Jenna Ortega has a monster hit on her hands with Wednesday, the Addams Family spin-off that teamed her with no less than Tim Burton. The show quickly became one of Netflix’s most-watched shows, pulling in Stranger Things numbers. But shows tend to require longer hours than movies, and for its star — who not only had to be the lead but also had to learn how to do things like play the cello, fence, speak German, etc. — it wasn’t always fun.
“It was show up to set two hours early, do that 12- to 14-hour day, then go home and then get on a Zoom and have whatever lesson that I had,” Ortega said during a Netflix panel, as per Variety. “Or show up to my apartment, [and] my cello teacher was already waiting for me. It was just constantly going, and if you could on a weekend, if we weren’t shooting the sixth day that week, it was, ‘All right, well then, we’ll get your lessons in on that day.’”
The shoot lasted some eight months in Romania. Ortega singled out learning how to play cello, for a scene where she busts out The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” as particularly strenuous.
“I did not get any sleep. I pulled my hair out,” Ortega said. “There’s so many FaceTime calls that my dad answered of me hysterically crying.”
Eventually they started running out of time. Since Ortega’s character is in pretty much every scene, they had to start cutting corners, including during the cello scene.
“They had to start using stunt doubles or occasionally cello doubles if they didn’t have time to get hands,” she said, “but I was very adamant about being as well prepared as possible because I wanted them to be able to use myself, because that’s so much more believable if you could see your face.”
Luckily her director tried to calm her down. She said before shooting the cello scene, he tried to reassure her, telling her, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re going to do great. It’s gonna look great.”
Looks like it all worked out in the end, but it was still stressful. Indeed, Ortega revealed that she filmed her break-out dance scene while sick with COVID.