New York’s East Village Stood in for Hell’s Kitchen During ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2

The cast and crew of Netflix series “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” were shooting scenes for Season 2 of the series all around Manhattan’s East Village last year, but they didn’t publicize their presence. In fact, when one of the crew members was asked by a journalist what they were filming, he claimed it was a show called “Violet.” But when “Jessica Jones” star Krysten Ritter was spotted sitting in a chair dressed as the character (and knitting between takes), the secret was out.

Much of the action in Season 2 of the Marvel series, which dropped March 8 on Netflix, takes place in a different Manhattan area, Hell’s Kitchen, where the titular character lives. The East Village is a great substitute because it has “some of the bones and structure” to masquerade as the Midtown neighborhood, says location manager Rocco Nisivoccia.

A hat store in the East Village was turned into a wig shop for one scene because it could be convincingly transformed in a minimal amount of time on a day that involved multiple moves. “There were a couple of things we were looking for in that particular location,” says production designer Judy Rhee. “We wanted it to have an old-world and a mom-and-pop feel, and this place offered character and texture in terms of old brick and some darker wood.”

Rhee also transformed a bodega in the actual Hell’s Kitchen into a liquor store. “The owner stayed open while we were prepping, and he shut down while we shot there,” Rhee says, praising the accommodating nature of New York City’s small businesspeople. “There are lots of fans of the show, so they’re willing to work with us.”

The season shot in all five New York City boroughs (as well as in upstate New York), and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the New York Police Dept. and other city agencies were also supportive, according to Nisivoccia, who credits their help for making it possible to shoot a scene in Queens that features a big explosion that can be seen in the show’s Season 2 trailer. “That was right here in the heart of the city,” Nisivoccia says.

Both Nisivoccia and Rhee were new to the superhero genre and worked hand in hand on the new season, quickly learning how to best serve the needs of the stunt department, whose work is vital to the action-driven show.

Showrunner and executive producer Melissa Rosenberg and exec producer Raelle Tucker provided Nisivoccia and Rhee with scripts for the entire season before the show went into pre-production. “We were able to discuss the long-term arc of the season, whether it was a visual arc or a story arc, and how it would all relate,” says Rhee. “It was immensely helpful to have the scripts ahead of time.”

Nisivoccia also acknowledges the luxury of being able to see the full season before shooting. “Changes always come,” he allows, “but we knew about the big stuff and could start thinking about what was coming down the road.”

Popular on Variety

More Artisans

  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight

    Mark Damon's DCR Finance Receives $150 Million for Financing Georgia Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Damon’s DCR Finance Corp., co-headed with financer Adi Cohen, has received a $150 million investment from Go Media Productions for Georgia projects, Variety has learned exclusively. Damon, whose credits include “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” made the announcement Monday with Cohen. The deal calls for Atlanta-based Go Media Productions to join a private placement as [...]

  • The Handmaid's Tale -- "Household" -

    ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Crew on Why the Lincoln Memorial Shoot Was Worth the Effort

    Shooting on location at a national monument may seem glamorous, but it often involves extensive prep to comply with strict regulations, restrictions and crowds — all for a short on-screen moment. For the cast and crew of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the seven months of planning and negotiations required for a one-day shoot at the [...]

  • Producer and crew on set. Twelve

    'Driven' Kept Shoot in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria to Help Locals

    Behind-the-scenes featurettes have long enumerated the many obstacles any movie or TV show has had to overcome to reach the theater or TV screen. But few films faced hardships as severe as those overcome by “Driven,” the real-life hero-to-zero story of automaker John DeLorean (played by Lee Pace) and his misadventures with ex-con pilot-turned-FBI informant [...]

  • The Righteous Gemstones Adam Devine, Danny

    How Televangelists, Elvis Inspired Costumes for HBO's 'The Righteous Gemstones'

    HBO’s new comedy series “The Righteous Gemstones,” about a famous family of televangelists whose dysfunction runs far deeper than its Christianity, seems to exist in its own time and place. Set in present-day Texas, the inspiration for the Gemstone family — played by John Goodman, series creator Danny McBride, Edi Patterson and Adam Devine — [...]

  • A Wrikle in Time

    New Zealand Offers Breathtaking Locations, Trained Crews, 20% Cash Grant

    With its heart-quickening vistas and magnificent views, New Zealand is a prime location for savvy investors seeking to maximize the incentive on their next project. Consider the production value of filming amid the daunting heights of the Southern Alps, or along the stunning shores of Lake Gunn. There’s also Auckland, with its magnificent Sky Tower [...]


    'Descendants 3' Choreographer Mixed Dancing, Acting and Sword Fighting

    For a generation of dancers, Jamal Sims is one of a handful of choreographers who’ve pushed the boundaries of dance in film, TV and onstage. With a career that’s included stints working alongside Madonna and Miley Cyrus, he brings his edgy pop style to the dance numbers in “Descendants 3,” which premiered Aug. 2 and [...]

  • Avatar

    Manhattan Beach Studios, Home to 'Avatar' Sequels, Sold for $650 Million

    Hackman Capital Partners has acquired the Manhattan Beach Studios, home to James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels, as part of a $650 million deal. Hackman announced Wednesday that it had bought the MBS Group from global investment firm the Carlyle Group. The MBS Group operates the MBS Media Campus — a 22-acre, 587,000 square foot production facility [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content