Wednesday: A character to inspire Latinas
Jenna Ortega, starring in 'Wednesday,' says her character is relevant to young Latinas seeking representation on television.
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Wednesday, directed by Tim Burton, is already one of the most watched shows on Netflix. Since its premiere on Nov. 23, the series starring Puerto Rican-Mexican actress Jenna Ortega has done nothing but grow in popularity.
In just two weeks, the new mystery comedy is already third on the list of the most popular English-language series in the history of Netflix (752,520,000 viewing hours), behind Stranger Things 4 and Monster: The Story by Jeffrey Dahmer. Since its premiere, the series has been viewed by nearly 115,000,000 households around the world. For the second week in a row, Wednesday was ranked #1 on the weekly Top 10 English-language series list and is #1 in 89 countries.
It is also the first time that the role of Wednesday (or 'Merlina' in Spanish) is played by a Latina actress.
“I've never played such a character before. So I think it was really important to me to establish a difference from performances that I've done in the past. But then also, she's been done so beautifully by people before me that it's really important that I do something fresh and different. We've never seen Wednesday as a teenage girl,” Ortega said in an interview with InStyle.
Ortega hopes her role will help reinforce the Latino presence and representation of talent from the community on television.
“Because growing up I did not have a lot of representation on screen. I remember for my fith birthday, I actually asked my mom for a box of blonde hair dye because I wanted to dye my hair blonde so that I could look like Cinderella. If you do not have someone that could relate to on screen or somebody that’s telling your story, it can be very discouraging. To take someone like Wednesday who has such a large platform, I think it’s really important for not only everyone to see it but then also for young girls out there like me that just want to be seen," said the 20-year-old, who started her career when she was only nine and is known for her performances in Disney productions and also in films such as Iron Man 3, The Fallout, Song bird, The Babysitter: The Killer Queen, and Scream 5.
The main cast of the eight-episode series also features two other Latino actors — Isaac Ordonez (as Pugsley Addams) and Luis Guzmán (as Gómez Addams).
"I think that we as Latinos we are a big driving force in the entertainment industry and I think it’s more important, more than ever, that we as artists get more exposure. ‘Cause we do not only watch novelas, people," said Guzmán, who plays Gómez Adams, father of Wednesday and Pugsley, and husband — in fiction — of Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays the role of Morticia Addams.
What to know about Wednesday
The production recounts the life of Wednesday and focuses mainly on her adolescence at Nevermore Academy. Wednesday's attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.