Jenna Ortega: The ‘new’ Wednesday Addams actress - and where you’ve seen her before

Jenna Ortega portrays Wednesday Addams in Netflix's new spin-off 'Wednesday'

A close up of Jenna Ortega portraying Wednesday Addams with a dark purple background
(Image credit: Netflix)

The official trailer for Netflix's new series 'Wednesday' - a reimagining of The Addams Family - has finally arrived, leaving many wondering who is the new Wednesday Addams actress, Jenna Ortega?

Netflix has released some hugely popular shows so far this year, from Virgin River season 4 (opens in new tab) and coming-of-age rom-com Never Have I Ever (opens in new tab), to the new page-to-screen adaptation The Sandman (opens in new tab).

And now, TV lovers have something new to look forward to, as Netflix has started promoting the eagerly awaited Wednesday. Directed by Tim Burton, the new TV series follows Wednesday Addams' arrival at a new school, Nevermore Academy. Following the release of the trailer, fans are eager to know more about Wednesday Addams actress Jenna Ortega, and where they might have seen her before.

Who is Jenna Ortega - the ‘new’ Wednesday Addams actress? 

Jenna Ortega is a 19-year-old actress from Coachella Valley, California, born on 27 September 2002. Her father is Mexican American and her mother is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. Ortega started acting from a young age, appearing in Iron Man 3 and Insidious: Chapter 2 in 2013, but her role as Wednesday Addams is her debut in a title role.

Ortega is perhaps best known for her role as Young Jane in Jane the Virgin, or her portrayal of Ellie Alves in season 2 of Netflix's hugely popular TV series You, but aside from her acting career, Jenna Ortega uses her platform to speak openly about causes she cares about. On her Twitter (opens in new tab) she has expressed support for the people of Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and more with a thread of resources for those wanting to help, and on Instagram (opens in new tab) she includes a link to Planned Parenthood in her bio.

Jenna Ortega: Movies and TV shows

  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous - Brooklyn
  • Big City Greens - Gabriella
  • Scream - Tara Carpenter
  • The Fallout - Vada Cavell
  • The Babysitter: Killer Queen - Phoebe
  • Elena of Avalor - Princess Isabel
  • You - Ellie Alves
  • Jane the Virgin - Young Jane
  • Stuck in the Middle - Harley Diaz
  • Richie Rich - Darcy
  • Rake - Zoe Leon
  • Insidious: Chapter 2 - Annie

When was Jenna Ortega cast as Wednesday Addams?

Jenna Ortega was cast as Wednesday Addams in May 2021. The casting was announced by Netflix, and on the same day Ortega posted a photo of herself on Instagram posing with a copy of the Wednesday script.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), Ortega spoke about the challenges of her new role. "We've never seen [Wednesday] as a teenage girl," she explained. "It's funny and sweet and almost charming to hear this eight-year-old's obsession with murder and blood and guts. As she gets older, that nasty attitude or [those] biting remarks, it's almost kind of hard to not make it sound like every other teenage girl."

She added: "Also, it's an eight-hour series so, for an emotionless character, there has to be some sort of an emotional arc. That's been really interesting to figure out in terms of, okay, well, she's got to be able to push the story forward in some way but how do we keep her true to her deadpan self?"

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In the past, the role of Wednesday Addams has been played by a number of different actresses. The character was first created by cartoonist Charles Addams, but Wednesday wasn't given her name until the live action tv series in 1964, when she was played by Lisa Loring.

Perhaps the most well-known portrayal of Wednesday to date was by Christina Ricci in the 1991 move The Addams Family, but the role has also been taken on by Nicole Fugere in The New Addams Family and Chloë Grace Moretz voiced an animated Wednesday Addams.

Christina Ricci has revealed that she will be appearing in the new Wednesday series, though her exact role is being kept a secret.

Wednesday on Netflix - other cast members 

  • Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia 
  • Luis Guzmán as Gomez 
  • Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley
  • George Burcea as Lurch
  • Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems
  • Riki Lindhome as Dr. Valerie Kinbott
  • Percy Hynes White as Xavier Thorpe
  • Tommie Earl Jenkins as Mayor Walker
  • William Houston as Joseph Crackstone
  • Murray McArthur as Fabian

Speaking to Vanity Fair, showrunners Miles Millar and Alfred Gough revealed they wanted the characters in the new series to mirror Charles Addams' cartoon rather than the '90s film adaptations. "[Gomez is] also incredibly debonair and romantic, and I think he has all those classic ingredients of the Gomez that we've seen come before, but he brings something also very different," said Millar.

He added: "That's something that was very important to the show—that it didn't feel like a remake or a reboot. It's something that lives within the Venn diagram of what happened before, but it's its own thing. It's not trying to be the movies or the '60s TV show. That was very important to us and very important to Tim [Burton]."

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Wednesday on Netflix - release date

Netflix has not confirmed the exact date that Wednesday will be released, only that it is due to premiere in fall 2022, which will be just in time for Halloween.

What we do know is that there will be eight one-hour-long episodes for fans to enjoy the reimagining of Wednesday's teenage years. 

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