Bringing a role to life. Netflix’s Wednesday put a lot of work into creating Nevermore Academy — which includes transforming the show’s actors into completely different people.
The supernatural series, which premieres in November 2022, introduces a coming-of-age mystery that focuses on Wednesday Addams as she attempts to master her psychic powers, solve a killing spree in town and adjust to life at a new school.
Wednesday, which includes several episodes directed by Tim Burton, is based on the character originally introduced in The Addams Family cartoons. The concept later was adapted into a TV series, several feature films and a live musical adaption. (It has since been rebooted in several different mediums.)
According to Jenna Ortega, bringing the iconic role to life included the “most physical transformation” she has ever gone through.
“I cut my hair, and it’s black, and mannerism-wise, speaking cadence-wise, expression-wise, I’m trying to pull from a different toolbox this time around. I think it’s a surprise to the audience, but myself as well,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in January 2022. “I’ve never felt so much pressure on a job, and I’m trying to keep my cool.”
Ortega later opened up about getting to work on her own iteration of Wednesday. “She’s already been played to perfection in the past so there’s nothing I can do to better,” she told Extra in March 2022. “I’ve really worked on not ripping anybody off and kind of creating my own thing.”
The California native continued: “And the thing about this Wednesday is because it is an eight-hour-long series, we’ve never spent so much time with her before. She’s always been the one-liner and, you know, the one-off. So it’s really interesting getting to know her to create more dimension to her as an individual but also giving an emotional arc for a character that doesn’t really have any emotion.”
Ortega recalled an example of Burton’s “detailed-oriented” approach to her transformation, adding, “I have these bangs on my hair, on my head, and the first day of filming, he spent 10 minutes with the hairdresser’s comb plucking each and every strand until it looked the way he wanted it to look, and then he hair sprayed it like crazy.”
Christina Ricci, who previously played Wednesday Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family and its subsequent sequel, Addams Family Values, hinted at the different role she got to play in the series. “It was super fun. I was really excited to work with Tim again,” she exclusively told Us Weekly in October 2022. “Jenna is so amazing and so good in this part and was so great to work with. And so it was really lovely.”
Scroll down to see what the stars of Wednesday look like in real life: