Over the past two years, Jenna Ortega has established herself as having a knack for the horror genre in particular. She gave standout performances in "X" and 2022's "Scream," and became a household name with her titular role in the comedy-horror series "Wednesday." As it turns out, Ortega's really good with taking on creepy material. With "Wednesday" getting renewed and "Scream VI" coming out in March 2023, Ortega's career seems as promising as ever. 

But as the actress has explained in a recent interview with The Face, playing these roles wasn't always easy. For "Wednesday" in particular, Ortega felt a lot of pressure to measure up to the standard set by Christina Ricci, to whom she knew she'd inevitably be compared (especially since Ricci herself has a role in the show). "Christina Ricci is a legend," said Ortega. "I know that I can't knock anyone off and I have to do it differently, but the script was also very reminiscent of her, so how can I take this and shift it in my manner?"

What makes things even more stressful is the Netflix show's massive success, as counterintuitive as that might sound. As Ortega explained, more success means more eyes on her, which is both a blessing and a curse: 

Playing a role that's already been perfected

You'd think Jenny Ortega's role in "Scream" would be easier for her in this regard because she was playing Tara, a completely new character to the series. But in Tara's most memorable scene — the opening where she gets hunted down in her own house by the killer — the movie is still framing her as a parallel to Drew Barrymore's Casey, from the original 1996 movie. As most "Scream" fans can attest, Drew Barrymore's performance in the first film's opening scene was perfect, to the point where it's still one of the most memorable and beloved horror sequences in the entire genre.

"They put me in a pink sweater and had me play with knives like Drew did," Ortega explained. "It was very obvious that it was a callback, and that being one of the most iconic cinema moments ever, I felt pressure to do it right." Although most people would agree she did a great job, she was full of doubts leading up to filming the scene: "I don't think I slept the night before. Sometimes when I'm really nervous, I make myself sick. Like, my body can't help but have a reaction. I had it on that day."

At least Jenna got to give a performance in "X" that wasn't meant to parallel or reimagine an already-existing character. And after it was revealed early on in "Scream" that Tara actually survived the initial attack — unlike Barrymore's character — Tara was now in fresh territory for the series, and Ortega was able to evolve the character beyond just a Gen Z version of Casey. Being a star in two major, established franchises is definitely a lot of pressure, but hopefully for Ortega the most stressful part is over.

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