The ‘Fallout’ actress used her own life experiences for her role as a teenager trying to move on after surviving a mass shooting, and noted while she hasn’t had the exact same horrifying experience, they have become part of everyday life.
She told Deadline: “I was in public school. We always had active shooter drills. When I was in eighth grade, we had an active shooter drill that was supposed to take place after lunch.
“And as soon as lunch began, the alarm system went off and the teachers ushered all the students into our main auditorium.
“And we were asking, ‘Wasn’t this supposed to start later?’ And we’re thinking, ‘Oh, maybe they’re trying to do an element of surprise or something like that.’ “
However, it soon emerged that a student did have a gun, and they were escorted off the premise – while Jenna’s siblings have had similar “awful” experiences.
She added: “We didn’t realise it was actually a real situation. And apparently, a student had brought a gun on campus and was showing people. The police came, they escorted the student out and it was a whole big deal.
“It’s intense when something suddenly turns real like that. Nobody ever really understands until it happens to them. So, I think I had already had that moment of ‘it could happen anywhere, at any time.’
“My younger siblings, there have been times when they have been told not to go to school on certain days because there was a bomb threat or something. It’s awful.”
For ‘The Fallout’, Ortega worked with Megan Park to make sure the process was as comfortable as possible when it comes to handling such a sensitive topic.
She explained: “A project like this, it’s so relevant and it’s so unfortunately real that I think it was a bit nerve-wracking because obviously I only want to be respectful to anybody who’s ever experienced anything like this before. It’s a very sensitive topic.
“But after meeting with Megan, the writer-director who’s so wonderful and put so much time and effort into this project, knowing that she was only coming from a place of respect and well-meaning and had educated herself on the topic, I felt safe to proceed.”