Disney Channel Star’s Jenna Ortega’s Journey to Scream Queen
Scream Star Jenna Ortega has always had a taste for the macabre.
“I originally wanted to start acting when I was six, but my mom said no. So I kind of begged her for a while, and to shut me up, she gave me this book of monologue she got at Barnes and Noble,” the actress said. Filmmaker.
“I did this monologue for her about my mother dying of cancer, and she recorded it and she put it on her Facebook as a joke. I think she captioned it something similar to ‘Oh, my little drama queen.’ And a casting director happened to watch the tape and contacted my mom and said, ‘Hey, I have a friend who’s an agent. thinks your daughter should meet them. So my mom kind of dug her own grave with that one,” she laughs.
“We said I’d only try for a little while, and every now and then I’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s just for a little while. “”
As we were talking she was in Romania filming Wednesday, Tim Burton’s live-action Addams Family Netflix series in which Ortega plays the main role.
In January, she will play the role of Tara Carpenter in the fifth Scream (the title is the same as the 1996 original) alongside Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell and David Arquette. She also plays the lead role, Vada, in The consequences, an upcoming drama about a teenager who navigates the emotional repercussions of a school tragedy. And she will soon star alongside legendary rock band Foo Fighters in their film about the haunted mansion. Workshop 666.
Ortega, who comes from a family of six children, is the only one of his acting siblings. But that doesn’t stop his biggest supporters from participating as much as they can in his life. In her early days, her mother, who works as an ER nurse, drove her to auditions in Los Angeles from their home in the Coachella Valley.
“My mother is superhuman,” she says.
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the Scream Actress recalls particularly memorable audition for 2017 film Hugh Jackman Logan this involved the help of his father and brother.
“I was filming this little assassin self-cassette, and they wanted me to act things out. I remember my older brother being such a trouper for this one, because he’s so shy and he’s probably my quietest brother – I was supposed to beat those two grown men, and my dad was really excited because he was watching a lot of Ip Man… he had choreographed that fight sequence with me, himself and my brother, and my mom was filming. I remember it must have been 1am. My brother had school at seven in the morning and he was up. My father had work, everyone had things to do. Come to think of it, it was extremely healthy,” Ortega says.
Although she didn’t end up booking the role, she landed notable projects like You, Jane the Virgin, Yes Day, and her breakout role as Harley Diaz in the Disney series Stuck in the middle.
She realized she had made it big when she became a Disney Channel star.
“I had told my mum – one of the many times I was on all fours, begging her to let me do it – I told her, I told her I could do it. I could be on TV. I could be on Disney Channel. I’m going to be on a Disney Channel show one day. And she just kind of laughed, and I think that was the first time that something that I had said so confidently had succeeded and worked,” she says.
“I think that’s when I realized I was going to have to leave public school. I was going to have to live in LA…so that was the first real big life change,” she adds.
“I was homeschooled – or I guess the term they teach you is ‘independent study’ – and I actually had a really amazing teacher who visited me on set once a week and talked about my schedule and was always very attentive, compared to some of the other people I know whose experience of homeschooling hasn’t been as forgiving. But, you know, I hated homeschooling. I missed public school so much. I think I became introverted really quickly, and it was weird because… I’ve had the same friends since I was four,” she adds.
“You’re so used to seeing them every day and all of a sudden you can’t fully identify with their life and they can’t fully identify with yours.”
Despite some growing social difficulties, Ortega’s life as a Hollywood starlet has treated her well, which is largely down to her uncanny ability to manifest any roles she wants. This was the case with her role as Ellie Alves on Netflix You.
“That job was kind of crazy,” she says. “I had actually seen the show when it was on Lifetime, and I called my agent because she represents Penn Badgley, and I said to her, I said, Hey, I have to be on the And I’m not kidding, a week later they started rolling season two.
“It’s the first time I’ve chosen a role and I said I wanted it,” she adds.
Now like his movie Scream is set to hit theaters Friday, Ortega just turned 19. His next goal is to break into directing.
“To be honest, I’d rather direct than act. I see it more for myself. I don’t care about being on camera. I love reading scripts and imagining things, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of directors and pick their brains as much as possible,” she says.
“This industry is pretty intense. So I make plans that make me happy, I think because I was raised where there weren’t a lot of opportunities for young girls like me. So I was kind of taught that I had to jump at every possible opportunity – and I still think there’s some truth to that – just because you never know when the opportunities will end. completely. But I would like, if I continue to act in a professional and public sense, to work as hard as I can to be able to get to a point where I do work that is creatively fulfilling and makes me feel good and inspires me .
Scream hits theaters Thursday.
Main picture: Scream starring Jenna Ortega. Photo credit: Jonny Marlow.