Steven DeKnight, whose writing credits include Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Daredevil and the Starz series Spartacus, said he thought Ortega’s comments were unprofessional.
The 20-year-old star of The Addams Family spin-off said she was unhappy with the writers’ work.
Ortega said that nothing about the character Wednesday ‘made sense to her’, and she had to step in to correct the ‘arc’ of the story.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on ‘Wednesday,’ she said, in a March 6 episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast.
Jenna Ortega is seen recording a March 6 episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert
Ortega, 20, told Shepard she had problems with much of the writing of the show
‘When I read the entire series, I realized, ‘Oh, this is for younger audiences,” Ortega said.
‘When I first signed onto the show, I didn’t have all the scripts. I thought it was going to be a lot darker. It wasn’t… I didn’t know what the tone was, or what the score would sound like.’
She said the story lines did not appeal to her.
‘Her being in a love triangle? It made no sense.
‘There was a line about a dress she has to wear for a school dance and she says, ‘Oh, my God, I love it. Ugh — I can’t believe I said that. I literally hate myself.’
‘I had to go, ‘No.’
‘There were times on that set where I even became almost unprofessional in a sense where I just started changing lines.’
Ortega said that, while they were filming, she would change the lines without warning anyone in advance.
Her improvisation surprised the crew.
‘The script supervisor thought I was going with something, and then I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’
‘And I’d have to go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.’
She said she changed the script because she worried it was ‘boring’ and would not resonate with audiences.
In particular, she wanted to make Wednesday more likable, and less mean.
‘You can’t lead a story and have no emotional arc because then it’s boring and nobody likes you,’ she said.
‘When you are little and say very morbid, offensive stuff, it’s funny and endearing. But then you become a teenager and it’s nasty and you know it. There’s less of an excuse.’
Ortega told Shepard she struggled to work with the script team on Wednesday
Steven DeKnight, a writer and producer, took issue with Ortega’s comments
DeKnight said it was inappropriate for Ortega to speak about script discussions, saying she ‘publicly s***’ on the writers and producers.
‘I love talking with actors about their lines/stories,’ he tweeted.
‘But by the nature of the beast, they don’t have the full picture (in TV) of where the story is going and why some lines are needed for the whole to make sense.
‘She’s young, so maybe she doesn’t know any better (but she should).
‘She should also ask herself how she would feel if the showrunners gave an interview and talked about how difficult she was and refused to perform the material.’
He added: ‘This kind of statement is beyond entitled and toxic. I love her work, but life’s too short to deal with people like this in the business.’
Ortega has not responded to DeKnight’s criticism, but days after her podcast appearance hosted Saturday Night Live.
Ortega dances as Wednesday in the Netflix hit series – which will return for a second season
The 20-year-old actress has previously spoken out to criticize the directors and producing team
She has previously criticized the show’s team, saying in October that one of the directors, Tim Burton, ‘did not want me to have any expression or emotion at all’ when she was playing Wednesday – something she fought against.
‘He wanted a flat surface, which I understand,’ she said, speaking to Christina Ricci – who previously played Wednesday – for Interview magazine.
‘It’s funny and great except when you’re trying to move a plot along, and Wednesday is in every scene.
‘There were a lot of battles like that because I felt like people didn’t always trust me when I was creating my path in terms of, ‘Okay, this is her arc. This is where she gets emotional.
‘I was completely lost and confused. Typically I have no problem using my voice, but when you’re in it — I just remember feeling defeated after the first month.’
She also criticized the decision to have multiple directors.
‘There have never been so many cooks in the kitchen,’ Ortega said about the series.
‘I was completely lost and confused.’
The series was Netflix’s second-biggest English-language hit, only behind Stranger Things.