This post contains spoilers for "Wednesday."
Jenna Ortega is the star of Netflix's hit series "Wednesday," but she's not the only actor who made a big impression on fans. Possibly the most standout performance of the series was given by Victor Dorobantu. You might not recognize Dorobantu's face, but you do know him like the back of his hand. The actor plays Wednesday's disembodied relative and closest confidante, Thing. Dorobantu may not have had a face to perform with, but he emoted so effectively with just his hand that it moved Ortega to real-life tears.
Thing is the only member of the Addams family keeping Wednesday company at Nevermore Academy. Despite Thing lacking a mouth, he is able to communicate intimately with Wednesday and other characters like her roommate Edith, with whom he forms a close friendship.
"We were trying to find ways to communicate […] like American Sign Language, that we could use," Dorobantu explained to Slate late last year. "We were trying to find signs that scuba divers use, also Marine Corps and stuff like that. So we tried to just mix all of that together for 50%. The rest of the 50% was improvisation. I was trying to react to [Ortega's] lines and to her expressions, and I was trying to disconnect from my body."
His Hand Touched Her Heart
After a while, Victor Dorobantu was able to communicate with Jenna Ortega through only his hand. During an emotional scene where Thing's life is on the line, Ortega confessed during her interview on Hot Ones that his subtle yet compelling performance drove her to cry for real.
"It actually was that Thing operating scene where — they weren't on him, but it's the first and only time Wednesday cries," she said. "And I went to like reach my hand out to him, and he pet my hand like he was comforting me, and I actually started crying […] and that was a real bonding moment for Victor and I."
It wasn't an easy shoot day for Dorobantu either. The hand actor loved performing in this sequence because the highly emotional content presented a huge challenge.
"My favorite scene is the one where Thing is with Wednesday and Fester — I'm not spoiling everything, but you know what I'm talking about," Dorobantu told Slate. "That's my favorite scene because Thing really tried to give everything a hand can give. Being woken up after a near-death experience, it's very hard to act [that out] without a whole body, you know? That's my favorite because all my friends told me that they cried at that scene."
Dorobantu didn't even have time to connect with his "Wednesday" co-stars before shooting, and apparently fabricated his hand movements entirely in the moment. "I didn't have too much time to practice or to rehearse," he admitted. "That scene, it was just improvising on the spot. I hope I'm not wrong, but I think [Ortega] came up with the idea of giving the pinky promise, so everything was just improvisation."
It's Not Easy Being Thing
The high drama was an impressive feat, but Thing's most memorable and lovable moments were even more understated. One of Victor Dorobantu's favorite scenes of the series was "where Thing was ignoring Wednesday, just going through a fashion magazine," he said to Slate. "This one I love because I think that that attitude was priceless."
His acting is impressive, but perhaps the most awe-inspiring part of Dorobantu's job was the way he twisted his body to stay as far out of frame as possible.
"Kudos to him, because they had him in all kinds of crazy positions," Jenna Ortega said during her Hot Ones interview. "There's a blue man in the entire show, and they took him out. I remember they would build all these set pieces for him. They did a wild desk where he was sitting crunched in a desk, or they built holes in the floor. So yeah, that was a real task, I would say, and he killed it."
As for Dorobantu, the difficulties of the work didn't get him down.
"The positions that I had to go through were kind of uncomfortable, doing it every day," he admitted. "Of course, I had moments when I was feeling pain […] But in that moment, I would just try to remember where I am and what I'm doing, then I would just forget about it. Like, I would do it again over and over again — I don't care."
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The post How Wednesday's Thing Actor Made Jenna Ortega Cry Real Tears in One Scene appeared first on /Film.