Jenna Ortega Rejected A Line In Wednesday For Sounding Out Of Character

Jenna Ortega has a lot in common with Wednesday Addams. The actor might not have a disembodied hand as a sidekick, but she shares her character's love for the macabre, an aversion to color, and a dry sense of humor to match. With so many similarities, it's no wonder that Ortega constantly steals the show in "Wednesday." Of course, the Addams daughter is always a force to be reckoned with; pair her with the right actor and electricity is all but guaranteed.

Considering how well-loved past iterations of the Addams family have been, new actors are always faced with a big challenge: getting to the heart of their character without coming across as a knock-off. It's a careful balancing act. No one wants to look like they're ripping off Barry Sonnenfeld's '90s movies, which up until the release of Netflix's "Wednesday" were perhaps the most well-known version of the family. Anjelica Huston, who played Morticia Addams in the movies, even avoided watching the original '60s sitcom so she could come up with her own take on her character. Still, there is always the risk that if an actor goes too far in the other direction, their character will become unrecognizable.

Ortega did a pretty good job of handling the balancing act, but doing so took a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the show's creators, had to convince Netflix executives that Wednesday should remain a dark character. Even then, the final script had an uncharacteristically self-depreciating line that Ortega had to fight to cut — and the show is much better off for it.

Self-conscious about a dress

When you hear the name Wednesday Addams, 'fashion icon' might not be your first thought. But the "Wednesday" costume team put a lot of work into Jenna Ortega's look. Her most memorable outfit (other than her custom Nevermore uniform) is hands-down the black gown she wears to the Rave'n school dance — and in some ways, the dress was the perfect match for Wednesday.

The unapologetic frills aren't afraid to take up space, and you need a certain level of self-confidence to wear a black outfit to a party with an all-white dress code. Still, Ortega has revealed she had to fight against Wednesday making self-deprecating comments about the outfit:

"I remember there's a line where I'm talking about a dress, and she initially was supposed to say, 'Oh, my God, I'm freaking out over a dress, I literally hate myself.' And I was blown away because that sounded like I — it was just a bunch of little things like that."

"Freaking out" about clothing is stereotypically hyper-feminized behavior and Wednesday's the polar opposite of the classic girly girl, so it isn't hard to see how the line ended up in the script. Still, the 'I literally hate myself' bit is very much at odds with Wednesday's usual unapologetic confidence, and it's very frustrating that the line seems to dismiss femininity.

The line ultimately comes across as an "I'm not like other girls" type comment, but that trope is so rooted in sexism and self-consciousness that I can't possibly imagine it applying to Wednesday. If the line stayed in the scene, Ortega's Wednesday would've got too far in a new direction to be recognizable — or at least satisfying. By insisting that the line was cut, Ortega ensured that Wednesday stayed true to her roots.

The Wednesday actors know best

Incidentally, this wasn't the first time that a Wednesday actor fought to change an important part of the script. I won't include any plot details, but just know that Barry Sonnenfeld's "The Addams Family" originally had an unsatisfying ending. You can thank then-9-year-old Christina Ricci for the swap.

In a spoiler-filled interview with Screen Rant, Sonnenfeld revealed that the entire cast was frustrated by the movie's ending — and elected Ricci as their spokesperson. While it might seem counterintuitive to send a kid to the bargaining table, she proved to be a skilled negotiator:

"She came back to the table and said, 'We hate the ending. We won't do this ending.' I said, 'What do you mean?' And Christina went on with bullet points, like it was a PowerPoint presentation 30 years ago, explaining all the reasons why [the ending had to be changed] ... She was so articulate that [writers] Scott Rudin and Paul Rudnick and myself went, 'Jesus, we're gonna have to change this ending.' We did it because Christina was so articulate, and thank God she was because I think she's right."

At the end of the day, the original plans for both "Wednesday" and "The Addams Family" would've been incredibly frustrating. By speaking up, Ricci and Jenna Ortega helped to ensure that two more iterations of the Addams family would be a smashing success.

"Wednesday" is currently streaming on Netflix.