'Jessica Jones': Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor Talk Flaws, Working With Women, and Friendship

She’s got a bad history, an even badder attitude and the superpowers to back it up: the titular heroine of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is back on Netflix for a second season, and once again Jessica Jones, played by Krysten Ritter, shares snarky bon mots with the person she’s closest to, her almost-sister/bestie Trish Walker, played by Rachael Taylor.

But Trish’s own personal issues are bubbling to the surface and about to boil over, and the pressure she puts on Jessica – both to learn about the origins of her extra-normal abilities and to put them to use for the greater good – may be too much for their bond to endure, as both actresses revealed to ComicBook.com.

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ComicBook.com: I'm sure you both were eager to come back and see what you were going to get to do with these characters. I was happy to see that no magic pills were swallowed and both characters still have a lot of issues they're dealing with. Krysten, with Jessica, what was exciting for you to pick her up in this still-uncomfortable place and move her forward throughout the season?

Krysten Ritter: Yeah, I love playing Jessica Jones so much, and it's such a great part. It's like an embarrassment of riches. I get to do drama and be vulnerable and do scenes with amazing scene partners, and she's funny, and I do action sequences. I mean, it's just the best role ever. And Season One was so exciting that for Season Two I just wanted to throw my whole self into the role and go even deeper and learn more about Jessica.

So, I mean, it's such a privilege to get to be on the show. In addition to it being a great part, I love the people I work with. When you're on a long-running series and you work with the same crew and the same cast, they become so close to you, so this is just ... I was so excited to do the work, to get in there and roll up my sleeves, and sink my teeth in, but also spend time with these people that I've grown to love so much.

Trish comes with her own set of baggage, and we get to explore her a good deal again this time around. Rachael, tell me what was fun about the sort of new sides of Trish that you got to play this time.

Rachel Taylor: Yeah, in lots of ways I think Season Two is about fighting the monster within. All of the characters in this show in Season Two really do the deep dive into their personal histories, and we look at how those kind of personal histories and some of their personal pain impacts them in the present day. And I feel like we left Trish at the end of Season One in a really cool place, and it certainly kind of whet her appetite a little bit for more.

And that's really the kind of nuts and bolts of Trish in Season Two. I feel that she's an ambitious character, and she wants to be more than what she is despite everything she has. I think Trish would love to have abilities like Jessica, and she would love to be able to help people the way that she thinks Jessica can help people. Trish hates to feel vulnerable, and she wants power, and she wants to be a protector of people. And Season Two is really all about her appetite for those things.

I think what I enjoyed most is that bond that these characters have even though both of them seem almost determined to break it. Tell me about playing that, their flaws, and how their flaws get in their way, but how that bond still remains kind of there all the time.

Taylor: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I really feel like the friendship between Trish and Jessica in so many ways is the heartbeat of the show. The love that these two women have for each other is so deep, but having said that, Melissa [Rosenberg] has really written a female friendship that is complicated and messy, and they push each other.

[In the new episodes,] Trish is quite aggressively pushing Jessica to learn more about what happened to her, and learn more about who she really is, and learn more about IGH. And that is sometimes very, very painful for Jessica. So, in Season Two, what we see is Trish not always doing the right thing by her friend, and that's a really interesting space for both Trish and Jessica to inhabit, because obviously the love between the two of them is so deep, but Season Two really takes us on a very complicated and messy and kind of dark version of their friendship. And I really can't wait for fans to see where it goes, because shit gets complicated.

Ritter: For me, as an actress getting to work opposite, Rachel is one of my favorite things about the show. Seeing any kind of female friendship that is so real and layered is really exciting to me. I love working with Rachel – she brings the heat every day. Like Rachel said, that relationship is the heartbeat of our show.

There's also the addition of some interesting female characters, both Rebecca DeMornay's character and Janet McTeer's character. And obviously a lot of creative energy provided by women behind the scenes, both in the writers room and as directors. Tell me what that's meant to you to have that degree of creative collaboration with your female colleagues.

Ritter: Oh, it's so exciting. I love it, I love working with women. I'm very fortunate. In my career, I have mostly worked with women, and I know that is rare. I mean, there was one day on set I was doing a scene with Carrie-Anne Moss and Jane McTeer. And I was just kind of like, "Pinch me." It was so fucking cool. Those two women were so powerful and so fierce, but so wildly different from each other. I was like, "I can't even believe this." And then to have a female director also. So that creative conversation sitting around a table, is such a thrill. So we're just ... we all lift each other up, and we make each other stronger. It's a real shot in the arm, it's so exciting.

I don't know if you saw the Oscars the other night, but when Frances McDormand had every female nominee stand up with her, I was so moved. That's how I feel on set. It's like, "Fuck, yeah." We have each other's back, we are so crazy different from each other that we complement each other and bring out the best in each other. And it's awesome that our work environment can feel that way, and it's emotional and it's moving, because it is so new.

I feel like the first season, the character of Jessica was part of the first step in this cultural conversation that we've been having. I feel like she really resonated with people in a way that's carried forward. I'm curious, for you guys, what do you hope the show does to kind of keep that vibe, that feeling Jessica gives people, moving forward?

Taylor: One of the things that I think is really an important part of this conversation that we kind of kick off in Season Two is that Jessica may have triumphed against Kilgrave ultimately at the end of Season One, but now, we're dealing with the residual effects of trauma. And I think that is a really kind of pertinent point of discussion. Just because Jessica has triumphed against her abuser, it doesn't make the pain go away.

In some ways that's part of this conversation too. The journey towards feeling like pain is remedied is a long and messy one, and our show is not afraid to tackle that. We tackle this conversation from so many different angles. And one of the things I also think is kind of really important and super cool is that Jessica Jones is a show that brings different versions of women to life on screen. Part of the kind of importance of telling female stories and more of a gender-balanced approach to storytelling is making sure lots of different versions of females and different versions of female relationships exist on screen.

Our characters aren't always likable, and that's important. It's important that we show women that are ambitious and competitive and sometimes they're dark and sometimes they're haunted. I think that makes for a really timely and really cool addition to all of the conversations that we're seeing happening out there right now.

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Jessica Jones Season Two is now streaming on Netflix. The second season of Luke Cage is scheduled to release on June 22nd.