For Canadian actor Percy Hynes White, doing ‘Wednesday’ was like shooting a blockbuster movie with your friends

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Percy Hynes White didn’t quite know what he was getting into when he booked a role in “Wednesday,” the Netflix comedy-drama “Addams Family” that marks Tim Burton’s TV directorial debut.

“I didn’t know anything for so long,” the Newfoundland-born actor said in a video interview.

“I didn’t know who else was cast. I didn’t know how long we were going to film. I didn’t have a lot of other scripts. I found out where we were going to shoot the day I got the role, but I had to wait about five or six months between getting the role and starting to shoot. It was six long months.

“Wednesday” shot in Romania, including the capital Bucharest and a castle called Cantacuzino. It’s an ideal location for a TV series about supernatural high schoolers, including vampires and werewolves, since Romania was the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula.

It was also the farthest Hynes, son of writer/producer Sherry White and actor/writer Joel Thomas Hynes, had ever traveled for a role.

“It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience because I don’t think I would have ever been there any other way…so I’m very glad I got to go,” he said.

Hynes has been acting since the age of six, starting with a role in “Down to the Dirt,” a film based on a novel by his father, with a screenplay by his mother, which Joel Thomas Hynes also starred in. The young Hynes appeared in many Canadian television series, including ‘Murdoch Mysteries’, ‘Between’ and his mother’s latest, ‘Pretty Hard Cases’; in movies like “Cast No Shadow” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”; and American shows like “The Gifted,” in which he played a teenager with supernatural powers.

But ‘Wednesday’, in which the 21-year-old plays another teen with powers, should further boost his profile.

It was created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who developed the Superman “Smallville” series; it’s based on the Addams Family comics, which also spawned a beloved 1960s TV series, several movies, and a Broadway musical; and fantasy horror master Burton, a “lifelong Addams Family fan” according to Netflix, directed four of the eight episodes.

The focus is on 16-year-old Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega (“Jane the Virgin,” “Stuck in the Middle”), who is sent to Nevermore Academy, a boarding school for so-called outcasts, since her tendencies misanthropes. are not suitable for ordinary secondary schools. (You may have seen the teaser in which she drops piranhas on the swim team.)

At Nevermore, Wednesday confronts the headmistress, Principal Weems (‘Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie), tolerates her jolly werewolf roommate, Enid (Emma Myers), and enlists the disembodied hand Thing (Victor Dorobantu) as a co-conspirator. in his various projects. And while she wouldn’t stoop to anything as sentimental as romance, Hynes’ character Xavier and a “normie” named Tyler (Hunter Doohan, “Your Honor”) are vying for her attention.

“Xavier is the son of a famous psychic in the ‘Wednesday’ world,” Hynes said. “And so he comes from this very wealthy family. And he’s kind of a gifted painter. And he himself is psychic and he is able to bring his paintings to life… He kind of has that right and he is used to people wanting to be his friend. And so when he kind of gets rejected by her, I think that piques his interest… He chases after her a bit and also becomes an object of suspicion on the show.

Besides the usual high school rivalries and teenage quests for identity, there’s a homicidal monster on the loose in the woods near the school and other mysteries that Wednesday is determined to solve while tackling his own. psychic abilities.

Other cast members include Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman as Morticia and Gomez Addams; Christina Ricci, who starred in two Addams Family movies on Wednesday, as Professor Marilyn Thornhill; Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester and George Burcea as Lurch.

Xavier (Percy Hynes White) brings a drawing to life in

Hynes hasn’t seen the original “Addams Family” series, which ran from 1964 to 1966, but said he loved Barry Sonnenfeld films from the 1990s.

While Ortega told Variety doing “Wednesday” was stressful and confusing for her at first, Hynes said there was a lot of fun to be had on set.

“What really amused me was that all of my cast mates on the show were people I really got along with and had the same sense of humor as me, who were like goofs… And we were just trying to make each other laugh all the time. Plus we had to do all the crazy stunts and the boat races and the dancing and the fight scenes and all the special effects stuff.

“It was like working on a huge blockbuster movie, and you’re with all your friends and just having fun,” he said.

He hopes to continue playing for the long term.

“I think I’m going to be doing it for a very, very long time, whether it’s indie movies that nobody watches or that kind of stuff. I’m just happy to do it, regardless of the environment.

“That’s what I’m in for, it’s pretend play, you know?”

“Wednesday” debuts on Netflix on November 23.

Debra Yeo is an associate editor and contributor to Star’s Entertainment section. She is based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @realityeo

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