Who is Jessica Jones? Marvel thinks she could be their next breakout character, and that Krysten Ritter's got the goods to make it happen.
The studio is teaming up with Netflix once again, this time to adapt comic book series "Alias" (no relation to the Jennifer Garner-led ABC hit) into a new show loosely connected to their previous smash "Daredevil" that took the streaming network by storm in April.
Access Hollywood spoke with "Jessica Jones" Executive Producer Melissa Rosenberg at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and found out why Ritter was considered the best choice to translate the gritty heroine from page to screen.
"She was the ideal," Rosenberg said, explaining that the 33-year-old actress possessed just the right combination of dramatic chops and comedic timing to make Marvel's superhero-turned-private detective pop.
Perhaps Ritter's experience in both genres, most notably in AMC's critical darling "Breaking Bad" and ABC cult favorite "Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23," gave her the proper background Rosenberg and her team were looking for.
"We auditioned a lot of other people. … We were casting our net wide. But when Krysten Ritter came up, she was always the bar that anyone else would have to match," Rosenberg said, explaining the questions she and her fellow producers would ask of other actresses who were vying for the part.
"Can you get to her level of depth, emotionally? Can you tell a story -- an emotional, dark story? And can you deliver a line?" she clarified. "It's both mine and Marvel's stock in trade – which is why we're a good match – to really find those moments of black humor, you know, levity. … We knew going in, [Ritter] had those."
The show's rigorous production schedule reflects Marvel's reported plan to unveil a new Netflix series every six months after "Jessica Jones" debuts. Suited-up fighters "Luke Cage" and "Iron Fist" are already confirmed headliners, but Jessica's painful association with her super powers gives Ritter a unique challenge when approaching the character.
"We are beating the hell out of her," Rosenberg chuckled. "The show is called 'Jessica Jones,' and Jessica Jones is in almost every scene. … It is a long haul for Krysten Ritter, but man, she's tough. She continues to deliver."
"I'm completely falling apart," the producer added with a laugh, "but she's still going strong."
Besides her confidence in Ritter, Rosenberg told Access she's also happy with the creative and business teams behind "Jessica Jones." The showrunner said she couldn't be more pleased to have found the right home for the project.
"If I had to dream of a best-case scenario of where this show would be," she said, "it would be Netflix."
"Marvel's Jessica Jones" is expected to stream on Netflix by the end of 2015.
-- Erin Biglow