When Jessica Jones hit Netflix, it felt like a very original and different take on Marvel Netflix universe.
The original comic book series followed a rape-survivor, Jones. Jones didn’t avoid the topic, complete with covering PTSD and alcoholism. We saw transform into the role of Jones and bring this comic book character to life.
Ritter and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg recently opened up about working on the show and how important this type of story is.
Rosenberg was asked why she felt that Ritter was the right casting choice for this role.
“She was one of the first actresses to come in, even back when I was developing it at ABC. She was always on my mind. One of the more important aspects of the role is that the performer couldn’t just have the dramatic chops, but the comedy chops as well. As the saying goes, dying is easy, comedy is hard, and it’s hard to find people who can carry both those ranges. One scene that was always the tell-tale with performers during auditions takes place in episode 2, when Jessica says the line, “I don’t give a bag of d**ks what kinky s**t you’re into, just be into it quietly.” No one could deliver that line and find the humor in it. Right off the bat, Krysten said that line, separating the wheat from the chaff. She set the bar so high, and we saw a lot of people.”
Ritter added that at first she wasn’t taken with the role and that it took a while for her to come around to it.
“I was looking to be in a dark, gritty show that could push boundaries. When I got the call from my manager and heard the words Netflix and Marvel, those are two giant super brands you want to be in business with. I’m like, “Great.” Then I heard that she’s a typical superhero, but she’s bad at it. My mind went to a slapstick version of a superhero. He pitched it to me poorly. When I went in to read, it was a scene with dummy fake character names inserted in for Luke Cage. That scene gave me the seeds for Jessica Jones and her demons. She’s an alcoholic, she’s a mess and I became very intrigued. I met with Melissa and talked about the show. She spoke about it like a straight drama; a physical character study. Then they locked me in the room with the script and I was blown away. I walked out of that meeting and said, “Let’s lock this up.”
Ritter went on to say that she spent a considerable amount of time training and preparing for this role both physically and mentally.
“It’s the most rewarding creative challenge I’ve ever faced. As soon as I got the part, I’m in the gym, getting beat up by a trainer, lifting. I’m a lanky girl. I’m not cool like Jessica Jones, so I had to change my posture. I spent three-to-four hours with an acting teacher, which informed me in building out her backstory. In TV, you move so quickly, you get scenes at the last minute. Having that solid foundation for Jessica [prepared me] for several scenes that would occur in one day.
When you know your character so well, you know how she listens and responds. It’s about prep work, endurance, and just immersing myself in it. I was in New York City [preparing]. I live in Los Angeles mostly, and have a lot of girlfriends and a full life out here. But in New York, I had a random furnished apartment, my girlfriends weren’t there, and I lived in complete isolation. That helped me get into character and stay there.
I read the entire Alias series. I devoured them. I wasn’t exposed to the comic book. The fourth book is the most important in regards to the show. The writers took events even further. The original IP is so great, they shot [panels] directly from the comic book. What I love about her is that she’s not defined by what’s happened in her past. No matter how bad things get for her, underneath it all, she’s capable of greatness.”
Did you enjoy Jessica Jones? Are you looking forward to a second season?