Marvel's Jeph Loeb On Casting David Tennant: He Was Right At The Top Of The List
Marvel's Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb took part in a round-table discussion with a number of journalists yesterday at the TCA 2015 Summer Press Tour. Netflix had opened the two-week long event where US TV networks present their 2015/16 content to assembled critics and entertainment journalists.
Rosenberg and Loeb were there to talk about Marvel's Jessica Jones, a thirteen part adaptation of the MarvelMAX comicbook series Alias which is scheduled to premiere on Netflix later this year. The series follows a former superhero, Jessica Jones played by Krysten Ritter, forced into retirement following a traumatic period in her life. David Tennant co-stars as Kilgrave, in the original story her nemesis, whose treatment of her caused her a life-changing amount of psychological trauma.
The pair said that David's name had come up immediately when they were casting Kilgrave.
"He came up right away, but he wasn’t available. And then, he became available and we were still looking, so we grabbed him as fast as we could," said Rosenberg.
"You make a wishlist of people that you hope are going to be able to do it, and David was right at the top," added Loeb. "Things sometimes change, and when they do, one of the things that Marvel is very good at is being nimble. If we can move something around, that’s what we’ll do. This happened to work out that way."
The interactions between Krysten Ritter and David would be crucial to drive the plot, Rosenberg explained, adding that the actors had worked on finding the human connections in a drama about the superpowered.
"When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, who plays our villain, that question of what’s going to happen next and what could happen next and how that’s driven by character is something that’s so important, not just to the script, but to the way that the show is shot and the way that everybody reacts and the fact that there are two actors reacting with each other," she said. "In the same kind of way that Vincent D’Onofrio owned his half of Daredevil, you’ll see David Tennant own his half of Jessica Jones. You’re continually finding this incredible balance.
"There are times when there are questions about what the villain is doing, and you will be uncomfortably okay, or not so much against what he’s doing, until you go, “Oh, no, you’re really the villain. You really are a horrible person.” That’s the magic of it. And Jessica is incredibly damaged, and justifiably so. One of the things they’ve worked so hard at and really delivered on, and that Krysten delivers in her performance, is that you really do understand who she is and where she comes from, and what each of us might have done in that similar situation. That’s when Marvel sparkles, when you, as the viewer, have a connection on a level that has nothing to do with powers, nothing to do with costumes, and nothing to do with comic books, but has everything to do with being a human being."
Earlier in the day Rosenberg had stressed that Jessica Jones, the second of five planned Defenders miniseries for Netflix, would be much darker in tone than its predecessor Daredevil. She said that she had pushed the edge even further than the source material in Alias, created by acclaimed comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. "He wasn’t afraid to go there and we went even further. We’ve gone further in all of our storytelling," she said.
Marvel's Jessica Jones is expected to arrive on Netflix in October.
Find out more about the origin of David's character Kilgrave here