Every now and then, pop culture will produce a star out of seemingly thin air, with Jenna Ortega being the latest icon to claim the Hollywood spotlight.
Of course, Ortega isn’t merely lucky in her success, appearing in countless middling TV shows and movies throughout the 21st century to secure her position in 2023, where, thanks to her success with the Tim Burton Netflix series Wednesday, she has become a popular screen starlet.
One of the many alumni of the Disney Channel, joining the likes of Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Keke Palmer, Selena Gomez and Zendaya, Ortega found her first taste of major success in 2016 when she became the lead star in the sitcom Stuck in the Middle. Ever since then, Ortega has quickly risen to become a major player in TV and film, becoming attached to an unusual amount of horror projects and simultaneously transforming into a modern-day scream queen.
“I love blood and guts. I love to run for my life,” Ortega told Rotten Tomatoes in a recent interview where the actor discussed her recent appearance in the Ti West movie X, a tribute to old-school horror and pulpy 1980s violence. Playing the character of Lorraine, a crewmember of a film production team making a porn film deep in the American countryside, Ortega joins such actors as Brittany Snow, Mia Goth and Kid Cudi.
Since her collaboration with West, Ortega has become the new face of the Scream franchise whilst also taking a role in the 2022 Foo Fighters horror Studio 666, building her reputation with each new release.
Though, despite her love of horror, only one terrifying flick is chosen for the list of her favourite movies, as discussed on the podcast 20 Questions: On Deadline with host Antonia Blyth. Opting for the Andrzej Żuławski movie Possession with Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani, Ortega gushes over the film’s quality, previously stating in a separate interview: “Not only is it hauntingly beautiful, but also unlike anything I’d ever seen before”.
In addition to the horror flick, Ortega names five of her other “favourite films right now,” picking out some surprisingly esteemed art movies, including Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day, Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place and Wim Wenders’ iconic 1984 film Paris, Texas.
In addition, Ortega also picks the 2010 Edgar Wright comic book hit Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring Michael Cera as a young man who falls in love with a mysterious woman, only to discover that to claim her love, he must battle her seven evil exes. Also featuring the likes of Chris Evans, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin and Brie Larson, the movie is considered something of a cult classic after failing to hit desired box-office numbers.
The final film on her list is the seminal 1993 Mike Leigh movie Naked, starring David Thewlis and Lesley Sharp. Something of dooming apocalyptic analysis of ‘90s London, Leigh’s film is a fascinating piece of narrative cinema, exploring the psychology of a homeless man who wanders the damp streets of the city searching for meaning like a ghostly spectre.
Take a look at the full list of Jenna Ortega’s favourite movies below.
Jenna Ortega’s favourite movies of all time:
- A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991)
- In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
- Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
- Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)
- Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright, 2010)