As Jenna Ortega receives acclaim for her role as Wednesday Addams in the new Netflix series Wednesday, fans can’t help but ask who played the iconic role best – Ortega or Christina Ricci?
The latest in a long lineage of Addams Family incarnations has fans purring. Ever since The Addams Family was created by American cartoonist Charles Addams in the New Yorker Magazine in 1938, the franchise has had a very particular hold on popular culture. After the success came the original 1964 TV show, video games, academia, and goth subculture as a whole.
At the heart of Addams Family iconography is Christina Ricci and her 1991 role as Wednesday Adams in the first feature film adaptation. Ricci’s performance spawned countless Halloween costumes and has gone down as an endearing image of 90s cult cinema.
So when the news first hit that Jenna Ortega was cast in the iconic role, fans asked whether she would be able to pull it off.
Jenna Ortega assumes Ricci’s mantle
In an interview with the New York Times, Ortega detailed her trepidation at taking the role.
“I definitely had hesitations about doing it,” she said. “I’d already been there and done that with teen shows.
She already felt the added weight of the Addams Family franchise also bearing down upon her. But after much deliberation, it seems her decision to take the role Ricci made famous was a master stroke.
Reviews of Ortega’s performance have been unanimously positive, even if the show as a whole has left some reviewers wanting more. Ortega’s performance has been compared positively with Ricci’s. Fans were even treated to a face-to-face scene between the two as Ricci plays new character Marilyn Thornhill, Wednesday’s teacher.
One Twitter user couldn’t contain their excitement at the two crossing paths.
Jenna has nothing but respect for Ricci
Jenna has recently spoken of her respect for Ricci.
She stated: “Christina Ricci is a legend, the character wouldn’t have been as big if it hadn’t been for her performance”.
Yesterday, Ortega posted a picture on her Instagram of herself with Ricci and director Tim Burton. Burton is helming four episodes.
Burton’s idiosyncratic direction helps create a new path for the character. In the words of co-star Percy Hynes White “If you’re expecting a reboot or a remake, it’s not that, I think it really is like a Tim Burton show, that has The Addams Family as sort of a base level to work off of and to build a story off of.”
Ricci heaps praise on Ortega’s Wednesday
Meanwhile, Christina also heaped praise on Jenna.
She’s said: “She is such a competent adult actress. She does not need me telling her how to do anything.”
Ricci added: “She’s so wonderful.”
It’s clear that whilst fans may be comparing and contrasting the two performances, neither actress feels a sense of competition between themselves.
It’s safe to say that each Wednesday has brought something different to the role. Ricci’s introduced the character’s dry humour, cold heart and dark hobbies.
Whereas, Ortega’s Wednesday has evolved somewhat. Fans now see a softer side, a small opening into her psyche and viewers could argue, in some scenes, an emotional response. It’s an updated and present day Wednesday that fits the modern-day reboot.
It’s exactly what we craved – but we never knew we did.