Jenna Ortega may just have become a household name after runaway hit “Wednesday,” but the rising talent has been in Hollywood for over a decade, starting her career at just 10 years old.
Ortega, who also sings on top of her acting, marked her onscreen debut with a 2012 episode of “Rob.” Just one year later, she played the Vice President’s daughter in Marvel’s “Iron Man 3.” The Disney star appeared in “Little Rascal’s Save the Day,” “Know It All Nina,” “Richie Rich,” and “Stuck in the Middle” before breaking into the horror genre. A longtime scream queen, Ortega’s credits include “Insidious: Chapter 2,” “Babysitter: Killer Queen,” “You,” “X,” and, of course, “Scream” and the upcoming “Scream 6.”
“I never really considered it because a lot of what I do is horror, and they all have these moody and nasty qualities, but what I love is that they also have a sassy teenage nature,” Ortega told Who What Wear in October 2022. “The thing about horror is that it’s become a second home to me at this point. I’ve been on enough of those sets [that] I go and I know what’s expected of me. It feels like a typical 9-to-5.”
Yet Ortega seeks out roles that are anything but “typical,” saying that it’s up to the next generation of creatives to accurately portray diverse stories, especially featuring teens.
“I really see my young generation taking more control of themselves in the industry — whether it’s learning to write sooner, direct sooner, or produce sooner,” Ortega added. “I think it’s really empowering and important because, right now, teenage voices are still being told in the majority by older white males. The more that happens, we’ll acknowledge that girls are much more than a lame stereotype.”
Keep scrolling to see all of Ortega’s past roles and check out her upcoming projects.
“Iron Man 3” (2013)
Ortega made her big screen debut with the MCU installment “Iron Man 3,” playing Vice President Rodriguez’s (Miguel Ferrer) daughter, who lost her leg. Rodriguez is working with Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to overthrow the current president and use the Extremis virus, which has regenerative qualities, on his daughter (Ortega).
“Insidious: Chapter 2” (2013)
Ortega had a small yet memorable role at the end of the “Insidious” sequel film. Ortega played young Annie, who is the only person who can see the spirit form of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) while paranormal investigators case her house.
“Jane the Virgin” (2014-2019)
Ortega portrayed the younger version of titular Jane (Gina Rodriguez) in flashback sequences for the CW series. Ortega appeared in 30 episodes across the five-year running show. Ortega told Sling TV that “Jane the Virgin” co-star Rodriguez and “Hunger Games” actress Jennifer Lawrence were her two role models.
“They both spread kindness, are extremely talented and have great personalities that come through on social media and interviews,” Ortega said in 2016. “I aspire to be as talented as they are one day.”
“Richie Rich” (2015)
Ortega proved her comedy chops in the Disney reboot series “Richie Rich,” playing spoiled best friend Darcy. The show was canceled after one season.
“Elena of Avalor” (2016-2018)
Ortega voiced Princess Isabel in the Disney Channel animated series “Elena of Avalor,” about Princess Elena (Aimee Carrero) who saves her magical kingdom of Avalor from an evil sorceress.
“Stuck in the Middle” (2016-2018)
Ortega portrayed lead Harley Diaz in the Disney Channel series “Stuck in the Middle,” about growing up with six siblings. The groundbreaking show that placed a Hispanic family at the center resonated with Ortega, who opened up about her own family’s immigration story from Mexico.
“I feel like the Latinx community, first of all, they’re not often shown on camera in general,” Ortega told Cosmopolitan in 2021. “But they’re also oftentimes not shown in a positive light. I never want to play a maid and I never want to play a cartel leader’s daughter. I would much rather play a person of power, a powerful character in a positive way.”
She added of her Disney Channel roots, “I really want to be doing indie films or passion projects. The thing about being a Disney kid, though, that’s always going to be in my past. So there’s no point in trying to hide it. I do want to do projects that challenge me a little bit more and put me in situations that I may not necessarily be able to initially relate to, just to push myself and see what I can do.”
“Saving Flora” (2018)
Before appearing in 2022’s “Scream,” Ortega first starred opposite David Arquette in “Saving Flora” as a circus owner’s daughter who sets a trained elephant free.
Long before both actors starred in “You,” Ortega and Lukas Gage had supporting roles in ’90s-set indie film “Wyrm” about a high school that requires students to wear electronic collars until their first kiss. Rosemarie DeWitt also starred. “Moonshot” helmer Christopher Winterbauer wrote and directed the film in 2019, which received distribution and a release in 2022.
“You” Season 2 (2019)
Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) met his match in neighbor Ellie Alves (Ortega), who may be Joe’s first (and only?) friend. After appearing in every episode of the second season, Ellie is only referenced in Season 3 that Joe is still sending her money to complete her schooling.
“What I love about Ellie is I feel like she has the balls to say things I wouldn’t typically say. So for me, it was just like, all right, this is the time to let it all out,” Ortega told Teen Vogue. “I know so many people like Ellie. Most of us teens go through that angsty stage, so I just kind of played with that. It was really just a matter of spending more time with that version of myself.”
Ortega added, “It would be amazing to see Ellie come back and take control of her life. She has so much potential and so much talent that she shouldn’t waste because of him.”
Will Ellie be back in “You” Season 4? Only time will tell…
“The Babysitter: Killer Queen” (2020)
Following “You,” Ortega deepened her Netflix reign with McG’s “The Babysitter” sequel, “The Babysitter: Killer Queen.” Ortega starred opposite Judah Lewis as the final girl who survives Bee (Samara Weaving) and her serial killer tendencies for blood sacrifices. Robbie Amell, Leslie Bibb, Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, and Ken Marino rounded out the ensemble cast.
