Gwendoline Christie talks joining Wednesday and her character's fate

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Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday season 1.

In some ways, Principal Weems (Gwendoline Christie) was an obstacle for Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) throughout Wednesday's first season. But in other ways, she was her ally. And ultimately, it was Weems who stepped up and helped Wednesday prove that Thornhill (Christina Ricci) was controlling the monster. However, as a result, Weems ended up as one of the season's casualties.

Below, EW spoke with Christie about joining the Tim Burton series and Weems' fate.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you first hear about this project?

GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: It's quite wild, because I was out on a walk with some friends in the countryside walking across the field and I got a text saying, "Tim Burton would like to speak to you about his new project, the Addams Family." And I just stopped and I felt like my mind imploded and I'm fairly sure I just atomized as well. And then, thankfully, came back into human form and took some deep breaths to calm myself down and then said, "Yes, please." And we arranged a zoom. And on Zoom I met Tim and I met Al Gough, one of our brilliant writers. And Tim offered me the part and I was so overwhelmed. I was really blushing and I said, "Look, I'm really sorry, I'm blushing because I'm just really overwhelmed and I'm quite a shy person and I'm just quite overwhelmed by this." And I was fanning myself and Tim was saying, "Tell me about it. I want to hide under the table." [Laughs] And it was just so sweet and kind and profound and brilliant as he is, as his work is. I've wanted to work with Tim Burton my entire life. I remember seeing Pee-wee's Big Adventure when I was quite young, and then I saw Beetlejuice and I remember waiting for the credits to see who it was directed by and saying, "Tim Burton, who is this Tim Burton?" Fast forward a thousand years and I'm lucky enough to be cast in the Addams Family.


Netflix Gwendoline Christie in 'Wednesday'

Did you know Weems' full arc from the start? Did you know her fate?

I did know her arc and her fate. I didn't have the final few episodes, but I knew her fate. But I just always felt somehow that a woman this dynamic and who has the ability to shapeshift, and the strategy of a skillful diplomat felt like someone that couldn't be overcome easily. Certainly not by anything as commonplace as death. And so I feel like I always felt that Larissa Weems will endure no matter what.

What was it like to play her relationship with Wednesday?

The intensity of the relationship with Wednesday feels fairly new in the realms of television with this older woman and a younger woman — one in a position of power, one as a student, on a constant seesaw, always challenging each other, getting under each other's skin. Being able to move into a space of defiant intimacy and uproot each other and develop this begrudging respect for each other and a weird, twisted, dark, perhaps love, was just fascinating to me. I loved working with Jenna Ortega. She's spectacular. And as the series went on, because we almost filmed in chronological order, that relationship developed in a way that I found sublime and really irresistible. And I loved every moment that I shared with her on the screen.

I loved that their relationship fluctuated all season, and in the end, Weems was the ultimate ally.

Yeah, because I think that all the way through, I don't think that Weems ever occupies one absolute position. She's willing to change. And I think she recognizes Wednesday's brilliant and racing intellectual capacity and her precociousness. I think she's waiting to be proved wrong by her. And when she is, she's completely on her side. And I think that's interesting for a female character also. It shows a dimensionality along with the intimacy of that relationship that is quite fascinating, in this very light show.

Your character also had some backstory with Morticia...

And can I say, what a pleasure and honor to work with Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is a true movie star. Working with her was being privy to a master class, the way she knows how to work the camera, to bring characters to life, the kindness and generosity she shows her co-stars. She's a really magnificent actor, and it's been such a pleasure working with her. And quite amazingly, it was tantalizing and terrifying how she would bring that tension and a relationship to life. She could be amazingly chilling and hilarious.

"Amazingly chilling and hilarious" is how I'd describe the show.

[Laughs] I really love it. I think it's a wonderfully light piece of gorgeous-looking entertainment. I love the levity of it. I think that in our times, that's what we really need right now. It's incredible to see Tim's world, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Wednesday is available on Netflix now.

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