- “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega said she spent two days without sleep planning her viral dance scene.
- The actor said she choreographed the dance by herself and did extensive research for it.
- Inspiration for the dance included archived footage of goth teenagers dancing at clubs in the 1980s.
Jenna Ortega’s iconic dance in “Wednesday” was entirely her own choreography, and it took her 48 hours without sleep to put it together, she said during a recent late-night talk show interview.
Since its debut on Netflix in November, “Wednesday” has resonated hugely with young audiences. It beat out “Stranger Things” as the English-language series with the most viewing time, with over 400 million hours, according to The Independent.
A good chunk of that popularity is thanks to Ortega’s casting as the titular character of Wednesday as well as a now-viral dance she performs in episode four of the show, Insider previously reported.
But behind the scenes, much thought went into the unique performance, according to Ortega. During her appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, Ortega said she refused to work with a choreographer on the dance and spent days planning it by herself before it was shot.
“I’m not a dancer,” Ortega said. “I didn’t sleep for two days, I watched videos of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Denis Levant in “Beau Travail.”
Another source of inspiration for the dance, which was set to the song “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps, was archival footage of goth kids dancing in clubs in the 1980s, Ortega said.
The young actor said she only turned her attention to the dance after director Tim Burton reminded her it was coming up on the filming schedule.
“He came to my trailer about two days before we shot it and said ‘Hey Jenna, so I know you said you wanted to choreograph this yourself,'” she said. “He was like, ‘I know you got it, you’ve been working on it, I’m not even worried about it. I trust you.'”
Ortega said she told Burton it was all good, but said she wasn’t prepared for it at all due to how busy the filming schedule was. “I was doing cello that week, fencing that week,” she said. “I was kicking myself, I felt like such a fool.”
Earlier in December, the actor revealed she was sick with COVID when filming the scene. The star told NME that she had the virus during production.
“It was my first day with COVID so it was awful to film. Yeah, I woke up and — it’s weird, I never get sick and when I do it’s not very bad — I had the body aches,” Ortega said. “I felt like I’d been hit by a car and that a little goblin had been let loose in my throat and was scratching the walls of my esophagus. They were giving me medicine between takes.”
Ortega also noted that she hadn’t had a positive test result at the time, which is why she was still allowed on set.