"Scream" actress Jenna Ortega might be young, but she successfully went from being a Disney star to a promising horror princess, and even Tim Burton knows it.
Born in California in September 2002, Jenna Ortega grew up with her Mexican-American father, Mexican-Puerto Rican mother, and five siblings in Coachella Valley.
Ortega was only six years old the first time she felt attracted to acting. She watched "Man on Fire," starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, and she told her mother she wanted to be the Puerto Rican version of Fanning.
Jenna Ortega in a scene of "Scream" posted on YouTube in October 2021. | Source: YouTube.com/Movie Coverage
Jenna Ortega's mother probably thought her daughter would eventually forget about acting, but she didn't. At Ortega's insistence, her mother posted on Facebook a video of her daughter performing a dramatic monologue, and a casting director contacted her.
Throughout the first year, the casting director urged Ortega to only audition for commercials so she could slowly learn what working in the entertainment industry was like.
When the young actress was 11, she landed her first film role: the President of the United States' daughter in "Iron Man 3." She also worked in "Jane the Virgin" and "CSI: NY."
In 2016, the collaboration between Jenna Ortega and Disney Channel began. She starred in "Stuck in the Middle" as Harley Diaz, and her performance was so outstanding that she took home an Imagen Award and was nominated for two more.
Complications reared after Ortega finished working in "Stuck in the Middle" at 16. She was too old to play younger characters and too young for the more senior roles, so she considered quitting.
The actress opened up about the stigma most child actors face as people believe they are not "serious" actors. "You" season 2 was the job that proved Ortega was much more than a Disney star. Now, the transition from child to adult actor is complete.
Ortega said it was the most "outrageous" script she had ever read.
In the last few years, Ortega has earned the reputation of a horror princess because of the projects she has worked on: "The Babysitter: Killer Queen," "Scream," "Studio 666," and "X."
Although working in "Scream" resulted in the "best experience" Ortega has had on a set, working with legendary director Tim Burton in his upcoming Netflix series "Wednesday" was an "insane experience."
Ortega pointed out that she has always been drawn to darker things, so people have compared her to "Wednesday" before. However, she felt plenty of pressure because she played an older version of the character. Ortega added:
"[Wednesday's] got to be able to push the story forward in some way, but how do we keep her true to her deadpan self? It's been a bit of a challenge."
About "X," a slasher directed by "The Sacrament" director Ti West, Ortega said it was the most "outrageous" script she had ever read and one of her favorite filming experiences.
Jenna Ortega praised West by saying she had never worked with someone so well prepared and confident in their vision before. She doesn't want to be typecast as a Disney Channel alum her entire life, so she is willing to work on projects that don't resemble one another. Way to go!