Gwendoline Christie Says Her ‘Wednesday’ Role Is the First Time She Felt Beautiful on Screen

As an actor, you don’t always get a say in how you’re going to look on screen. That wasn’t the case for Gwendoline Christie, however, as she prepared for her role as Larissa Weems in the Netflix series Wednesday. Christie plays the Nevermore Academy’s principal, and director Tim Burton gave her creative license to help shape the character. The incredible opportunity made Christie feel beautiful on screen for the first time.

To craft Principal Weems, Christie worked with Burton and costume designer Colleen Atwood. It involved first imagining who the character might be. “This idea kept coming to me of Larissa Weems being someone who was an outcast, who went to a school for outcasts, that was always second best and was always in Morticia's shadow,” Christie explained. She had visions of a “Hitchcock-style heroine,” and it turned out she wasn’t alone—both Burton and Atwood had the same idea.

Christie and her collaborators specifically referenced two actors when developing the principal of a school for misfits. “We were looking at Tippi Hedren and Kim Novak,” Christie said. “I wanted to push that idea. I like to transform into characters and people that are very far away from myself and I would never be cast as this part. It was an opportunity to create that and to inhabit that sort of impenetrable, imperious character with that classic idea of femininity.”

There was a key difference in Christie’s character versus the roles that Hedren and Novak portrayed, though. “But whereas Hitchcock heroines tend to have all sorts of trauma being exacted upon them, for this to be a woman who was in charge of her own fate, who was ruthlessly ambitious and who was willingly putting herself into dangerous and extreme situations, was exciting to me.”

When it came time to transform into her character, working with Atwood was a dream. “The brilliance of Colleen is she is supremely talented. She's also hugely experienced. That experience cannot be underlined enough because she is able to look at your body and emphasize different elements, emphasize your strong points.” This made Christie feel “celebrated and beautiful,” and that she didn’t need to be ashamed of her body or hide anything. Christie walked away feeling incredible, which translated into her on-screen performance of Principal Weems.

Actor Gwendoline Christie was given creative freedom to shape her character, Principal Larissa Weems, in the Netflix series Wednesday.

Working alongside director Tim Burton and costume designer Colleen Atwood, she was inspired by “Hitchcock-style heroines” like Kim Novack.


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The incredible opportunity made Christie feel beautiful on screen for the first time.

Gwendoline Christie: Instagram
h/t: [BuzzFeed]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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