The actress takes on the titular role of Wednesday Addams in the recently-released Addams Family spin-off – though many fans have noticed that her intense stare is never accompanied by blinking.
Netflix recently confirmed that the idea came “after trying one take where [Ortega] didn’t blink”, which left director Tim Burton “so enamored with the result he told Jenna Ortega not to blink anymore when playing Wednesday. So she didn’t”.
The actress elaborated on the TODAY show: “She doesn’t blink. [Tim Burton] likes it when I tilt my chin down and look through my eyebrows, kind of like a Kubrick stare, and then I relax all the muscles in my face.”
She admitted that she “got kinda annoying about it on set”, adding that she “would have to restart a take if I started [blinking], because sometimes you start crying.
“[It was] Romanian winter, there was all this wind in my face,” Ortega recalled. “I learned to blink on other people’s lines.”
Wednesday follows the character as she attends a school for outcasts, and has already become a big hit for the streamer.
Last week it emerged that a character-defining line was almost cut from the series by Netflix, the moment in question seeing Wednesday’s roommate Enid (Emma Meyers) encourage her to “take a stab at being social”, Wednesday replying: “I do like stabbing.”
“That’s the whole point of the character,” co-creator Miles Millar told IndieWire. “To lose that or dilute that is a betrayal of the character.”
In NME‘s four-star review of the series, we said: “Wednesday ends up a rare spin-off success story. It’s creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky – and an absolute treat.”