Jenna Ortega reveals she had COVID while filming Wednesday

Jenna Ortega was sick when she was filming Wednesday’s iconic dance scene

Jenna Ortegas as Wednesday Addams in Netflix's Wednesday

Wednesday, a spinoff of The Addams Family, is Netflix’s latest hit. Released in November 2022, the comedy horror series has been positively received by critics and audiences alike. The producers of the show, however, found themselves in hot water when the titular star of the program, Jenna Ortega, revealed that she actually had COVID-19 while filming one of the most-talked-about scenes from the series’ freshman run.

The highly raved scene in question is Wednesday Addams’ (Ortega) dance routine in season 1, episode 4 (Woe What a Night), where the 16-year-old psychic stuns her date, Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan), with her eccentric dance floor moves to Goo Goo Muck, with her face remaining completely deadpan throughout her performance.

Soon after Wednesday dropped on Netflix, fans of the show started to recreate Ortega’s dance performance in TikTok videos — a response that the actress didn’t expect as she was the only one who choreographed the scene.

“I actually felt really insecure about this,” Ortega said in a behind-the-scenes video uploaded by Netflix on YouTube. “I choreographed that myself and I think it’s very obvious that I’m not a dancer or a choreographer.”

Jenna Ortega and the cast of Wednesday React to the Dance Scene | Netflix

A couple of days after Wednesday premiered, Ortega revealed in a tweet that she had studied archival footage of goths dancing in clubs in the ‘80s for the dance scene. She also mentioned watching clips of Lisa Loring, who played Wednesday in the 1960s The Addams Family sitcom, as part of her preparation for her dance routine.

But the well-celebrated scene has become controversial when her interview with NME prior to the show’s debut resurfaced. In the interview published on November 10th, 2022, Ortega revealed that she actually had COVID-19 while filming her dance performance.

“It’s crazy because it was my first day with COVID so it was awful to film,” the actress said at the time. “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. 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 because we were waiting on the positive result.”

The actress added, “I asked to redo it but we didn’t have time. I think I probably could have done it a bit better…”

Despite the shocking revelation, MGM, one of the production studios behind Wednesday, confirmed to NME that “strict COVID protocols were followed and once the positive test was confirmed production removed Jenna from set.”

Fans are naturally horrified by Ortega’s confession, with many of them criticizing the producers of the show, including Tim Burton who directed the episode, for allowing Ortega to work when she didn’t feel well and putting everybody on the set at risk. Check out some of the fan reactions to the controversy in the Reddit posts below:

While most fans didn’t blame Ortega for the unfortunate incident, some of them took issue with how the actress shared the story, arguing that she appears to be glorifying “grind culture.”


Although Wednesday became the third-most watched English-language Netflix series within two weeks of its release, the streaming service has yet to renew the series for a second season.

Who is Jenna Ortega?

Jenna Ortega is an American actress. Best known for her role as Wednesday Addams on Netflix’s Wednesday, Ortega started her career in the entertainment industry as a child actress, receiving praises for her role as young Jane on The CW comedy-drama series Jane the Virgin.

Ortega’s first major breakthrough came when she landed the role of Harley Diaz on the Disney Channel series Stuck in the Middle. She won an Imagen Award for her performance in the family comedy series, which aired for three seasons from 2016 to 2018.

Jenna Ortega as Harley Diaz in Disney Channel's Stuck in the Middle
Jenna Ortega as Harley Diaz in Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle

Ortega also received critical praise for her performance as Vada Cavell in the 2021 teen drama The Fallout and went on to star in two slasher films in 2022: X and Scream. Her other notable roles include Ellie Alves in season 2 of the Netflix thriller series You and Princess Isabel in the Disney animated series Elena of Avalor.

Jenna Ortegas as Vada Cavell in The Fallout
Jenna Ortegas as Vada Cavell in The Fallout

Ortega will be next seen in Scream 6, which is set to be released in 2023, and in the crime thriller Finestkind and in the comedy-drama Miller’s Girl. The last two movies don’t have a release date yet.

How old is Jenna Ortega now?

Jenna Ortega is currently 20 years old. She was born on September 27th, 2022 in Coachella Valley, California.

Is Jenna Ortega Filipino?

While Ortega is a common surname in the Philippines, Jenna Ortega is not Filipino. Her father is of Mexican descent and her mother is of Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry.

Did Jenna Ortega actually play the cello in Wednesday?

At the end of the first episode of Wednesday, we saw Wednesday playing the cello on the rooftop of Nevermore. But did Jenna Ortega actually play the instrument for the scene?

In an interview with Wired, Ortega shared that she started taking cello lessons twice a week, two months before filming for Wednesday began, so it’s safe to say that the actually played the cello for the said scene.

“I probably couldn’t play too well now,” she admitted, but continued, “It is something that I want to continue to pursue. I have immense respect for anybody who plays the cello. I think it’s such a delightful instrument.”

Sources: NME, Wired, BuzzFeed News
If you buy something from a GEEKSPIN link, we may earn a commission