AICN’s Russ Sheath talks ‘Shitagi Nashi’ and Season 2 with Jessica Jones herself, Krysten Ritter.
I’ve been a fan of actress Krysten Ritter since she starred as Jesse’s tragic landlady/love interest ‘Jane’ in ‘Breaking Bad’.
Following up that acclaimed portrayal, Ritter portrayed an altogether different character (except for a shared proclivity for substance abuse), the con-artist socialite and Dawson’s best pal ‘Chole’, in the ‘ended way too soon’ cult comedy ‘Don’t Trust The B**** In Apartment 23’. So, it was with great interest that I learnt that Ritter had been cast as Jessica Jones for Marvel and Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones’.
With the first season of Jessica Jones, especially Ritter’s portrayal of the titular character, being particularly well received amid the ‘hit and miss’ of the various Marvel / Netflix collaborations, Jessica reappeared in ‘The Defenders’, as Marvel’s ‘street level’ heroes Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones joined forces to battle ‘The Hand’ on the streets of New York.
This week Jessica Jones returns to Netflix on Thursday 8th March and I had the opportunity of a telephone call with Krysten Ritter to discuss what we can expect from Season 2.
Russ Sheath (RS): Hi Krysten, how are you?
Krysten Ritter (KR): I’m great, how are you?
RS: I’m good thank you, it’s a pleasure to speak with you today!
KR: Thank you so much for your time.
RS: Any time. We don’t have long today, so we’ll kick right off with some questions for you if that’s ok?
KR: Ok, great.
RS: I’ve been lucky enough to have an advance viewing of the first five episodes of Season Two of Jessica Jones and they are fantastic. It’s a great continuation from Season 1 and from The Defenders. For the readers who are looking forward to the show airing this Thursday, can you tell us how we find Jessica at the start of season 2?
KR: We find Jessica Jones in a pretty dark head space as she’s trying to put her life back together, mostly in the aftermath of Killgrave. Jessica is battling with things because the PTSD and emotional trauma that she suffers hasn’t gone away, just because Killgrave is gone. She’s struggling with whether she’s a cold-blooded murderer versus whether she did the right thing. On top of that, which led into The Defenders, there’s no text book to teach you how to deal with a new found popularity and for someone who is very isolated and a loner, people now know her name and what she looks like, which wasn’t helped at all by the events in Defenders, and which is bringing Jessica even more attention. Plus, she’s still drinking and she’s still an asshole (laughs).
RS: What were you most looking forward to in reprising the role of Jessica?
KR: I love Jessica! I love playing her and how powerful she is, how vulnerable she is and how cool she is. I’m thrilled to play her and get back in there. In Season 2 I was excited by the opportunity to go even deeper and find out more about the character and I wanted to explore when she became so dark and when it was that she lost all the colour in her life and why she is the way she is.
RS: How much did you know, in advance of receiving the individual scripts, about the back story to Jessica that the audiences are going to learn about as they journey through Season 2?
KR: For back story stuff, I usually have access to that information, as its important to my portrayal of her. Also, from the source material, ‘Alias’, we know that things haven’t been that great for Jessica and that she’s had a really hard life. From Season 1, it wasn’t just Killgrave that has happened to Jessica, she lost her parents in a terrible car accident and had so many awful things have happened to her. So, in terms of backstory, all that was available to me.
Also, all 13 episodes were already written so Melissa Rosenberg would tell me anything that was important or necessary. Plot stuff or stuff happening with other characters I don’t always know what’s happening, so it was fun for me to get my scripts as I’m always dying to know what’s happening next.
RS: One of the key themes from season one was about abuse, manipulation and control, not just for Jessica but for Patsy and other characters in the show as well. With the recent revelations and events that have made the headlines about similar behaviours in Hollywood, have those events impacted your portrayal of Jessica or how you approached those themes?
KR: No, we had already finished the show when that news broke, it’s just a crazy coincidence that a lot of the issues we are covering in the show were happening there for real as well.
RS: Jessica is conflicted, angry, aggressive, vulnerable – she is such a complex character. How do you get yourself into the headspace required to portray her? Do you have a playlist of angry music on your ipod or something like that?
KR: That kind of thing is a tool you can use for sure, but there’s a million things you can do. I spend a lot of time breaking down the episode and writing pages upon pages of backstory and looking at how I can insert that backstory into a scene, like doing something physical or how she relates to another character because of it. It’s really what you dream and hope for your whole career as an actress, to get that level of material that allows me to go so deep. Sure, play lists can work but there are a lot of tools that can help, like listening to your scene partner, there are a lot of tools.
RS: We have time for one last question Krysten and I’m going to pose you conundrum….
You are a musician, an actress, a knitwear guru and now an author with the success of your novel ‘Bonfire’ and you have a choice: You can either write a Jessica Jones comic for Marvel. Or, you can revisit your character Chole’s alter-ego from ‘Don’t Trust The B*** in Apartment 23’ and write a ‘Shitagi Nashi’ comic.
Which do you choose and why?
KR: I would take Shitagi Nashi (laughs).
RS: Dare I ask why?
KR: Here’s why! That character was a blast first of all. All the things I do, I have a production company, I’m a writer, I have my knitting, I’m the kind of person who likes to do a bit of everything and not put all my eggs in one basket. I already play Jessica Jones, so if I had to write a comic book I would definitely choose’ Shitagi Nashi’ because that would be a totally wild and hilarious ride.
RS: You already work for Marvel so, it’s out there, it’s a possibility.
KR: Absolutely – it’s on my ‘to do’ list (laughs).
RS: Thank. You for your time Krysten and best of luck with Season 2 of Jessica Jones.
KR: Thank you so much.
So, there you have it! I only a short time with Krysten, less than 10 minutes, but hopefully that provides a taster of what we can expect from Season 2 of Jessica Jones and a ray of hope for all you ‘Tall Slut No Panties’ fans out there…you know who you are!
Jessica Jones Season 2 premieres on Netflix Thursday March 8.
Until next time,