I even became almost unprofessional in a sense—where I just started changing lines,” she told Shepard.