Finding A Star For ‘Wednesday’ Who Epitomizes ‘Family’ Values ​​With His Own Kooky Twist


A lot was riding on the casting choice for the eponymous character of the new Netflix series “Wednesday.” Aside from someone who could act creepy, creepy, mysterious, and creepy, the role of raven-haired, pigtail-braided Wednesday Adams needed to go to a young actress who was more than capable of playing a character from such an iconic property. Able to rise to the occasion. ,

“It’s always a little challenging when you start a process with this kind of legacy and the roles surrounding it,” casting director John Papsidera told CNN.

The show marks a return to the world of the Addams family, based on cartoons by Charles Addams and first presented on screen in the black-and-white sitcom of the 1960s and later in the early 90s movies Was well liked. by Barry Sonnenfeld. In the new series, Wednesday finds herself at Nevermore Academy, a boarding school where outcasts and freaks of all kinds can roam free.

For those hoping for a fun take on “The Addams Family” — complete with the double-snap theme song — think again. This “teen-centric dark comedy”, as described by showrunners Al Gough and Miles Miller, is not a reboot, but a closer examination and celebration of the heady macabre and sharp-as-a-razor older sister of the Addams clan.

In their search for the perfect Wednesday, Gough and Miller worked with casting directors Papsidera and Sophie Holland, among others, and stated in an email to CNN that it was “always our intention to cast a Latina actress” for the role. , because they wanted to honor the legacy of Gomez Addams. While the family patriarch Gomez’s character was portrayed by white actor John Astin in the 1960s “Addams Family” sitcom, he was portrayed by Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia in the Sonnenfeld films. In “Wednesday”, Gomez is played by veteran performer Luis Guzmán, who is also from Puerto Rico.

The role of Wednesday’s daughter eventually went to teen it-girl Jenna Ortega (“Scream,” “U,” “X”), an actress of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. Gough and Miller knew he had found his Wednesday as soon as he met Ortega, he said.

Papsidera said of Ortega, “I talked about Jenna a lot in (the casting process).” “It is also a slim world of girls who can be number one on the call sheet and handle the pressure of that, and are accomplished in their own right. When you start talking about a young Latina actress, she’s on her way to the top.

Miller and Gough said that the show hired a Mexican creative consultant “to help ensure that the script reflects Jenna’s distinctive heritage.”

“This Generation is about authenticity. We were very intentional in every aspect of the casting process,” said the showrunner. “We wanted to make sure that Nevermore Academy students were truly reflective of modern American society. It’s not just about series regulars, it’s about the depth of casting throughout the series, including background extras.

Another coup by the casting team on “Wednesday” was to snag actress Christina Ricci, who portrayed the character timelessly. Sonnenfeld’s films, with a minor role as Marilyn Thornhill. It almost didn’t happen because of Ricci’s commitment to her schedule and her hit Showtime series “Yellowjackets.”

“It was really a lovely long game with Christina,” Papsidera said. “We always talked about him from the beginning. and it wasn’t until almost the very end that his schedule opened up, and then we went over there and Tim (Burton, director of “Wednesday”) talked to him on the phone and everything went well.

ricci and burton, Joe marks his first foray into directing a television series with the new series, having previously worked together on the 1999 film “Sleepy Hollow.”

“I think the idea of ​​working with Tim again was probably the biggest bonus in our camp,” Papidera said of landing the veteran actress. “I also think that the idea of ​​her participating in something that she also loves, that it was really special for everyone involved.”

“Wednesday” certainly wasted no time honoring Ricci’s contribution to the character. Without spoiling too much, the pilot episode features a group of people dressed as pilgrims who meet with a unfortunate fate, calling the mind Rikki’s memorable thanksgiving scene in 1993’s “Addams Family Values.”

“There’s a certain seriousness to the whole series like that,” Holland added about Ricci’s capture. “It seems like things sometimes come together at the last minute, sometimes when we were pulling our hair out saying, ‘We can’t find it, we can’t find it.’ And then something will lock into place. And the whole chain, what you’ll see once you look at the whole thing, is that it all kind of works together almost like a Rubik’s Cube.

also “Wednesday” Stars include Gwendoline Christie, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joy Sunday, among others.

The casting team worked under the direction of Burton, who Papsidera said had a clear vision for the show and the characters.

“If anything, we all started and ended our discussion with what Tim saw and what he felt he was attracted to as these characters,” Papsidera said.

He stated that the goal in entering such an established world was to “try and reproduce what it is without taking away the spirit of it”.

Holland said, “There’s a certain amount of pressure because … we’re fans too.”

Holland said she wanted to “meet everyone’s needs and wants” and “put the proper focus on what we do” with regards to the franchise.

“You want the essence of those original characters, but you want it in a new way. So it’s always the challenge, and the reward when you get to it,” Papidera said.

‘Wednesday’ is now streaming on Netflix.

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