‘Wednesday’: Jenna Ortega Calls Tim Burton ‘a Sweetheart of a Creature’

Jenna Ortega wasn’t particularly interested in acting in TV shows before she joined the cast of the Netflix series Wednesday. After 10 years of being a professional actor, the 20-year-old had finally broken into the film world and was adding more movies to her ever-growing resume. However, when she learned that Tim Burton wanted to speak with her about portraying the iconic Wednesday Addams, she simply couldn’t turn down the meeting.

Jenna Ortega, Tim Burton and Hunter Doohan in 'Wednesday' series.
Jenna Ortega, Tim Burton, and Hunter Doohan in ‘Wednesday’ series | via Netflix

Jenna Ortega was Tim Burton’s first choice for the role of Wednesday Addams

Ortega had long since been a fan of Burton and his work. Turns out the accomplished director has been watching her as well. He thought she’d be the perfect fit for the pigtailed Addams daughter. Ortega admitted that she was taken aback that Burton even knew who she was, but she couldn’t pass up a chance to talk to him. Over zoom, the You alum auditioned for the role of Wednesday. The pair also talked about their unique visions for the character. And a few months after their conversation, Ortega officially joined the Wednesday cast.

The actor got candid about working with the director on ‘Wednesday’

But what was it like for Ortega to work with Burton on a day-to-day basis? Not only did the filmmaker serve as the director for the first four episodes, but he is also one of the show’s executive producers. This meant he and Ortega has a lot of interactions. Ortega admits that Burton is very quiet and mostly keeps to himself. However, the director was also very warm and respectful to the Wednesday cast and crew.

“He’s one of my favorite directors I’ve ever worked with,” Ortega shared about Burton. “I feel like I learned so much from him, and he was always happy to teach. What a sweetheart of a creature. I’m blown away by him. I don’t know what I anticipated, but after getting to know him, you couldn’t be nervous. He just wanted you to feel as comfortable and prepared to do whatever it was you were doing, which is wonderful.”

Ortega explains how meticulous Burton was

Burton may not say much, but Ortega shared that he’s also faithful to his vision. Describing the director as “intense and meticulous,” The Fallout actor recalled being two hours behind schedule because Burton felt that Wednesday’s braids hadn’t been perfected yet. Apparently, Burton has such a specific vision for the hairstyle that he ultimately crafted it himself.

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“He kept coming over and saying: ‘No, that’s wrong. No, this isn’t straight enough,'” Ortega recalled of Burton. “They were shaving the back of my neck to create the perfect line. They were cutting my hair on the day – there were hair and make-up artists cutting new extensions in the trailer as we were speaking and as we were shooting. He took a hairdresser’s comb and brushed my hair. He was taking apart my fringe one [hair] by one until it sat in the place he wanted it to sit. Then he hairsprayed it so that it wouldn’t move.”

Burton may have been new to directing TV, but it’s obvious that he knew what he wanted. And since Wednesday has become an instant hit for Netflix, clearly, his vision paid off.