Marvel's Jessica Jones: Getting To Know David Tennant's Purple Man
David Tennant has been filming for the new Marvel 13 part series, Jessica Jones, in New York for the past few months. The series will air exclusively on Netflix from October 2015. David is taking on the part of Zebidiah Kilgrave - AKA Purple Man, here we take a look at the character from the comic book series....
Born in Yugoslavia, Zebidiah Kilgrave was a spy who was accidentally covered in an experimental nerve gas in liquid form. This permanently dyed his hair and skin purple and gave him the power to compel others to obey his commands. The accident occurred whilst Killgrave was working for the Soviet Bloc who were attempting to invade an American army ordnance depot and steal a sample of an experimental nerve gas.
A military guard found Kilgrave and fired a shot at him, which hit a canister of the nerve gas. The contents of the canister was released, and drenched Kilgrave, dying him purple. When questioned by the Americans, Kilgrave gave an inadequate story to his captors, but to his shock, they believed him and he was released. After several more incidents demonstrated to him that the nerve gas had given him the powers to command the wills of other people, Kilgrave embarked on a criminal career.
His body secretes psychoactive chemicals that deaden the will of people in his vicinity, rendering them susceptible to his commands. Only individuals with unusually strong willpower can resist him. The effect of this power only lasts as long as Purple Man is present and is somehow connected to his voice and speech-pattern. When he leaves the company of his victim, the level of pheromones is reduced and their recovery begins. The speed of recovery can vary between victims and is dependent upon their own metabolism, without his presence the victims regain their own ability to think for themselves.
There is no limit to the number of people that he can control at any one time, he can walk among a crowd of people and use his pheromones to control all of them and force them to perform actions against their own free will. Purple Man also has a superior ability to heal himself from injury, he can recover quickly from trauma and enters a death like state to heal himself.
For a while (as detailed in Alias) Purple Man kidnapped Jessica Jones and kept her as his slave. Whilst Jessica was the superhero Jewel, Purple Man used his powers to force her to live with him in a five star hotel whilst he mentally tortured her over an eight month period. Whilst kept prisoner she was forced to be sexually degraded by Kilgrave who would force her strip for him by convincing her that her life was a comic book and that she was stripping off for it's readers. He would also make Jessica beg for him to do with her what he would do with the many girls that he would bring in under mind control from the street.
His eventual plan was to use Jessica to murder Daredevil, but after mistaking Scarlet Witch for Daredevil, Jessica attacked her instead and faced the wrath of the Avengers who beat her in to a coma before realising that she was acting under mind control.
The mutant telepath Jean Grey gave Jessica a psychic switch which prevents Purple Man from controlling her mind again.
After the kidnapping incident with Purple Man leaves Jessica Jones so traumatized that she decides to give up her life as a Super Hero and become a private investigator.
Purple Man comes back in to Jessica's life after she is contacted by Kim Rourke, who wishes to hire her to find a man named Kilgrave. When Jessica visits Kim she explains to her that 34 people were killed in a restaurant when Kilgrave ordered them to stop breathing. But Jessica can't understand how it can be Kilgrave as Daredevil has imprisoned him in the Raft, a jail designed to hold Super Villains. Jessica travels to the jail to question Kilgrave where he again attempts to convince her that they are both just characters in a comic book story. She demands he admits to the many murders he's committed but gives up when he persists with the comic book tale.
How true to the character of the comic books the Netflix series is remains to be seen and David has of course been spotted filming on locations around New York minus the Purple Man's trademark Purple Skin. At least there's not long until we find out...