Jenna Ortega ‘Hysterically’ Cried Over Rigorous ‘Wednesday’ Filming Schedule: ‘I Did Not Get Any Sleep. I Pulled My Hair Out’
Jenna Ortega had a lot to learn in order to portray “Wednesday” in the hit Netflix series of the same name, from fencing to speaking German to canoeing and playing the cello.
Speaking at a Netflix-hosted Q&A panel in Hollywood on Thursday, the SAG-nominated actor broke down just how intense the filming schedule was.
“It was show up to set two hours early, do that 12-14 hour day, then go home and then get on a Zoom and have whatever lesson that I had. Or show up to my apartment, my cello teacher was already waiting for me,” Ortega said. “It was just constantly going, and if you could on a weekend, if we weren’t shooting the sixth day that week, it was ‘All right, well then, we’ll get your lessons in on that day.’”
The actor said she had started fencing and cello lessons a couple of months prior to filming, continuing during the eight-month shoot in Romania. She said the “Paint it Black” cello sequence was particularly difficult to master, as she had to switch teachers when moving abroad and accurately depict a piece made for two cellos with only one.
“I did not get any sleep. I pulled my hair out,” Ortega said. “There’s so many FaceTime calls that my dad answered of me hysterically crying.”
Ortega put pressure on herself to not let down cellists watching the show, despite “Wednesday” director and executive producer Tim Burton assuring her, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re going to do great. It’s gonna look great,” the actor said.
“I didn’t know where my hands were even supposed to go and then I had to make two cellos come out of one cello, which was ridiculous,” Ortega said.
The star wanted to film as much action as Wednesday as possible, but as the show’s filming neared its end, time constraints got in the way. “We started running out of time because Wednesday’s in pretty much every scene,” Ortega said. “They had to start using stunt doubles or occasionally cello doubles if they didn’t have time to get hands, but I was very adamant about being as well prepared as possible because I wanted them to be able to use myself, because that’s so much more believable if you could see your face.”
These revelations follow Ortega’s sharing in December 2022 that she’d had COVID while shooting the iconic Wednesday dance that went viral on TikTok.
In the eight-episode first season, viewers saw “Addams Family” daughter Wednesday’s journey at Nevermore Academy, navigating relationships as she honed her psychic ability, solved a supernatural mystery and even foiled a killing spree.
“Wednesday” has been a smash hit for Netflix. After its Nov. 23 release, the series set the platform record for hours viewed in its first week for an English language series at over 341 million, overtaking “Stranger Things 4” at 335 million. In its first 28 days, the series racked up over 1.2 billion hours viewed.
It announced that the show had been renewed for its second season Jan. 6.
Ortega said she was no idea what will happen in the second season, or when it will start production, but she said that the writers’ room is “very fresh.” As far as what she wants to see in the second season of “Wednesday,” Ortega said she would rather it focus less on love triangles, which “was a weird thing to justify,” and instead “just focus on her and her experiences.”
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