The star sat down with Elle Fanning for Variety's 'Actors on Actors,' where she discussed impact of social media and gets emotional.
The 20-year-old star shared during Variety's latest "Actors on Actors" conversation with The Great's Elle Fanning that the upcoming season of the hit Netflix series would move away from romance and prioritize horror.
"It’s still coming together, but we’ve decided we want to lean into the horror more. Because it is so lighthearted, and a show like this with vampires and werewolves and superpowers, you don't want to take yourself too seriously," Ortega said. "We’re ditching any romantic love interest for Wednesday, which is really great. We’re going to get bolder, more dark."
Season 1 of Wednesday featured a mix of storylines for the eponymous heroine, which saw her navigating a new school for outcasts, Nevermore Academy; juggling, in her own way, a love triangle between Tyler and Xavier; and investigating a murder mystery.
As season 2 approaches, Ortega will be adding a producer title to her credits, which the actress said was "a natural progression" and has allowed her to take part in the process much earlier.
"With a character like Wednesday, who is so beloved, I didn’t want to get her wrong. So I tried to have as many conversations as possible. On set, with the writers and Tim [Burton]. We’d decide what works and what doesn’t. In preparation for a second season, we wanted to make sure that we could start the conversations earlier," she said, crediting the character for forcing her "out of [her] shell." "I’m just so curious: I want to see the outfits, new characters that are coming in, scripts and they were gracious enough to let me put the producer hat on."
Ortega and Fanning, both of whom began their careers as child actors, discussed the impact social media can have on a successful show and their love-hate relationship with it.
"It gets ugly," Ortega acknowledged after pointing out that her life shifted "three days after" Wednesday dropped on Netflix. "When I was younger, they would take us to media training -- Disney 101 or something like that -- where they would say, 'You’re going to post three times a day. This is how you build followers, engage, promote our show.' You could go into an audition or meeting, and it was 'How many followers do you have?'"
Fanning shared she "didn’t get a part once because I didn’t have enough followers. They’re like, 'You were great -- but your numbers.'"
Added Ortega: "Even after shooting Wednesday, when I was auditioning, they would come to my team: 'We like her, but we just don’t know if she has enough of a name.' And social media, what it does to anyone our age, it's such a comparing game. It influences bandwagon mentality. It's very manipulative. After the show, I'm really nervous to post or even say anything or even be myself..."
"Because I naturally tend to be sarcastic or dry, it’s very easy for me to find myself in trouble. I want people to be able to get to know the people behind the camera and realize that people should never be put on a pedestal. And the more I’ve been exposed to the world, people prey on that and take advantage of that. They see your vulnerability and twist it in a way that you don’t always expect," she explained, before starting to cry. "It’s so strange. Sorry, I didn’t mean to do this."
"It’s such a hard thing to balance," Ortega continued. "Because how do you be honest without jeopardizing your own health and safety? It’s very easy to feel almost out of control."