Jenna Ortega disclosed the source of the viral dance she performed in the fourth episode of the Tim Burton-directed Netflix show “Wednesday”. Ortega, who rose to fame in 2022 for her roles in popular movies like “Scream” and “X”, concluded the year on a high note with her portrayal of the lead character in “Wednesday”, a moody teen drama that gained immense popularity worldwide. The dance sequence featuring Ortega became a sensation, prompting a TikTok trend that even garnered participation from iconic figures such as Lady Gaga and Madonna.
During an interview with Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast, Ortega talked about filming the dance scene in “Wednesday” and divulged that her inspiration for it came from the 1999 drama “Beau Travail” directed by Claire Denis.
Ortega acknowledged that she drew inspiration from the dance sequence performed by Denis Lavant in the final scene of the French movie, which Ortega considers to be “the best ending scene ever.” Here is a quote from the actor who played Wednesday Addams regarding this matter:
Well, I took that from Denis Lavant in Beau Travail at the end of that film that he did—oh my God, I will show you once we’re done… the greatest final scene of all time—it’s him dancing. But he goes into this sporadic motion and then stops. And then he does his walk around. And he does whatever. And I feel like that was very Wednesday. So I stole that and took that.
Wednesday’s dance is already inspiring others
In the interview, Ortega reveals that she prefers movies over TV shows, as evidenced by her reference to “Beau Travail”. The movie, considered a definitive work of queer cinema and accessible on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max, tells the story of two soldiers serving in the French Foreign Legion. However, with the TikTok trend it has spawned and the likelihood of an SNL sketch when Ortega hosts the show on March 11, “Wednesday” could very well have a similar impact on future viewers.
Ortega previously shared that the original version of the Wednesday dance was different, and she had to advocate for a rendition that was more authentic to her portrayal of the Addams Family character. This determination paid off and communicated a commendable and widespread message – one shouldn’t feel excluded if one lacks technical prowess in a particular skill such as dancing. Ortega highlights this point, and the popularity of the scene demonstrates that the most enjoyable aspect is to follow what comes naturally.
Apart from the relatable message it conveys, the Wednesday dance is distinctive and familiar, making it highly probable for sitcoms and other teenage-oriented stories to incorporate it in some form. The connection may not always be apparent, as evidenced by Ortega’s use of a French film as a source of inspiration to craft one of the most remarkable scenes in “Wednesday”.