×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Jessica Jones’ Team on Genre Show’s Timeliness, Being Ahead of the Curve on #MeToo

“From the very beginning when we started this journey, Jessica has always been a character who has been very of its time,” Marvel’s Head of TV, Jeph Loeb, told Variety on Saturday.

Loeb appeared at Netflix’s FYSEE panel event, moderated by Variety’s own executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, in honor of the second season of Marvel’s “Jessica Jones.” Rachael Taylor, who plays Jessica’s best friend-cum-sister Trish Walker, praised how the series “always puts character first while diving into all these different social issues. It’s so unexpected for a genre show but such a joy for us to play.”

As “Jessica Jones” tackled female agency, consent, sexual assault, harassment, and PTSD in its first season alone, particularly through the lens of Jessica’s abuse at the hands of David Tennant’s villainous Kilgrave, showrunner and creator Melissa Rosenberg explained the surreal feeling that hit with the beginning of the #MeToo movement.

“We had already written and produced every episode of season 2 before [the #MeToo movement] even happened, and I think we just got a little bit ahead of the curve on that one. It felt extraordinary to come out at a time when it was such a big topic and very much a part of our season.”

But Loeb is first to insist that “this is what Melissa and I wanted to talk about on the show from the get-go. The #MeToo movement didn’t suddenly uncover something. It’s something we should’ve been talking about for a long time.”

He continued: “To be able to have a show that talks openly about how men treat women and how women feel about that and have a hero who can do something about it in a very wish fulfillment kind of way — that’s something we all aspire to and I think that’s one of the reasons why Marvel heroes do connect with people. They’re meant to be aspirational.”

Krysten Ritter, who said on the panel that playing Jessica is “the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” recalled how women have come up to her saying “that they’ve felt represented by her and empowered by her. That they’ve had their own Kilgrave and that Jessica’s changed their lives.”

The second season also had a female-centric point of view from onscreen to video village, as Rosenberg hired all female directors to helm the 13 episodes.

“I knew I wanted to have at least half our directors be women and people of color, and as we began to book them, it became clear there were so many of them. I wasn’t discovering anyone. There were all seasoned pros and it just kind of grew into this. But I’m glad this really made an impact of normalizing it,” Rosenberg told Variety.

Janet McTeer, who joined season 2 as Jessica’s long-lost mother Alisa with her own set of superpowers, added: “A lot of the story is about sisters, about mothers and daughters. That’s a female story. Female directors could reference that directly in the way that you don’t understand someone who would go see a male gynecologist. Why would you bother? It’s sort of the same.”

Ritter also likened the warmth and safety of a female-directed set to the experience of watching Frances McDormand‘s Oscars acceptance speech. “Remember that moment when she asks all the women to stand up? I just felt this amazing feeling in my heart when I was watching it, like this amazing sisterhood. That’s how I felt on set. It felt like we were doing something really special.”

As the show is truly about two sisters who have been trying to deal with the recurrent problem of “who is going to save who,” according to Loeb, both Ritter and Taylor are disappointed the season ends with the women at odds.

“I’ve built so much of my performance around that deep love Jessica has for Trish, so it sucks that they had to go their separate ways. But I think it’s going to be an amazing kind of challenge, and I’m dying to see what Jessica does next. So many times you have to look back and face some stuff in order to move forward in your life. She’s done that now,” Ritter told Variety.

Rosenberg teased that “seasons 1 and 2 were very much about digging into Jessica’s past, really peeling back the layer of what went into making her. I’d like to really explore the idea of: ‘Okay, so now I understand these things. What now?'”

Eka Darville, who plays Jessica’s pseudo-younger brother character and prospective PI himself, is keen to see the show lean into his character’s ambition come season 3 in terms of “how far he’s willing to go to achieve emotional and personal autonomy,” he said.

And while McTeer ultimately played coy as to whether or not she’d make a Kilgrave-like cameo in future seasons, Loeb stressed the evergreen nature of the series. “We could’ve done the show 10 years ago. We’re doing it now when it became part of the most topical conversation around. And while we could, hopefully, we don’t have to do it 10 years from now.”

After the panel, guests were invited to a special reception hosted by Netflix, which featured an aptly-themed bar highlighting Jessica Jones’ pastime of choice: drinking alcoholic beverages.

RELATED VIDEO:

More TV

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloé Kardashian Could Be Next 'Bachelorette,' Says Show Creator Mike Fleiss

    The time has come to choose a new Bachelorette, and “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss has hinted that Khloe Kardashian may be in the mix. “I have already been in contact with my dear friend @KrisJenner about @khloekardashian as #TheBachelorette,” he tweeted Friday, after tweeting Thursday that “any decision regarding @khloekardashian as the new #TheBachelorette [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content