From executive producer/showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, Season 2 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones (which is available to stream at Netflix) forced the reluctant superhero to confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why. And while Jessica’s (Krysten Ritter) world has been turned upside down, know that she’s known throughout the city as a super-powered killer, high-powered attorney Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) has pulled herself back up from rock bottom, only to find herself in a personal situation more vulnerable and complex than she ever could have imagined.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Carrie-Anne Moss talked about what it’s like to see her character so personally vulnerable, as she faces her own mortality, the delicate balance of playing someone like Jeri Hogarth, the dynamic between Hogarth and Jessica Jones, how she felt about the journey of Season 2, and the vibe on set, surrounded by a female lead, a female showrunner, and female directors for every episode. She also talked about signing on for the Norwegian crime series Wisting, and what draws her to a project, these days.
Collider: Looking back on the first season of Jessica Jones, when do you feel that the show was at its best and how did you build on that for Season 2?
CARRIE-ANNE MOSS: It’s hard, when you’re in something, to look at it that objectively. I think the writing really stands out, and Krysten Ritter’s performance. And then, it takes these big issues and makes them super relatable and human. That’s what it does best, in this complex superhero genre. The Marvel universe creates really human, flawed characters.
One of the things I love about this show is that, beyond the superhero aspect, it takes the time to explore the flaws of the characters and their relationships, on a very human level, and it seems like we really get to see Jeri Hogarth much more stripped down and vulnerable than she’s ever been. How did you find delving into that and playing that aspect of her, this season?
MOSS: I was excited that they were gonna bring all these different layers and levels to her, and that she wasn’t gonna be just this strong, powerful woman. She was gonna be, like most strong, powerful women, multi-layered and complicated. So, I was excited about having all these private moments that Hogarth gets to have [in Season 2], where you get to see who she is when she’s not trying to be something. I enjoyed that. I enjoy that kind of work.
With everything that Hogarth went through in Season 1, how did you feel about her having to face her own mortality now?
MOSS: I know! It’s such a huge thing to step into. One of the lines, where she talks about how she thought she could control things by being powerful and wealthy, here she’s completely humbled by this absolute equalizer of health. It’s a challenging thing to think about, but as an actor, you get to try all that stuff on and pretend.
Was there something that helped you get to a place of understanding, as far as the impact that this diagnosis would have on someone like Hogarth, who almost sees vulnerability as a flaw?
MOSS: The arc of it was written well and gave me a lot of it. I tried to bring it in subtlely because I felt like, whenever she was with people, she would really be fighting to look like she still had it all together. And then, I just wanted find those moments alone, where she could have more vulnerability, or with people that she could have that vulnerability with, like the hookers in Episode 2 or with Shane (Eden Marryshow). It was a delicate balance. She’s still the same person. So, how do you play this incredibly powerful person who’s on their knees, but doesn’t want anyone to know that, and she’s still trying to fight for her business and her health. It was a delicate dance to play.
Hogarth and Jessica Jones are not exactly on speaking terms, at the beginning of Season 2. How does Hogarth feel about only having Jessica to confide in?
MOSS: It’s kind of tragic. I love that scene. It’s one of my favorite scenes. I loved shooting that scene. Walking into her apartment, my character had never been there, and I had never been on that set. She lets me in, when I knock on the door, ‘cause up until then, she’s basically blown me off and said, “I’m not talking to you and I don’t want anything to do with you,” and then actually having the room to tell her what’s going on with me, and Jessica saying, in her way, “I’ll help you.” It’s funny, you’re playing these two characters that really have all these walls up with each other, and then there’s Krysten [Ritter] and I, who are so close, that it’s hard to remember the difference, when you’re away from it and remembering it. We’re just so close.
How do you think viewers will feel, by the end of this season, about the events that take place? Do you think they’ll be even more anxious about Season 3?
MOSS: I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s so funny, when you do something like this and you’re a part of it, and then you have time, I feel like I need to see the whole show. I try not to think about what people are going to think or feel. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be.
What sort of feelings did it leave you with, by the time you got to the end of the season?
MOSS: I felt a lot of feelings. I enjoy Hogarth’s passion for turning things around and the fact that she’s going to work like hell to turn things around. I felt some hope for her. The whole dynamic between Jessica and our villain moved me a lot. I wasn’t there to see it all, so I have to give myself some time to actually watch the show and process it.
Not only do you have a female lead at the center of this show, that’s very passionate about the work and the final outcome, and you have a female showrunner, but all 13 episodes were also directed by women, this season. What kind of vibe did that create, on set?
MOSS: It felt great. It feels amazing to be a part of a show that, at the core, has someone like Melissa Rosenberg, who really walks her talk. She’s the real deal. And then, to know that Netflix and Marvel are supporting that is exciting. They thought that was important, too. This was way before #MeToo, and all of that. This is who Melissa Rosenberg is. She stands for equality, she stands for feminism, and she stands for inclusion. To be a part of that feels really good. Working with only women directors this season made me hyper-aware of how few women I’d worked with, as the director, and it showed me how unbalanced it’s been. Before then, I hadn’t really thought about it too much, to be honest.
You’ve also signed on to star in a Norwegian crime series, called Wisting, where you’re playing an FBI agent who travels to Scandinavia to track an American serial killer, opposite Norwegian actor Sven Nordin. What was it about that project that most appealed to you?
MOSS: My manager was like, “This is really cool! You’ve gotta read this!” And then, I read it and I was like, “Okay, I wanna do it!” So, I’m doing that. I’m shooting that in Norway, which is cool. I’ve always wanted to go there. It’s exciting to be in a different rhythm of work. I’m an American, and it’s in this multi-lingual world. It’s interesting and different, with a different mind-set. I play an FBI agent, walking into this thing and having to figure out how the police operate. The American mind-set compared to the Norwegian mind-set is as different as can be, so that’s fun.
At this point in your life and career, what attracts you to a project and makes you want to take something on?
MOSS: So many things play into it. I had kids, so I didn’t work for a long time, or I worked really sparingly. I’ve been working more, the last two years, as my kids have gotten a little bit older. They’re still young. So, it’s about timing, the material, the people making it, and the character. There are so many different things that can make a project interesting.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 is available to stream at Netflix.