The recent release of the smash hit Netflix series, Wednesday, has continued the rise of Jenna Ortega as a star in Hollywood. In fact, she has delivered several great performances throughout 2022 with Wednesday being the icing on the cake. Her career is already a long one despite her age and the 20-year-old has consistently been winning hearts with her stellar performances, no matter how big or small the role.
Thanks to Ortega, the world of the weird is having a major moment now, and her show has spent many weeks in the number one spot on the streaming platform. The loose adaptation of The Addams Family, a brain child of Tim Burton himself, revolves around the daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams; a character that had first been made screen-famous via Christina Ricci’s rendition in the 1991 film.
So, watch out folks, Jenna Ortega is a name you need to get used to hearing because the talented young actor is starting to pop up everywhere. Despite being just 20 years old, Ortega has already impressed in a handful of movies and TV shows throughout her career, and while 2022 was all about her, there’s only more to come!
In a lot of ways, Ortega is the new scream queen for the modern era. While her career is still growing, she already has some high-rated roles in her filmography. Let’s take a look at a few of them, shall we?
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)
Before breaking out with her signature 2022 horror roles, Ortega left viewers impressed with her appearance in The Babysitter: Killer Queen. The sequel to the 2017 film directed by McG, this only added to the absurd slasher aspects of the original. In this film, two years after defeating a satanic cult led by his babysitter Bee, Cole (Judah Lewis) once again has to outsmart the forces of evil when old enemies unexpectedly return. While protagonist Cole was mostly on his own in the first film, he had help from Ortega’s Phoebe Atwell in the sequel, who is a new student at his school. This was a case where the movie reviews weren’t too forgiving, but Ortega was a shining highlight nevertheless.
Another recent arrival on Ortega’s filmography is Scream, the fifth instalment of the popular slasher franchise. Scream reunites the original film’s main trio as a new copycat Ghostface killer arrives to go after people with familial connections to those in the franchise’s past. Twenty-five years after Billy Loomis and Stu Macher’s killing spree in Woodsboro, high school student Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) is home alone when she is attacked by Ghostface and left hospitalised. Scream combines the violence of the slasher genre with elements of black comedy and ‘whodunit’ mystery to satirise the trend of reboots and legacy sequels. Ortega will be reprising the role in the upcoming Scream 6 sequel as well.
Another horror movie from the star’s kitty, this Ti West directorial is an original film that pays homage to slashers of the past, specifically The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The plot follows a group who rent a home in rural Texas to make an adult movie only to be attacked by the owner of the property. Ortega shines as Lorraine Day, a shy girl helping her boyfriend direct the movie only to then choose to star in it. The actress delivers a masterful frightened performance and a horror movie scream for the ages.
The Fallout (2021)
If there’s any film that really stands as testament to Ortega’s acting prowess, it’s The Fallout. It initially premiered at South by Southwest in 2021 before debuting on HBO Max in early 2022 and earned rave reviews for the performances and the debuting writer/director Megan Park. The film focuses on two teen girls who form a tragic bond after they hide in the bathroom together during a school shooting. Ortega and Maddie Ziegler both deliver heartbreaking performances and the film is a fantastic watch.
Big City Greens (2019-Present)
The multi-hyphenate star is also an amazing voice actor, and one of her best but underrated roles is in Big City Greens, an animated series on the Disney Channel. The show focuses on a family that loses their own farm and has to move to a smaller one in the middle of a city. Ortega lends her voice to a character named Gabriella, who is the rambunctious girlfriend of the central family’s son, Crickett.
Most people likely know Ortega from her role on the Penn Badgely-helmed superhit Netflix series, You. The show became one of the streaming juggernaut’s most popular offerings and even got renewed for more seasons. Ortega joined the show in season 2 as Ellie Alves, the neighbour of the dangerous serial killer protagonist, Joe. They form an interesting bond along with Ellie’s sister Delilah. Season 2 was arguably the best-reviewed of the show and helped launch Ortega’s star status.
Jane The Virgin (2014-2019)
Ortega’s run in the popular telenovela, Jane The Virgin, was extremely pivotal to the story. Throughout the show, Ortega would appear as the young version of Jane. For the unversed, the popular show revolved around a young, devout Catholic woman who discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated. Jane is a religious young Latina who pays her bills by waitressing in a hotel in Miami. Her life takes a big turn for the unexpected when her doctor (Dr. Luisa Alver) mistakenly artificially inseminates her during her checkup. Ortega beautifully essayed the role of young Jane in key flashback sequences. Jane the Virgin also won a slew of awards during its run and made Gina Rodriguez a household name.
After stealing the show as a supporting character in several leading movies and TV shows, Ortega got her major break with Wednesday and knocked it out of the park. Playing the titular character, the 20-year-old has received rave reviews for her performance from all over the world. On top of that, the Tim Burton take on The Addams Family character has also been well-received. It blends the spooky with the comedy well, all anchored by Ortega, who nails every mannerism perfectly and plays well off her equally talented co-stars.