There was much going on with the choice of casting for the character who will be the title character of the brand new Netfilx show “Wednesday.” In addition to being able to perform a an eerie, creepy, intriguing, and spooky, the character of a raven-haired, pigtail-braided Wednesday Addams was to be given to a promising young actress capable of rising to the occasion of portraying the role of a character from an iconic series.
“It’s always a little bit daunting when you start a process with such legacy and storied roles around it,” casting director John Papsidera said in a interview with CNN.
The show brings back in The Addams Family world that is based on the cartoons created by Charles Addams and first aired on screen in the famous 1960s black-and white sitcom, and later in the well-loved early 90s films of Barry Sonnenfeld. In the new show Wednesday, the character is in a boarding academy called Nevermore Academy. Nevermore Academy where all manner of freaks and outcasts can wander around in freedom.
If you’re hoping for a humorous remake from “The Addams Family” – complete with the double-snap theme tune beware. The “teen-centric dark comedy,” according to the show’s creators Al Gough and Miles Millar It’s not a reboot however, it’s a deeper study and celebration of macabre and sharp-as-a-razor elder sibling of the Addams family.
In search of their ideal Wednesday Gough as well as Millar were able to collaborate with casting director Papsidera as well as Sophie Holland, among others via email CNN the fact that the “was always our intention to cast a Latina actress” for the role because they wanted to honour Gomez Addams’s culture. The character of the family patriarch Gomez was played in the 1960s by White actor John Astin in the “Addams Family” sitcom of the 1960s, he was played in the role of Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia in the Sonnenfeld films. The film “Wednesday,” Gomez is performed by veteran actor Luis Guzman, also from Puerto Rico.
The role of Wednesday’s daughter ended up going to teen Jenna Ortega (“Scream,” “You,” “X”) An actress from Mexican as well as Puerto Rican descent. Gough and Millar realized they were finding their Wednesday the moment they got to know Ortega and told her that they had found their Wednesday.
“I had talked about Jenna a lot in going into (the casting process),” Papsidera stated of Ortega. “It’s also a small group of women who are able to be the top choice on the call sheet , and also handle the pressure as well as being a professional by herself. When you start talking about a promising Latina actor, she is able to rise up the pile.”
Millar and Gough claimed that the show hired an Mexican designer in order to “help ensure that the scripts reflected Jenna’s specific heritage.”
“This generation is focused on authenticity. We took great care throughout this casting procedure,” the showrunners added. “We wanted to ensure that the Students attending Nevermore Academy were truly reflective of the current American society. The show is not just about regulars, but it’s about the range in casting throughout the whole show, including background actors.”
Another feat scored by members of the cast team “Wednesday” was to snag actress Christina Ricci, who timelessly was the actress in the films of Sonnenfeld, playing the part that she played Marilyn Thornhill. The casting team almost missed the opportunity because of Ricci’s busy work schedule as well as her commitment to her cult Showtime show “Yellowjackets.”
“It was really a lovely long game with Christina,” Papsidera stated. “We have always had conversations about her since the beginning. It wasn’t until the end of her schedule became available, and we then shifted our focus and Tim (Burton Director of “Wednesday”) got on the phone to talk to her, and the whole thing went according to plan.”
Ricci and Burton who marks his first venture into the direction of an upcoming television show in the new show, were previously co-producing”Sleepy Hollow” in 1999 “Sleepy Hollow.”
“I think the idea of working with Tim again was probably the biggest bonus in our camp,” Papsidera explained of her experience with the veteran actor. “I also think that she got the idea of participating in something that she loves too, that it was really special for everybody involved.”
“Wednesday” certainly wastes no time in honoring Ricci’s contribution to the character. Without going into too much detail the first episode, it includes a group of characters dressed as pilgrims that meet with an unlucky fate, bringing to mind Ricci’s memorable Thanksgiving scene from the 1993 film “Addams Family Values.”
“There’s a certain serendipity to the whole series in that way,” Holland said of landing Ricci. “It’s that it’s like everything happened at times in the very in the last second, or even when we were tearing our hair wondering, ‘We’re not able to locate this, we cannot locate this. Then something would click in the right spot. The whole thing will be clear once you’ve watched it all is that it all seems to work together as a Rubik’s Cube.”
“Wednesday” also stars Gwendoline Christie, Catherine Zeta Jones and Joy Sunday, among others.
The cast was with the guidance of Burton who Papsidera claimed had a clear view of the characters and the show.
“If anything, that’s where we all kind of started and ended our discussions – with what Tim saw and who he felt he was drawn to as these characters,” Papsidera stated.
In stepping into this established world, the aim was “try and reinvent what it is without throwing away the spirit of it,” the author said.
“There’s a certain amount of pressure because also…we are fans,” Holland added. Holland.
Holland declared that she was determined her franchise to “fulfill everybody’s needs and wants” and provide “proper care to what we do” in relation to the franchise.
“You would like to capture to capture the spirit of who the characters were originally but you want to present to present it in a fresh manner. That’s why it’s always a challenge and the reward after you succeed,” Papsidera said.