Jenna Ortega, the new Wednesday Addams, has shared her all-time favourite line from the show Wednesday, the latest take on the classic cartoon Addams family. The series premiered this month and has seen immediate success with fan reception.
In the show’s first episode, Wednesday enrols into the prestige Nevermore Academy and meets her new roommate Enid, played by Emma Myers. In the utmost opposites attract trope, Enid is everything Wednesday isn’t. She’s colourful, vibrant and optimistic, contrasting Wednesday’s darker and more stoic style. Once Wednesday’s shocked reaction to the room’s decoration is noted, her mother, Morticia, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, explains that Wednesday is “allergic to colour”.
Enid takes the expression seriously and asks Wednesday about her reaction. The Addams’s daughter replies: “I break out into hives, and then the flesh peels off my bones”. Actor Ortega told USA Today: “I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. I don’t know, maybe it’s the flesh. It really got me.”
Tim Burton, an artist more than familiar with the gothic visual and tone Wednesday needed, directed the show. Burton also co-created the show with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.
During an interview with NME, Ortega shared her reaction to being cast as Wednesday: “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to play such an iconic character. There were challenges along the way, but we wanted to make this an interesting new version [of Wednesday]”.
Ortega then mentioned a change to the Addams family seen in the show, as Puerto Rican actor Luis Guzmán plays family patriarch Gomez. In addition, Ortega, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, plays Wednesday. The Addams family being one of colour is something that hasn’t been seen in the portrayals before. “It was also really wonderful to make her Hispanic,” Ortega shared. “I think that was a really cool decision on Netflix’s part, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to [give something back to] young girls that look like me because it was definitely harder growing up without so many on-screen role models.”
This casting choice also makes this vision of Wednesday one of the few representations of people of colour who are part of the Gothic subculture.
You can stream Wednesday on Netflix now.