On Wednesday night, Netflix held a red carpet for Jessica Jones second season. The new episodes aired earlier today, March 8th, for International Women’s Day. The Knockturnal spoke with some of the stars, along with the show’s composer and executive producer.
The Knockturnal: S1 was a very visceral and personal journey for Jessica. How is season two similar, as Jessica digs into her past?
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones): We end up going even deeper into Jessica, peeling back the layers. Finding out why she is the way she is, when did she become so dark, and then, you know… shit gets crazy. They maintain an imposing force that is so deeply personal to Jessica, and so shocking to Jessica. I think to me, and to audiences, it’s really exciting. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
The Knockturnal: In the trailer, we see Jessica starts going to anger management classes.
Ritter: (laughs) Yeah, it’s court-ordered. It doesn’t go very well.
The Knockturnal: This is the second of the Netflix Marvel shows that have gotten their second season, though they’ve all been renewed for a second season-
Jeph Loeb (Executive Producer): Some for a third.
The Knockturnal: What has been the most exciting part for you of seeing these shows continue to expand their worlds?
Loeb: I think it speaks a lot to our partnership with Netflix, in that they really respect our showrunners and the stories that we’re telling. But also, each season we try to tell stories that are unexpected. Last season’s version of JESSICA JONES shouldn’t be this season’s version, and neither should the next season. What Melissa Rosenberg and her incredibly talented staff of writers have done with these actors, starting with Krysten Ritter and Rachael [Taylor], who plays Trish, and Carrie-Anne [Moss], who plays Hogarth… having that amount of talent in front of the camera really inspires us to do better behind the camera with our storytelling, so that we can make an experience for our viewers that is nothing short of super.
The Knockturnal: With both Jessica Jones and The Punisher, you explore themes of trauma. What has been the most important part of exploring these dark themes with these superhero television shows for you?
Loeb: Well A, it’s unexpected. But B – and look, we say this a lot – Marvel works best when we take what’s going on out there – and I don’t mean that horrible weather – what’s going on in the real world, and we put it through the Marvel prism. It comes out as an action-adventure show that has wit and clever dialogue and great characters that we really care about. If that’s what you get from it, good for you. But if you also get a greater understanding of the human condition from it, if you get an idea, in the case of JESSICA JONES, what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society, not just here, but globally, the way that men treat women, whether or not that’s okay… if you get, from that, a greater understanding, then good on us for doing that. That’s where we really try to reach because there’s still a large portion of the population – okay, it’s four guys that are living in a house together – that think comic book shows are “Biff! Bam! Pow!” And the truth of the matter is, we haven’t made a “Biff! Bam! Pow!” television show since 1967. [Marvel Television is] a young division, we’ve only been around for four years, we’re very lucky that we have as many shows as we do – five of them happen to be on Netflix, six if you count DEFENDERS – and they allow us to have a platform where real things are happening to real people in an extraordinary world.
That’s what really hits home. If they’re doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary world, then it’s just ordinary. I think why people connect with Krysten so much is that, first of all, she’s funny as hell, but second of all, what she’s dealing with is something that you can empathize with, and that you can actually correlate what’s going on within your own life. This season, we’re going to look into her past, and how she moves forward. I think there’s a lot of people who have a lot of problems dealing with what happened to them when they were younger, and how that affects them today. You’re going to see this journey that she has to go on, and hopefully, it’ll help people in the same kind of way season one helped give a lot of women voice at a time when, you know, it’s so topical now, but I think that’s why I respect what Melissa early on. She was willing to talk about stuff that we should’ve been talking about, that we can now talk about more openly, and fortunately because we helped kick that door in, that were part of that discussion. If that’s what we’ve managed to get out of it, good for everybody.
The Knockturnal: Your character’s dynamic with Jessica is very interesting because he’s not only her superintendent, but he’s also a father that has to live next to this super-powered person. What’s it like to play this everyman-like character?
J.R. Ramirez (Oscar): The first half of the season, they definitely bump heads. Right off the bat, he recognizes she has powers – not that he has anything against those kinds of people, but it causes a certain stigma of trouble. That’s all that matters to him. He wants nothing to do with any sort of danger, he just wants to protect his son at all times. They bump heads for the first half, but things start to change, once he realizes that he may have been a little bit of a hypocrite.
