Jenna Ortega Shares Why She Initially Turned Down “Wednesday” Role

NETFLIX GARNERED A huge hit with the release of Wednesday in late 2022, but the series nearly had a completely different lead. Jenna Ortega, who stars as the show’s titular character, revealed to The Times that she had passed on the role of Wednesday when she was first cast.

“I got the email and passed on it,” Jenna said. The 20-year-old actor had grown tired of working on television series, and she wanted to switch gears. “I have done so much TV in my life,” she told the Times. “When I first started acting, I don’t want to say nobody believed in me, but at the same time, nobody believed in me. You have to prove yourself,” she added. Reminiscing on the change she had experienced, Jenna explained, “It’s only in the last three or four years that I’ve been able to start going up for film [roles]. I was scared that signing on to another television show could prevent me from doing other jobs I really wanted and cared about.”

Despite initially rejecting the series, the show’s executive producer and director, Tim Burton, ultimately convinced Jenna to say yes to the series. “The only reason I went back is because Tim is such a legend, and we just happened to get along very well,” she said. “But even then I said, ‘Ah, no—I think I’m OK,’ a couple [more] times.”

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Assistant Editor

Jasmine Washington is an Assistant Editor at Seventeen, where she covers celebrity news, beauty, lifestyle, and more. For the past decade, she has worked for media outlets, including BET, MadameNoire, VH1, and many others, where she used her voice to tell stories across various verticals. Follow her on Instagram.

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