It’s Jenna Ortega’s world, and we’re just living in it. Hot off the success of the Netflix series Wednesday, and suddenly finding herself at the forefront of the marketing for this week’s Scream VI, the young star is reportedly in talks to board Beetlejuice 2, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal goes through, the long-awaited project would unite Ortega with her Wednesday director Tim Burton.
Ortega is a self-confessed fan of the original movie, which was released to critical acclaim and commercial success in 1988. She said in a Netflix featurette for Wednesday that she’d have “consistent dreams” about Beetlejuice as a child. Fun fact, Ortega was born nearly a decade-and-a-half after Beetlejuice was released. The horror comedy told the story of a recently deceased couple, played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin, and their efforts to ward off the new owners of their home, with the help of the titular “bio-exorcist,” played by Michael Keaton.
Ortega is expected to play the daughter of Lydia, the character played by Winona Ryder in the original. Burton and Keaton are both expected to return for Beetlejuice 2, which comes on the heels of several successful legacy sequels, including but not limited to the upcoming the sixth Scream movie. The first Beetlejuice practically launched Burton’s career, and was instrumental in him being signed for Batman, a film that he fought tooth and nail to cast Keaton in. Beetlejuice grossed nearly $80 million against a $15 million budget, and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup.
According to the THR report, the sequel is currently eyeing a late May or early June start date, but the budget hasn’t been locked yet, resulting in a back-and-forth. Beetlejuice 2 comes at an interesting time for Burton, who never fully committed to the project during its many iterations over the years. But the filmmaker isn’t the box office draw that he used to be; his last theatrical release was 2019’s live-action remake of Dumbo, which tanked commercially and wasn’t particularly popular with audiences and critics either. Although Burton has worked on IP properties before, the sole sequel in his filmography remains Batman Returns; his other franchise films are either remakes or reboots. But despite his choppy recent track record, Burton is still among the most respected American filmmakers out there; someone who can seamlessly blend his unique sensibilities with the demands of mainstream filmmaking.
And there’s evidence to suggest that Ortega herself is someone with a unique clarity of vision, an actor who knows what’s right for their character, and isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get the job done. She got her start on the CW comedy-drama series Jane the Virgin. More recently, she delivered an acclaimed performance in the school shooting drama The Fallout, and rose to greater prominence in 2022 with the Scream reboot and Wednesday. This weekend, she’ll also host Saturday Night Live, presumably while Scream VI is topping the box office, as projected.