There are few actors whose characters have become synonymous with their names. Christopher Reeve will consistently be recognized as Superman, Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman, and Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams.
So, when Netflix chose to revive The Addams Family series, which Charles Addams founded in 1938 as single-panel animations, it felt logical to include Ricci in some capacity, according to writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar in an interview with Newsweek.
In The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), Ricci brought Wednesday Addams to life for the first time. Now, 20-year-old Jenna Ortega is immortalizing the role of Wednesday on television.
Who Does Christina Ricci Play in ‘Wednesday’ on Netflix?
On Wednesday, Ricci, age 42, encounters her successor many times as she assumes the post of teacher at Nevermore Academy, Wednesday Addams’ new school. After utilizing shady ways to defend her brother from his bullies, the 15-year-old enrolls in a school for students with extraordinary abilities.
Marilyn Thornhill is the name of Ricci’s character, although unlike the pupils and teachers of Nevermore Academy, Ms. Thornhill has no special abilities or powers. In one episode, headmistress Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie) reveals that she is a “normie,” or typical human.
This is not the first time Gough and Millar have recruited a franchise’s most recognized actor to play a new role opposite their successor. Christopher Reeve, who played Superman, played Dr. Virgil Swann alongside Tom Welling’s Clark Kent in their sitcom Smallville.
“When you undertake anything like this, you want the blessing of the great actor who originated the part,” remarked Gough. “Similar to when Christopher Reeve starred in Smallville. You desire a seal of approval.”
Gough, referring to Ricci, added: “She enjoyed the writing immensely. She adored this rendition of it. She only wanted to be a part of it, even though the plot was completely different from her version ” Moreover, she had an excellent rapport with Tim Burton, who helmed four episodes of the show. Together, they had performed Sleepy Hollow, and she was game. She was an exceptional professional who gave her all and was a pleasure to work with.”
Thornhill teaches botany at Nevermore, but she is constantly there to encourage Wednesday during her first year of school. Gough and Millar felt Ricci’s confidence in Ortega’s ability to portray the character.
“It was great to witness Jenna and Christina in the same scene as their renowned characters, a true passing of the torch from one generation to the next,” added Millar.
“But, yeah, [Ricci] was extremely excited and willing to do anything on set, so it was great, simply the timing worked out brilliantly in terms of her availability and the character she responded to, […] you hope for these things, and then they occur.”
“This is one of those shows where everything we could have hoped for occurred. Catherine Zeta-Jones was enlisted to play Morticia. We have an Oscar-winning actress with such a captivating screen presence as Morticia Addams, and it’s just… it’s impossible to find a better fit, “Millar added.
“And Luis [Guzmán] as Gomez as well, we adored the notion of bringing it back [to the comics] to be more faithful to the original Addams Family pictures, the New Yorker magazine cartoons. Gomez’s silhouette resembles Luis’s, and having the entire family together is simply fantastic ” We had a photo shoot with Catherine, Luis, and Pugsley’s actor, Isaac [Ordonez], so we’re just making sure we keep loyal to the Charles Addams cartoons.”
Wednesday is currently accessible on Netflix.