“Yes Day” (2021)
Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez played parents who decided to say yes to everything in Netflix’s “Yes Day.” Ortega told Cosmopolitan that she “couldn’t pass up” the opportunity to call both actors her parents onscreen for the family comedy.
“The Fallout” (2021)
Writer-director Megan Park’s feature debut “The Fallout” starring Ortega as a high schooler who navigates the emotional fallout of surviving a school shooting won the highest honor at 2021 SXSW. Maddie Ziegler and Niles Fitch also star in the drama film that later premiered on HBO Max.
The fifth “Scream” film, and first sans Wes Craven, ushered in a new crop of final girls that outrun Ghostface. Ortega and Melissa Barrera star as half-sisters who survive the masked killer. Ortega first auditioned for the role at the beginning of the 2020 quarantine lockdown and was cast five months later. She detailed bonding with the original “Scream” cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Neve Campbell on set, including learning how to do Bob Ross paintings and surfing.
“Studio 666” (2022)
The Foo Fighters movie “Studio 666” place the legendary rock band in a haunted Encino mansion to record their 10th studio album. Ortega is among the many celebrity guest stars including Will Forte, Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, Lionel Ritchie, and Leslie Grossman.
Ti West’s “X” placed Ortega in a whole night light: the rising star played a boom mic operator turned porn star in the 1970s-set horror film. Sadly, Ortega is not the final girl in this movie. That title belongs to scene-stealer Mia Goth, who also stars in prequel “Pearl” and sequel “MaXXXine.”
“American Carnage” (2022)
Eric Dane, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., and Allen Maldonado co-star alongside Ortega in film “American Carnage” about a government-issued order to arrest the children of undocumented immigrants. The newly detained teens are offered to have their charges dropped if they volunteer at an elderly care facility.
Ortega wrote an essay for POPSUGAR when she was 14 years old about being “proud” of her Mexican grandmother who illegally immigrated to the United States. Ortega, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, spoke out about a lack of opportunities for Latin leading actresses.
“In the acting world, each job has a description. As a Latina, there are not as many roles out there for me,” Ortega wrote in 2016. “When I first started out, it was hard. I was constantly shut down because I did not have the look they were going for. You have to keep pushing. All of the no’s I received just motivated me even more. I wanted to change the casting directors’ point of view. I wanted to get rid of that description. That’s what I did.”
She added, “There are not as many Hispanic leading ladies out there as I would like, but I want to help change that in the future.”
Ortega truly broke out with “Addams Family” spin-off “Wednesday,” with episodes directed by Tim Burton for Netflix. Ortega stars as the titular teen who uses her visions to solve a centuries-long curse. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman portray Morticia and Gomez Addams, with ’90s Wednesday actress Christina Ricci also starring.
“I’ve been compared to Wednesday Addams my entire life,” Ortega told NME after the series went viral. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to play such an iconic character. It was also really wonderful to make her Hispanic. I think that was a really cool decision on Netflix’s part and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to [give something back to] young girls that look like me.”
“Scream VI” (2023)
Ortega reprises her role of Tara Carpenter for “Scream VI” along with fellow “Scream” (2022) returning stars Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding, as well as Courteney Cox. Neve Campbell has exited the franchise amid salary disputes.
Ortega teased that “Scream VI” features a “lot more intimidating” Ghostface with the kills getting “more and more gory.” The film premieres March 10, 2023.
Writer-director Brian Helgeland (“42,” “A Knight’s Tale”) is behind upcoming feature “Finestkind” about two Bostonian brothers who are pulled into a deal with an organized crime syndicate. Ben Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Ismael Cruz Cordova, and Tim Daly star alongside Ortega.
“Winter Spring Summer or Fall”
Ortega makes her executive producing debut with “Winter Spring Summer or Fall,” the latest film from “Holidate” and “Nancy Drew” writer-director Tiffany Paulsen. Marisol Nichols, Adam Rodriguez, Kate Rachesky, and Elias Kacavas co-star in the teen rom-com about two adolescents who meet and fall in love over the course of four days.
Filmmaker Jade Halley Bartlett makes her directorial debut with “Miller’s Girl,” about a student who embarks on a complicated relationship with her teacher following a creative writing assignment. Martin Freeman stars as professor Jonathan Miller, with Gideon Adlon, Bashir Salahuddin, and Dagmara Domincyzk also starring.
Untitled Trey Edward Shults Film
Ortega is set to star opposite The Weeknd and Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan in director Trey Edward Shults’ next project. Shults recently helmed “Waves” and “It Comes at Night,” and co-wrote his next feature alongside The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, who is behind upcoming HBO series “The Idol.”
“Uncut Gems” and “Good Time” composer and producer OPN (real name Daniel Lopatin) will be scoring the film with The Weeknd. This movie will be The Weeknd’s feature film acting debut.
Ortega and “Riverdale” and “Do Revenge” star Camila Mendes are set to lead the film adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, “The House of Bernarda Alba.” The story follows the titular Bernarda Alba who enacts an eight-year mourning period after her husband dies; her daughters, however, rebel against the custom as they had a tumultuous relationship with their father. Danny Ramirez also stars in the A24 film, directed by Francisca Alegria and produced by Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment.
Ortega may be leading the sequel to one of her favorite horror movies: “Beetlejuice.” Ortega would reunite with “Wednesday” director Tim Burton in the follow-up to the 1998 original film, with Ortega playing the daughter of Winona Ryder’s character Lydia. Michael Keaton aka Beetlejuice himself is confirmed to return, with production set for an early June start date in London, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“I feel like ‘Beetlejuice’ is a staple,” Ortega recently said on “Hot Ones” of the spooky 1988 comedy. “I’ve always appreciated ‘Beetlejuice.'”
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