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How Many Times Does Wednesday Addams Actually Blink?

Jenny Ortega as Wednesday Addams. Image: Netflix.

Blinking is similar to breathing. When you do it regularly, no one notices. When you stop doing it, it freaks out everyone around you.

The new Adams Family inspired series Wednesday is a creepy show, and Jenna Ortega plays the spooky star of said creepfest. He blank Kubrick stare is enough to chill the bones of anyone, but fans recently discovered that Ortega’s Wednesday Adams doesn’t ever blink. As if things couldn’t get any creepier. Netflix later confirmed this unsettling fact with a Tweet, marketing the show as a spookathon were the lead actress never once shuts her eyes.

Well, almost never.

So How This No Blinking Thing Start?

During an interview on the Today Show, Ortega explained that director Tim Burton “likes it when I tilt my chin down and look through my eyebrows, kind of like a Kubrick Stare” because… of course he does. It’s a spooky expression, and even a casual viewer of Tim Burton’s oeuvre knows that spooky is what this man does best. According to the aforementioned Netflix post, Tim Burton asked Jenna Ortega to perform a take without blinking. “He was enamored with the result he told Jenna Ortega not to blink anymore when playing Wednesday, so she didn’t” the tweet concludes. Apparently Tim Burton has never liked blinking, as many of the characters in his films hardly blink at all. He confirmed this in an interview with Yahoo in 2016. “I don’t know why,” he explained. “Even when you’re mentioning it now, it freaks me out.”

If you or a loved one have ever been freaked out by a Tim Burton movie, corner him on the street and blink rapidly at him. He’ll probably curl up to a ball and cry, and you can consider that a restitution for the injustice you’ve faced.

So How Does Jenna Ortega Do It? Do They Tape Her Eyes Open?

No, that can make you go blind. Remember that scene in A Clockwork Orange where Malcom McDowell’s Alex is strapped to a chair with his eyes clamped open? Remember the doctor next to him who was putting eyedrops in his eyes every few minutes? That wasn’t an actor, that was a REAL DOCTOR who was doing that so McDowell wouldn’t suffer permanent ocular damage.

Kubrick was a famously cruel bastard to his actors, Tim Burton is not. Jenna Ortega explained that she is free to blink while other actors are saying their lines, because the focus will cut to them during the final edit. However, she did say that having to hold her eyes open during filming was “pretty annoying”. When you consider that much of the show is shot at night in Romania while freezing wind was blowing in her eyes, you can imagine how holding them must have gotten pretty tiresome.

Does She Ever Blink?

She does! But only in moments where closing her eyes carries emotional weight. You can see her close her eyes in episode 1 while riding to Nevermore with her parents Morticia and Gomez. She does it again in episode 4 while confronting Bianca at the Rave’N. And most poignantly of all, she lets her eyes shut as she wraps her arms around Enid in the season 1 finale. By blinking sparingly, the moments where Wednesday closes her eyes feel all the more powerful, and communicate her moments of emotional discomfort to the viewer.

What A Cool Character Idea! Has It Ever Been Done Before?

Yes, it has! There is another character even creepier than Wednesday Adams who famously never blinks. Can you guess who it is? He likes to eat liver with fava beans and a nice glass of Chianti. It’s Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lector from Silence Of The Lambs! If you watch his performance closely, you’ll notice that he never blinks. Not even once. While discussing the character with Barabara Walters on 20/20 in 2001 Hopkins explained his choice. “If you don’t blink, you know you can keep the audience mesmerized.” He went on to say that the enthralling nature of his character comes from “being still.” He goes on to say that “stillness has an economy and it has a power about it. And I have learned that by watching other great American actors.” By choosing stillness and economy of movement, Jenna Ortega is following in the footsteps of cinematic giants. She’s also making viewers at home poop their pants in terror. Both are admirable things.

(Featured image: Netflix)

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