'Jessica Jones': Carrie-Anne Moss on Jeri's Diagnosis, Power, and Season Two

Carrie-Anne Moss holds a pretty rarefied place in the genre world thanks to her portrayal of an early sci-fi film heroine, The Matrix’s Trinity, who quickly lined up next to Princess Leia, Ripley, and Sarah Connor as a shining example of a female protagonist who could capably handle just about anything that was thrown at her.

And while Moss’ Marvel Cinematic Universe role of Jeryn Hogarth, who’s had a critical hand in Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Defenders, may not be a superhero (or even an especially heroic figure) herself, she’s certainly demonstrated a determination and iron will equal to the urban crusaders she’s encountered. And as Moss revealed to ComicBook.com, the second season of Jessica Jones tests Jeri on just about every level.

carrie-anne moss as jeri hogarth in jessica jones season 2
(Photo: Netflix)

ComicBook.com: Melissa Rosenberg and the writers came up with some good stuff for you to work with in this season. I'd love to hear your reaction when you learned where Jeri’s storyline was going to go.

Carrie-Anne Moss: Yeah, I was pretty excited that I was going to have all this rich stuff to play. They told me at the beginning the journey, and then, of course, the episodes came out. And then I was thrilled to get to play her, not only just as this powerful woman, but to see all of this stuff that's underneath it, to have some of those private moments that I got to have as the character. Yeah. It was really fun.

She's really walking a razor's edge given the news that she received, but I think she was always sort of right at the edge anyway. Tell me about taking that character that you've already crafted and then pushing her even further into a darker place.

I think that she gets her diagnosis, and she's dealing with her life and dealing with like, "Oh, my God, like, I'm so powerful and yet I have no control or power here." Pretty terrifying for her. Again, these opportunities that Melissa and the writers created for me, they gave Jeri these opportunities to be private. Moments where she's not having to look like she has it all together.

Those moments were gold for me to play, because I love playing that strength of Jeri Hogarth and that no apologizing for her power. Like, "Don't get in my way." I love playing that, and then in Season Two we have hints of moments where she's having to have that, but at the same time spiraling a little bit, but then in those private moments, we get to see what's underneath all that. All that pain that she has. That was really, really fun. I love that this season they gave us all some rich storytelling.

One of the things that I suspect must have been pretty interesting for you is to work with so many creative women in this particular season, from every director of every episode, so many of the writers, to so many of the people in the cast. Tell me what that was like to see an unfortunately rare circumstance where so many women had a hand in the storytelling.

It's amazing. I really didn't realize how unbalanced it was until I had a female director every episode. I knew there was imbalance. I've always just tried to stay positive, and I guess that's something I have similar with Jeri Hogarth is I don't like to be a victim. So, I've just never been one to really complain about any of that, and yet the wake-up call for me, in having a woman director every episode, was this realization of how few women I've ever worked with as a director.

You can see the generational shift, because for Krysten Ritter that's not true. She has worked with a lot of women. So, things have changed and things are changing. There's a lot more change, but I could count on one hand how many women I've worked with before that as a director. Now, I mean, Melissa Rosenberg's the first showrunner, the first female at the helm that I've ever worked with [...] You kind of, I guess, get used to inequality until you see what actual equality could look like. So I'm grateful that I got to see that and part of something that Melissa took a stand for that, that she was supported by Marvel and Netflix, and that we're kind of leading the way with that right now. That's exciting to be part of that.

It wasn't created out of a publicity ploy, right? It wasn't created to meet the “Me Too” movement. This was a long time ago, way before all of it was coming up. This was Melissa Rosenberg saying, "I want more equality here." She has the power to do that. The people that she is in business with supported that. I get to be part of that and all the female roles and all of the complex characters that are female and they aren't just one way. They're not victims. They're complicated human beings. I mean, it's just kind of a win-win. And again, and again, not being created out of the climate of conversation now. Created months ago, a year ago, wherever.

Well, I kind of feel like, too, that where we are in this cultural conversation right now, I think that Jessica Jones was a real early indicator that that was coming. The response that women had to this character. Tell me a little bit about that, seeing how people embraced the show, and in characters that can be strong and complicated and challenging like your own, and what that's meant to you to be a part of a project that has resonated, not just with women, but with men as well in that way.

Yeah. It's exciting. It's so exciting to be a part of something that's actually telling stories, entertaining, but saying something so much deeper and that people can relate. I think the first season with Jessica's character and what she's going through, so many women could relate on very subtle levels to this superhero. To be part of it, I mean, I have to say that sometimes I can be naïve to understanding the greater picture of it, because you live in your own little world.You live in your reality. “I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I do this work.” Not always in touch with how it's resonating with people. So it's interesting, and I'm excited that I get to be a part of it.

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Jessica Jones Season Two is currently streaming on Netflix. Luke Cage Season Two is scheduled to release June 22nd.