This is the news Addams Family fans have been hoping for since the new Netflix series Wednesday was announced: Christina Ricci, the actor most closely associated with the title character, will be a major part of the live-action show from Tim Burton. Let’s give it a first look at Wednesday, premiering on Netflix November 23!
Christina Ricci, who starred as Wednesday Addams in the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed 1990s Addams Family feature franchise, is a series regular in Wednesday, which is headlined by Jenna Ortega in the title role, Deadline has learned.
Details about Ricci’s role are being kept under wraps to protect the surprise for fans. But Deadline revealed that she plays a new character and not an older version of Wednesday.
It seems Ricci was brought in following Thora Birch’s exit amid production.
Ricci is playing a new character, who is similar to the one originally played by Birch and will replace it on the show. Ricci quietly has been working on Wednesday for weeks; filming on the MGM-produced series is slated to wrap in Romania at the end of the month.
Burton’s coming-of-age comedy, described as a “sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery,” chronicles high school student Wednesday as she strives to perfect her emerging psychic ability while she juggles the complexities of relationships within Nevermore Academy.
Simultaneously, Wednesday tries to prevent a monstrous killing spree that’s taking over the local town, while attempting to uncover the supernatural mystery involving her parents that took place 25 years ago.
‘Wednesday’ EPs Say Netflix Series Retains That ‘Addams Family’ Humor
After being expelled from another school, “Wednesday’s going to Nevermore Academy,” says executive producer Al Gough — where her deeply-in-love parents, Morticia and Gomez (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán), met. But Wednesday isn’t there to make friends; she hopes her pal, the disembodied hand Thing (Victor Dorobantu), can help her point out a killer.
“Nobody stands out from the crowd like Wednesday Addams,” says executive producer Gough.
Along the way, she contends with bubbly roommate Enid (Emma Myers), antagonist principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie, with an “amazing Hitchcock-esque look,” teases EP Miles Millar), and a secret character played by Christina Ricci, who donned the pigtails in the ’90s flicks. The broody teen must also deal with psychic powers that force her to face her feelings.
“Wednesday has no fear of ax murderers, but she’s afraid of emotion,” Gough teases.
Despite that, adds Gough: “What really sets the show apart is that Addams Family humor.” You might even say she is a scree-am!
Jenna Ortega takes the lead as Wednesday Addams.
Catherine Zeta-Jones will play matriarch Morticia Addams and Luis Guzmán will play patriarch Gomez Addams. Rounding out the rather large cast include the following: Hunter Doohan (Your Honor, Truth Be Told), Georgie Farmer(Treadstone, The Evermoor Chronicles). Moosa Mostafa (Nativity Rocks!, The Last Bus), Emma Myers (Girl in the Basement, Taste of Christmas), Naomi J. Ogawa (Skylin3s), Joy Sunday(Dear White People, The Beta Test). Percy Hynes White (The Gifted, Pretty Hard Cases), Thora Birch (Ghost World, The Walking Dead), Riki Lindhome (Knives Out, Another Period) and Jamie McShane (Mank, Bloodline).
The eight-episode series hasn’t yet been given an official release date, but it’s expected to premiere on Netflix in 2022.
Jenna Ortega Had ‘Unspoken Agreement’ With Christina Ricci Never to Talk About Role
Jenna Ortega slips into the iconic shoes of Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s anticipated series, Wednesday, which also returns original star Christina Ricci — who played the heroine in the ’90s films — to the franchise in a new role. Presented with the unique opportunity to seek wisdom from Ricci, Ortega admitted that once they stepped onto set, their focus was on the present and not the past.
“I did not pick her brain,” Ortega told ET’s Denny Directo at the Wednesday virtual junket in October. “It was weird, it was like an unspoken agreement that we had. When we first locked eyes, we were just, ‘Let’s never talk about her.'”
“I don’t think I’ve ever really said the word, ‘Wednesday,’ around her actually until a couple of weeks ago,” the actress noted.
In the new Wednesday series, Ortega’s Wednesday 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 Academy.
Ricci plays a new character, Miss Marilyn Thornhill, who is an alum of Nevermore.
“It was scary,” Ortega said when asked what the experience was like being on set with the Yellowjackets star. “Because it’s like, she’s observing what it is, what you’re doing and it is one of her more popular characters and… she’s created quite the legacy to live up to.”
“And the show is very reminiscent of her take. It just goes to show that there’s respect there,” she acknowledged.
For Ortega, who starred in You and the Scream franchise, landing the role “felt like a fever dream.” The actress recalled going through the audition process while making the 2022 horror film, X.
“There were a lot of challenges because we’ve never seen her as a teenage girl before… We’ve never spent so much time with Wednesday as a character doing an emotional arc with someone who’s usually the one-liner, you know?” she said.
“It’s introducing the audience to a new version, a modern take. It’s a different world, it’s a different environment. We’ve never seen the Addams in this world before,” Ortega explained.
The actress described playing Wednesday throughout the eight episodes as “super fun.”
“I had never played a character that somebody else had played, so that’s where the intimidation comes up,” she said, adding that filming in Romania with a strict 9 p.m. curfew every night due to COVID protocols bonded the cast and crew even more.
“If I did leave, I’d go to our friend, [co-star] Georgie [Farmer]’s apartment on Saturdays. Like, you always knew something was happening at Georgie’s on Saturday,” she shared. When I wasn’t tired, if I didn’t have cello work, fencing or something to do, I’d go do that.”
“There are lots of Easter eggs and lots of detail,” creator Millar says
“There are lots of Easter eggs and lots of detail,” Millar says. “At one point, we had 30 different artists making different statues and gargoyles and elements. So in the quad, we have eight beautifully rendered gargoyles. And if you look at the arches, they’re actually designed as almost open mouth monsters in terms of the jaws. So much detail and so much thought has gone into every aspect of every set in terms of the color choices, the Easter eggs and also the sense of aging as well, really making sure that everything felt that it had been there for centuries. Nothing should feel new. Nothing should feel like it’s store bought. It all has to have a patina of age.”
And yes, Millar adds, “Tim designed the tree.”
“In the reflecting pool under the tree, there is a statue of Ophelia,” Millar continues. “So you see this figure who’s semi-submerged. So that’s something for people to look out for because you see it, but you don’t quite know what it is.”
Moving inside, we have Wednesday’s dorm room. “We love the idea of her being in this attic space,” Millar says. “So it feels very Gothic because of rafters.”
The focal point of the room is a spider web design on a stained glass window, and one that shows a clear separation between Wednesday and her roommate Enid (Emma Myers). “The window was in the script,” Gough says. “We really wanted to differentiate between Enid and Wednesday. So it felt like it was a great way to visually represent one side of the room and the other side of the room.”
European Launch Set at Lucca Comics Convention With Tim Burton in Attendance
Tim Burton’s “Wednesday” series starring Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams will have its European fan screening in Italy at Lucca Comics & Games with Burton attending the launch at Europe’s biggest geek meet.
Lucca Comics – which is an immersive cross-media event dedicated to pop culture, cosplay and comics held in the medieval Tuscan town of Lucca – has been chosen by Netflix as the venue for the European unveiling of the first “Wednesday” episode on Oct. 31.
Burton has executive produced and directed four of the show’s eight episodes, with Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall serving as additional directors. “Wednesday” is produced by MGM Television for Netflix.