Joy Sunday Has the Same Birthday as Her Idol and “Wednesday” Costar Catherine Zeta-Jones
In our Q&A series Last Call, we get down to the bottom of every last thing with some of our favorite celebs – from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, Joy Sunday takes our call.
Joy Sunday makes a huge impact in Netflix’s new series “Wednesday.” She stars as Bianca Barclay, the most popular girl at Nevermore Academy who butts heads with the titular Addams family hero, played by Jenna Ortega. But things for Bianca are a lot more complicated than they seem on the surface.
Working on the show was a dream come true for Sunday, and a big part of that was getting to work with Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays Morticia Addams. “Catherine was basically the first time I ever looked at someone and said, ‘I want her job,'” Sunday tells POPSUGAR. “It was rewinding to me as a 10-year-old, watching ‘Chicago’ on my family’s square desktop. And all I remember is just being so captivated by her. There was no screen that was too small for her.” Meeting Zeta-Jones in real life was “such a reaffirming experience,” in the sense of knowing “she was my inspiration and now I get to be with my inspiration,” Sunday says. “And we have the same birthday and everything, so it was just really beautiful to get to be with her on set.”
Sunday felt honored in general to work with a cast of veterans who play the adults in the series, including Christina Ricci, Gwendoline Christie, and Luis Guzmán. “Christina was just so warm and so receptive,” she recalls. “And Gwendoline is just such a treat to have around, and really just the kindest, warmest person. And Luis is also just hilarious. . . . It was such an honor to be able to work with them, and to feel like they saw me as an equal, even though they have so much experience.”
Sunday first found out about the audition for the show in a five-minute voice memo from her manager. Despite the length of the message, her manager neglected to mention that legendary filmmaker Tim Burton was involved. “You see Tim Burton in your email, you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m not going to get this,'” Sunday says. But she gave her all in the audition anyway. “When I moved forward [in the audition process], I was freaking out, shaking in my bones,” she remembers. “I got to meet Tim over Zoom, and did the audition, shaking everywhere from the neck down.”
“Wednesday,” she says, is the perfect marriage of her love of horror and dry humor, and she relished playing the “spirited” and “singular” Bianca. “I really fell in love with her from day one,” she says. Sunday especially loved exploring the complications presented by Bianca’s siren powers. “It’s a lot of weight for a teenager to handle,” she explains. “She’s trying to genuinely connect with people, but she knows that they know she has this power to manipulate them. And so just trying to be herself can be a challenge, because people are kind of unwilling.” Sunday has “a lot of empathy” for her character, and tried to infuse “so much softness” into her performance.
And while Nevermore, a school for “outcasts,” is not exactly like a real high school, Sunday says it’s actually kind of similar to the arts high school she attended. Still, she says, she was “so far from being popular” during her own time in high school. “It is going to be a surprise for a lot of people from my high school to see me playing this role,” she jokes. But one thing she does have in common with Bianca is that they both often worry about how others perceive them. “I’ve always wanted to protect myself by being the best that I could be,” she explains. “I think that’s why I connect to Bianca so deeply.”
Keep reading to see what Sunday has to say about her last day on set, the music she’s been listening to, and more.
What was the last day on the “Wednesday” set like?
The last day on set was really a buildup, because I think for a lot of people, the filming experience – especially because of being far away from home – was really tough. But I think once we got to the last day, it was kind of like the last scene of “Fresh Prince,” where he’s standing in the empty room looking around, “Wow, I’ve got to leave.” And that’s definitely what it felt like being there on that day.
I think there were only a few people called in for that day, but everybody came to set to say goodbyes and give hugs and give gifts, and it was just a really beautiful realization of what we had all accomplished together and had all survived and gone through. It was a beautiful day and really celebratory, but also kind of solemn, because we were kind of leaving this world behind that had been built out for us to live in this fantasy.
Besides “Wednesday,” what was the last horror movie you watched?
The last horror movie I watched was “The Empty Man,” directed by David Prior.
Who was the last “Wednesday” costar you texted?
Definitely Hunter [Doohan].
What was the last song you listened to?
“You Can’t Save Me” by Sir.
What is the most recent photo in your camera roll?
It’s actually a picture of some friends that I got to see last night. My friend does life paintings at a bar nearby, and so I went to go see her.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
“The Serpent Queen” with Samantha Morton.
What was the last thing you bought online?
A pair of OshKosh jeans from the ’70s.
What was the last thing you did for fun?
I went on a swamp tour in Louisiana.
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
What was the last gift you received?
I received a new bucket hat. I’ve kind of been collecting bucket hats, like rings from that one Marvel dude, and it’s a bucket hat from my friend that says, “You are on native land.”
What was the last piece of advice that changed your life?
“Don’t worry about it.”