Wednesday quickly became one of the biggest shows in the world when its first season on Netflix started smashing records last year. However, its leading star, Jenna Ortega, has revealed that she was initially very sceptical about taking on the role of the macabre teenager.
The 20-year-old star says she was at a stage of her career when she wanted to focus on making movies. “I had done so much TV in my life,” she told The Sunday Times, “all I’ve ever wanted to do is film.” After all, her TV career began at 13 when she was in Stuck in the Middle.
So, when initial contact was made, Ortega snubbed the offer. “I got the email,” she said, “passed on it.” However, director and creator Tim Burton was determined to get his first choice, so needless to say, a few more offers were made.
All the same, she turned down the role “a couple of times” over the course of the negotiations. “The only reason I went back is because Tim 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 times,” she said.
She also stated that part of her reluctance was not merely tied to wanting to get away from TV work, but also because she was unsure that the show would be a success. “I didn’t expect the reaction,” Ortega said, “So I thought it wasn’t going to be watched. That it will be a nice little gem that someone finds, but…”
Ortega claims that her fellow castmates also thought it wouldn’t be a big hit, but it has since defied all expectations. The show has since been confirmed for a second season on Netflix but no planned return date has been announced.