The 20-year-old actor leads Netflix’s hit comedy-horror series as Wednesday Addams.
Since the show’s November 2022 release, it’s become the streamer’s second biggest English-language series ever.
However, before it went on to shatter streaming records, its early scripts apparently needed a lot of editing, according to Ortega.
“When I read the entire series, I realised, ‘Oh, this is for younger audiences,’” Ortega told Dax Shepard on a recent episode of his Armchair Expert podcast.
“When I first signed onto the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it was going to be a lot darker. It wasn’t… I didn’t know what the tone was, or what the score would sound like.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on Wednesday,” she added.
The actor went on to explai that “everything that Wednesday does, everything I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all”.
“There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a school dance and she says, ‘Oh my god I love it. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’ I had to go, ‘No.’ There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines,” Ortega continued.
“The script supervisor thought I was going with something and then I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I’d have to go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”
Ortega shared that she had grown “very, very protective” of Wednesday. “You can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you. When you are little and say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s nasty and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.”
The streamer’s loose adaptation of Charles Addams’s iconic cartoon creation follows daughter Wednesday as she attempts to master her emerging psychic powers, prevent a killing spree and solve the mystery that had entangled her parents 25 years ago.