The Netflix show Wednesday created a new role for Christina Ricci. Ricci played Wednesday when she was a child in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values. Now, Jenna Ortega is Wednesday, but Ricci is Marilyn Thornhill at the Nevermore Academy. It was important to Wednesday creators Al Gough and Miles Millar not to just cast Ricci as Morticia now that she’s all grown up.
Christina Ricci | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Gough and Millar were guests on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top Five podcast on Oct. 28 to preview Wednesday. They explained the casting of Ricci and why they wanted to give her a new role. Wednesday premieres Nov. 23 on Netflix.
‘Wednesday’ creators knew fans would want to see Christina Ricci
Wednesday cast Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia, a character who only appears in two episodes the first season. For Ricci, Gough and Millar knew the ‘90s Wednesday Addams actor was too important for stunt casting.
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“Her schedule was definitely [complicated], because she was doing Yellowjackets, and she was pregnant at the time,” Gough said on TV’s Top Five. “She just had her second child I think last fall. But it was somebody we definitely wanted in the show. She’d obviously worked with [director] Tim [Burton] in Sleepy Hollow. Just to have that, again, it’s something we wanted to see so we had a feeling fans would want to see it as well, but we wanted to give her a role that was distinct. It wasn’t like oh, she was Wednesday, now she’s playing Morticia. To find something, and we were able to finally make the schedule work around Yellowjackets and everything else.”
Christina Ricci respected Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday
Since Wednesday is a teenager in the new show, Ortega was in somewhat new territory. Gough and Millar said Ricci respected that.
“She came and she’s great,” Gough said. “She was just really, really wonderful and just such a total pro, very excited to be involved and really loved what Jenna was doing with the role. Jenna was obviously very nervous because you’re having scenes with the actress who kind of created the modern Wednesday ethos that we all know. But Christina couldn’t have been nicer about all of it.”
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Millar added, “I think Jenna felt, not talking for Jenna, but it was definitely because Christina came in later, so Jenna was already established in terms of what she was doing. And I think she really wanted to make sure that it was distinct. I think Christina was incredibly respectful of that. I think Christina was really happy to be there. It was really great for her to work with Tim again.”
A history of uniting past and present casts
Millar also referred back to his previous show with Gough, Smallville. In their Superman prequel, they had Christopher Reeve guest star. The meeting of two Wednesday Addamses was just as iconic.
“This is such an iconic part of her career, playing Wednesday, that I think it was, for us, a dream come true to see the two Wednesdays together in a scene,” Millar said. “I remember we had Christopher Reeve come to Smallville. That was such a huge deal for us and for the fans of the show and Superman to see that legacy actors come back and pass the baton to the next generation. The fact it actually happened this season was just so fantastic.”
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