Iconic director Tim Burton is bringing back one of our favorite families — The Addams Family. His new series “Wednesday” is the updated version of the gothic family, centered on teenager Wednesday Addams, who will be played by none other than a Latina.
Jenna Ortega, the young Latina actress who rose to fame for her role as Harley Diaz in the Disney series “Stuck in the Middle,” has been signed on for the lead role in Burton’s highly anticipated series.
As explained by the Hollywood Reporter, Wednesday is an updated version of the Addams Family centered on Goth teenager Wednesday Addams. The series is billed as “a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy. 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.” As previously announced, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman guest-star as Wednesday’s parents, Morticia and Gomez.
Burton will direct and executive produce the eight-episode first season written by showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville”). The characters were created by cartoonist Charles Addams in 1938 and have had many adaptations over the years.
“A big part of the reason I signed on is because she’s technically a Latina character, and that’s never been shown or represented,” Ortega told Empire. “As someone who struggled, and still struggles to this day, with some sort of feeling of representation or relatability in mainstream media and film and television, I recognized this was an opportunity for me to… give that relatability to other girls like myself.”
Despite the character’s typically pale appearance in the various Addams Family adaptations, there has always been a hint of her Latino roots stemming from her heritage. As Screen Rant explained, while Morticia’s family tree is largely traced back to Salem, Massachusetts, it has been confirmed that the family patriarch, Gomez, is of Spanish descent and Castilian extraction, an element rarely explored but sometimes seen in previous castings, with Raul Julia in the 1990s Addams Family theatrical films and Oscar Isaac voicing the character in the recent animated films. In addition, John Astin, the actor behind Gomez in the ’60s series, helped create the character as a Latin lover type with series producer David Levy.
“Looking the way I do and having the cultural background I have, there aren’t many iconic characters out there,” Ortega concluded. “So when an opportunity like this comes up – she’s someone I’ve been compared to my whole life, just because of my humor and dry nature, so it just seemed fitting. I thought that would be a nice way to flex my muscles in a different way.”