Thora Birch abruptly left the production of Wednesday to attend to a “personal matter”‘ and rewrites are underway to accommodate her exit.
Partway through production, Wednesday has lost a main cast member. In the works at Netflix, Wednesday is a new take on The Addams Family from filmmaker Tim Burton which stars Jenna Ortega as a college-aged Wednesday Addams attending college and solving old mysteries. Its stacked cast also included Birch, but her character will be scaled back a bit after the actress flew back home from the set in Romania with no plans to return to complete her written scenes.
“Thora has returned to the States to attend to a personal matter and will not be returning to the production,” a rep for MGM told Deadline. The outlet reports that Birch is tending to a “family illness,” but no other details have been specified. Birch hasn’t publicly spoken about the situation at this time.
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In the series, Thora Birch was cast in a series regular role as Tamara Novak, Wednesday’s dorm mother at Nevermore Academy and the only “Normie” on staff. By the time of her sudden exit, Birch had completed the bulk of her scenes, and the role won’t be recast. Producers reportedly plan on adding a new character to take over, though it’s unclear if Birch’s scenes will all be refilmed with this new character, or if they’ll simply come in from where Birch left off to take over her remaining scenes.
Featured in supporting roles in Wednesday are Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams and Luis Guzman as Gomez Addams, as well as Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel and Oates, Another Period) as Wednesday’s therapist Dr. Valerie Kinbott and Jamie McShane (Sons of Anarchy, CSI: Vegas) as Sheriff Donovan Galpin, a character described as having a vendetta against Gomez. The cast also includes Hunter Doohan (Your Honor) as Wednesday’s friend Tyler Galpin, the sheriff’s son; Georgie Farmer (Evermoor) as shy student Ajax Petropolus; Moosa Mostafa (Nativity Rocks!) as beekeeping club president Eugene Otinger; Emma Myers (Girl in the Basement) as Wednesday’s roommate Enid Sinclair; Naomi J. Ogawa (Skylines) as vampire Yoko Tanaka; Joy Sunday (MacGyver) as popular girl Bianca Barclay; and Percy Hynes White (The Gifted) as artist and rich kid Xavier Thorpe.
Tim Burton makes his directorial debut on the small screen with Wednesday, also serving as an executive producer on the show. Also executive producing are Steve Stark and Andrew Mittman for 1.21, Kevin Miserocchi, Kayla Alpert, and Jonathan Glickman for Glickmania, Gail Berman, and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar. The project is a collaboration between MGM Television and Netflix.
A former child star, Thora Birch was recently seen in a recurring role as the Whisperer Mary on season 10 of The Walking Dead. She was also featured in recent movies like The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Kindred Spirits, and Above Suspicion. She has teased that she’d be happy to reprise her role in the upcoming sequel Hocus Pocus 2, but there’s no indication at this time that this will happen. Production on Hocus Pocus 2 is currently underway.
Wednesday doesn’t yet have an official premiere date, but it is expected to arrive on Netflix sometime in 2022.
Tim Burton’s Wednesday: Here’s What We Know So Far About Netflix’s The Addams Family Spinoff
Wednesday, based on characters from cartoonist Charles Addams, will focus on Wednesday Addams’ time at Nevermore Academy.
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