Jessica Jones was never supposed to be a hero.
The hard-drinking former-superhero-turned-private-investigator was dragged into that world, kicking and screaming. She never wanted to be a hero. But somehow, that’s who she became.
“She’s a wonderfully flawed, damaged character, but with a drive somewhere deep underneath all that damage to do something good in the world. All her issues make that difficult and get in the way a lot,” Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, who described her superhero’s powers as “B-level,” told The Daily News.
“She’s grounded in a real-world way. She has many complex layers and yet she’s completely kick-ass. It’s relatable but also wish-fulfillment.”
Returning on March 8, International Women’s Day for a second season – with a third already in the works – the dark, gritty Netflix drama, based on Brian Michael Bendis’ Marvel character, moves backward almost as often as it moves forward.
While Jessica, played by Krysten Ritter, battles a new nemesis and struggles to figure out her past, best friend/sidekick/former child star Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) tries to leverage her own history to change the future.
Walker’s storyline finds the heroine, who is suffering from serious post-traumatic stress disorder, tracking down a producer from her childhood in a plot straight out of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement – except it was filmed months before disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s downfall.
“The truth is that all of these issues that we’ve been dealing with #MeToo, these are things that those of us who are telling stories, have been telling these stories,” Rosenberg told T he Daily News.
“You can find these stories dating way back.”
They build upon each other and with every one of those stories and every one of those characters, it widens the cultural perspective.
The #MeToo movement doesn’t happen without those decades of slow enlightenment.”
Taylor told The Daily News she was proud to play a character such as Trish, a “complicated, interesting, strong female character,” and thanked Rosenberg for putting “messy women on screen”.
She added: “As a woman in Hollywood, this is a very powerful and exciting moment of radical honesty, but it’s not just limited to Hollywood.
“It’s deeply ingrained cultures of sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
“What we’ve been seeing with #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, this is an extremely relevant moment for women everywhere.
“It’s a real reflection on what’s going on. The time is both ripe and right for this conversation.”
Ritter, too, called the role a dream.
“To be a part of something that is so empowering for so many women, the character has been so well received because of how different she is,” she said.
“It’s not every day that you’re acting in a TV show that also inspires some social conversation.”
Jessica Jones struggles. She drinks too much. She punches too freely – and with super strength. She has nemeses. But she makes sense, too.
“It takes a monster to stop a monster,” one character says in an early episode.
Jones may not be a monster, but she’s not a hero either. And that’s where her realism lies.