The Knockturnal: Would you agree that the character of Will Simpson is similar to The Punisher, in terms of his mindset and methods?
Wil Traval (Will Simpson): Yeah, I think the exploration for the Simpson character came from those kind of characters that were coming out during that time. It’s a good call, I reckon there is a ring of Punisher about him.
The Knockturnal: What do you think is important about having these guns-a-blazing type characters in superhero shows?
Traval: I don’t know, I think they’re kind of antiquated now, but they are useful as a contrast to a more developed and mature way of dealing with superheroes. I think “guns blazing” and “brute testosterone” is a bit out of date now… I think they make better villains than heroes now, you know what I mean?
The Knockturnal: I love the theme song for Jessica Jones – and so did the Emmys. What was the experience like of getting Marvel TV its first win?
Sean Callery (Composer): Well, I didn’t know going into it that that stat existed… Just the fact that it got nominated, because it was a jazzy, kind of eclectic thing, that was really an amazing thing. And I’ve had the privilege of being to the Emmys before, but when it was announced, it’s a little head-trippy, because it’s all nerve-wracking leading up to it. And I’ve been to the Emmys, where you’re there, and all of a sudden you’re not called, and you’re like “well, that’s that.” But this was one of those nights where it happened, and our showrunner Melissa Rosenberg was there, so we shared in that moment together, which was a moment of a lifetime.
The Knockturnal: It’s a very noir, gritty theme that’s reminiscent of non-superhero movies and TV shows. Was there a particular soundtrack that inspired you, or that you tried to pull from?
Callery: I mean, when I was reading the script, I was thinking “what are the really great noir movies that are out there?” There are a lot of black-and-white detective movies from the ’40s that I thought were really amazing. I thought of the original BLADE RUNNER, with Harrison Ford, and he was a detective, and kind of a loner. Jessica’s really nothing like these movies, but there was a part of her that jumped off the page to me as a person who was somewhat alone and isolated but didn’t necessarily want to be. She has a really big heart. When the second season happened, I made a whole new album, and so I made a longer version of the theme, and that will probably be available for download either tomorrow or a week from tomorrow.
The Knockturnal: You haven’t been allowed to say much about your character, which means there are a lot of people online trying to figure out who you could be playing. Have you read any of the theories?
Leah Gibson (Inez): I kinda dipped into it at one point, then I was just like “aah!”
The Knockturnal: Is it weird to be working on a big Marvel project where your role is under wraps?
Gibson: It’s the first time I’ve worked on something like this, with that energy. But I respect it, because I love the show, and I love being a part of it. We went to camera a year ago, for this show, and I haven’t been able to share that I’m a part of it until this moment. So I swear I was in it! Here I am, I’m a part of it! (laughs)
The Knockturnal: What attracted you to the role, or the show itself?
Gibson: I love the writing so much. As an actor, when you have writing that goes there, especially in TV, it’s such a joy. This show grabbed me from the very beginning, when season one dropped, because yes, it is a superhero show, but it explores human nature. It explores humans that are struggling, that fall, and they pick themselves up, and they keep going, and they fall again. It’s truthful that way, and I loved that about season one. Season two is more of that, and I get to experience the growth of a character, their trials and tribulations, and just the struggling under duress for a female that is such a treat to bring truth to. It’s been incredibly creatively fulfilling.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about who you’re going to play in this second season?
Maury Ginsberg: I can. His name is Steven Benowitz, and he’s part of the law firm of Hogarth, Benowitz, & Chao. You’re going to get into a little bit more of the backstory with Jessica, Trish and Jeri, and I kind of fall into that arena. That’s about it, without giving too much away… I will say that, just by having these backstories, it makes more the supporting characters like myself feel so well drawn. In other traditional superhero venues, you’re not gonna always see these supporting characters have such full lives. Every character is so well drawn, and so complex, that it makes it a real pleasure. With season two, you are going to get more of the world, and more of who these people are.
Both seasons of Jessica Jones are now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.