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Gwendoline Christie’s Reaction to Her Role in ‘Wednesday’ Is Heartbreaking

She deserves every good thing in the world.

Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems in Wednesday

Wednesday, the Addams Family spinoff featuring Wednesday Addams uncovering dark secrets at a boarding school for outcasts, is now streaming on Netflix. Gwendoline Christie stars as Principal Larissa Weems, and she infuses Weems with sly complexity and a simmering resentment over her old rivalry with Morticia. Christie is the perfect actress for the role, but in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, she revealed that the road to get there wasn’t easy.

Christie explains that the role “was an opportunity to create [a character far removed from her own personality] and to inhabit that sort of impenetrable, imperious character with that classic idea of femininity.” But in expressing her gratitude to director Tim Burton and costume designer Colleen Atwood, Christie revealed something heartbreaking: this role is the first time she’s ever felt beautiful onscreen.

“It is the first time I’ve ever felt beautiful on screen … I cannot express my extreme gratitude more heartily to Tim and Colleen and our hair and makeup team. Colleen Atwood is rightfully a legend, and what she does is close to witchcraft in terms of transformation. It is an honor of my life to work with Colleen and to work with Tim.”

Christie is known, of course, for playing warriors like Ser Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and Captain Phasma in Star Wars. Neither role allowed for much femininity, and the character of Brienne was explicitly described in the original Song of Ice and Fire novels as unattractive. Christie’s most recent role as Lucifer in The Sandman was much more flattering, but still androgynous.

There are so many layers to unravel here. Fans on social media rushed to assure Christie that she looks fantastic in all her roles, which is 100% true, but that’s not really the point. It’s one thing to look naturally good in a suit of armor that’s not designed to be flattering. It’s quite another to put on a costume and makeup specifically designed to make you look and feel amazing.

Then there’s the never-ending awfulness of Western beauty standards. Why has Christie gone so long being cast in roles that don’t allow her to feel beautiful? Because she’s tall? So what? Why do women whose bodies deviate from some arbitrary norm have to be shunted into roles based on that specific body type? She’s amazing in everything she does, but why can’t we have more characters who just happen to have various body types? You know, like real life?

Ugh. Well. At least we get to enjoy the gorgeous Larissa Weems right alongside Christie. She lights up every scene she’s in, and her rivalry with Wednesday is endlessly fun.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.