Showbiz is tough—but it sounds like it was especially rough on Jenna Ortega, the actress who played the Addams Family daughter on Netflix’s major hit series, Wednesday.
Speaking at a Q&A session hosted by Netflix on Thursday in Hollywood, Ortega detailed just exactly what she had to do—and learn—to play the psychic misfit of Nevermore, as Variety reports.
Besides the long hours of filming a full season of a television series, which is typically over five to six days a week, the young actor had to take lessons in multiple disciplines related to her character: cello, canoeing, fencing, and German lessons, to be specific.
“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,” Ortega told the audience. “Or show up to my apartment, my cello teacher was already waiting for me. 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 show was filmed over eight months in Romania, where Ortega got scant rest, as she would be busy preparing for scenes, at one point practicing “Paint it Black” on the cello when the piece is written to be played by two cellists.
“I did not get any sleep,” Ortega revealed. “I pulled my hair out. There were so many FaceTime calls that my dad answered of me hysterically crying.”
And then it got worse. Ortega choreographed her now-infamous viral dance scene herself and performed it during “my first day with Covid, so it was awful to film… I felt like I’d been hit by a car and that a little goblin had been let loose in my throat and was scratching the walls of my esophagus,” as NME reported. Staff administered medication to her between takes, she said.
But surely, all of that work was worth it: Just two weeks after its November 23 release, the show was the streamer’s third most-watched English-language series ever (behind Stranger Things and Squid Game). The series also set the platform’s record for hours viewed in its first week for an English language series, at over 341 million hours, overtaking the fourth season of Stranger Things which had 335 million hours.
One can only hope this next round of filming will be easier on Ortega— on January 6, Netflix announced that it had renewed Wednesday for a second season.
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