Marvel’s Jessica Jones was an instant hit when it premiered on Netflix in November, and its rather shocking finale left fans clamoring for more of the dark, suspenseful story about a superhero turned private investigator and the charismatic actress who plays her.
Krysten Ritter, the former model (she was discovered at a shopping mall at 15) who began her career in TV shows like Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and ‘Til Death and segued to such romantic comedies as 27 Dresses, She’s Out of My League, What Happens in Vegas, and Confessions of a Shopaholic, returned to TV in a recurring role in Breaking Bad and played the title role in Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. But as Jessica Jones, she finally has a part she can sink her teeth into.
Here, she talks about the star-making role, being a role model, her style and the actresses she admires most.
The Gloss: What do you love about Jessica?
Krysten Ritter: She is everything that a woman can be on screen. When I first read the scripts she was vulnerable, she was strong physically, and she has so much back-story, so as an actor, I got to really dig in and work with my acting teacher. I love the great writing. Melissa [Rosenberg] and all of the writers surprised me endlessly, just kept one-upping themselves.
Do you think that she’s an empowering role model for girls and young women?
KR: I do. I think it’s exciting to see a woman who’s not pining over a guy, who’s not in high heels, who does things, marches to her own drummer, has her own path. She’s rough around the edges and she’s got some issues of her own that she needs to deal with, which I think people identify with because we all have issues. She’s not perfect, but I think I’m excited for young people, girls and boys, to see Jessica Jones and think she’s a badass.
Would you be friends with Jessica?
KR: If she’d let me!
Do you see yourself as a feminist?
KR: Yes, of course, and I believe in equal rights for everybody, in every single level that there is.
Are you watching Supergirl?
KR: I’m behind a little bit right now, but I think Melissa [Benoist] is fabulous and adorable and I’m so happy for her to have her own show. I’m a little behind on my TV watching at the moment though just because I’ve been busy doing this.
Are you happy you don’t have to wear a cape or a skirt?
KR: Yes! I don’t think they’d want to see me in a cape and skirt anyway. It was really important to me to have something that was really practical, that I could sit on the ground Indian-style in and could kick ass. Jessica Jones doesn’t think much about what she wants to wear, so I felt like it just needed to be comfortable, practical, badass, a uniform, clothes that live on the floor, literally.
How do you describe your real-life style?
KR: It’s pretty similar to Jessica Jones: jeans and boots and something comfortable.
Congrats on the pickup for season two.
KR: Thanks! We’re so excited. We were speculating, but it was so amazing to finally have confirmation. We’re so proud of the show. It’s a rare thing that you all just become such a great family, and I’m excited to throw on the jeans and boots and motorcycle jacket and get back to work
Can you tease anything about the story, or about your appearance in The Defenders?
KR: No, but I am so excited to see what happens next for her and how she handles this next chapter of her life.
Did any actresses inspire you when you were starting out?
KR: There are people whose careers I admire. I love women that kind of do it all, like Geena Davis. I love Tina Fey. I loved Geena Davis in The Accidental Tourist, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
How about now?
KR: Viola Davis on How to Get Away With Murder. Edie Falco on Nurse Jackie, Kerry Washington on Scandal. Taraji Henson on Empire. There are so many great shows with great female leads out there right now. Ellie Kemper. I love Damages. That’s not on anymore, but I love me some Glenn Close. She’s like my idol. But I’m from a farm in Pennsylvania and never thought I’d get to do this. It’s just now how you’re brought up to think.
How do you get from a farm to Hollywood?
KR: Hard work and perseverance, and just keep showing up.
(Photos: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix)