Jenna Ortega is quickly shaping up to be the scream queen of her generation. The actor’s latest horror film, Scream 6, hit theaters today, and it is already poised to break records within the franchise. But prior to reprising her role as Tara Carpenter, Ortega had a whole host of other spooky projects under her belt. Fans may recall her performances in the 2022 slasher films Scream and X, or in the Netflix shows You and Wednesday. It seems like Ortega truly has an affinity for all things horror, something the Scream team quickly took note of.
Jenna Ortega was nervous to do a callback to the original ‘Scream’
As a lover of horror films, Ortega was thrilled to book a part in Scream. However, the actor put a ton of pressure on herself to do her role justice. As her opening scene is a callback to Drew Barrymore’s character in the original 1996 film, she felt compelled to nail it. “I have so much respect for the franchise that I didn’t want to do it wrong,” Ortega shared with Elle. “I wanted to do it justice, but I also didn’t want to be ripping anybody off.”
The ‘Scream’ directors quickly realized that they were underutilizing the talented actor
Ortega put so much pressure on herself that she actually lost sleep and made herself sick prior to filming her first Scream scene. But The Fallout actor need not have worried about her performance. The Scream directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) saw her talent within the first hour of filming. In fact, they quickly realized that they weren’t using her skills enough. “On our first day of shooting with her on Scream, about an hour in, we all turned to each other and said, ‘Oh, she’s great,’” Bettinelli-Olpin told Elle. “We are underutilizing her in this movie.’”
Ortega took a different approach to her character, Tara Carpenter, for ‘Scream 6’
Fortunately, it seems as if Gillert and Bettinelli-Olpin have learned from their mistakes. Ortega’s role in Scream 6 seems to be much bigger. In fact, Ortega revealed that her preparation process for Tara was completely different this time around. “In the last one, I was screaming and crying the entire time,” she shared. “This time, I actually had to create a personality for her. I actually had to decide, What does she wear? What’s her favorite color? How does she wear her makeup? What’s her sense of humor?”
Ortega still hasn’t adjusted to the recent attention and compliments she’s received
As for people like the Scream directors seeing her talent and going out of their way to compliment her, that’s a little trickier for Ortega to adjust to. Given the year she’s had, you’d think the actor would be used to people singing her praises. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I want to live up to people’s expectations, which is something that I need to get over, but I’m also scared that, I don’t know, maybe someone will get to know me too well and realize that I’m not all that,” Ortega admits. “The kind words that I hear that they say about me through other people are unbelievable to me. I feel like just the people in my life see me in a way that I don’t really see myself.”