Join us on a behind-the-scenes look at the Marvel’s Jessica Jones set
Last October, Netflix invited us to the Marvel’s Jessica Jones set in New York City, where season 3 was being filmed. Not only did we get to see an exciting scene being filmed, but we also chatted with the cast, including Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss and Eka Darville about their roles, the world of Jessica Jones and more. Click here to read those interviews.
We also had a tour of the sets and the costume department and spoke with the crew about creating the looks and setting the scenes for the third season of Jessica Jones. Check it out below! ~Marriska Fernandes
First up was Jeri Hogarth’s (Carrie-Anne Moss) new office. In season 2, Jeri left her former law firm and started her own firm with a new office. Malcolm (Eka Darville), who formerly worked for Jessica, now works for Jeri.
Toni explained, “What’s exciting about this season is that you’re standing in Hogarth’s office. She creates her own firm and has her own office. Between myself and the showrunner, we thought it would be good to put her on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in a limestone. When you watch the show you’ll see the exterior. You’ll see this bay window, and it matches an exterior, which matches the street that we shot on. The stairs match the staircase coming up into the location so she has her own private office. There’s a law library. There are stairs that go up to other associates’ offices to a file room, and there’s a conference room and a reception.”
Caroline added: “Her other firm was very corporate, high-powered New York — so the feeling is still high powered but little more personal and reflects her tastes and colors that work well with her. We’re very interested in having her be an art collector so there’s important pieces of art seen.”
Toni continued, “What’s also interesting is that the colors are darker than you’d expect. Malcolm works here too and another character who is associated with Malcolm. What’s interesting is designing a space for white skin and black skin — to make sure the tones work well, which can be a problem sometimes. You can see it in multiple shows where it doesn’t always line up. So it was a great and interesting challenge here in this world. You still play and showcase Hogarth, but also make sure that we don’t wash out anybody else.
“There’s something still very corporate, still very cold and distant about Hogarth. And I think that even if you feel comfortable in here, there’s still a coldness and a distance. The metals that are in here are brass, which is warmer than if they were silvers or chromes. But there’s something still very much at an arm’s distance.”
The other set we visited was for Trish Walker’s (Rachael Taylor) new job. In the last season, she left her radio show Trish Talk, and in the new season she finds a gig working for a home shopping show at the fictional channel ARN (American Retail Network).
The set had many elements of the sound stage. Toni confirmed: “We use the soundstage as the soundstage. You can see the actual camera inputs coming in, and they shoot all of that, because they have a lot backstage sequences, which makes it feel more real.
“When we shoot we have three live cameras feeding to a screen and the fourth screen is the quantity of items sold. If you watch QVC, the sets are white because they want to be as neutral as possible to sell whatever they need to sell. It’s very important for Caroline and I to work with the costume designer to make sure that our color scheme works well. We can’t do a white set because that will over blow on high definition television. So we do a beige set that allows the props and costumes to stand out.”
We were treated to a glimpse into the world of costumes on Jessica Jones and spoke with Costume Designer Liz Vastola to get an insight into the different jackets worn by Jessica, as well as Trish’s new avatar and how Jeri’s wardrobe reflects her mood.
Liz began, “For the most part, costume wise, there’s a lot of changes for everybody. The only one still in her go-to garb is Jessica. Although, at the end of second season we’re able to get her new boots and breathe a little life into her denim wear and expand a little more on her clothing choices. We wanted to show she’s a working investigator and making choices about what’s she was wearing — that’s what we were doing in season 2. In season 3 we push that a little further, but it’s the same Jessica we’re used to.
“With all the other characters we see a profound shift in how they’re dressing, which telegraphs what’s going on for them. For Hogarth, she is on her own, building her own firm, but at the same time dealing with health issues. We see that split in how she dresses and she’s still going for the very strong black, and she dresses in things that still makes her feel armored and strong in the office, but in the home space we see her fight against that a little bit, where she loses her footing with her declining health. We see her in more pants, things that are more helpful for someone struggling with balance. She also has a rekindled love interest so at times it softens her a little bit and when things don’t go as planned, she hardens back up. She’s definitely one of those characters wearing her feelings on her sleeves.”
We were curious about Trish’s new wardrobe as she takes over as the new superhero Hellcat. Liz revealed, “For Trish, we left her in a very active athletic dark place at the end of season 2. It’s been my honor and excitement to help to build this origin story for the Hellcat character this season. We saw a little bit of a hint at it at the end of season 2, where she’s headed. Season 3 for me, it’s definitely the most exciting thing to be part of a company that has had these characters forever, that people already know and love, and be able to kind of bring my own take into it. Building Hellcat and that whole journey for her through clothing, it’s very exciting.”
Did they look to the comics for inspiration? The answer, quite simply, is yes. “Hellcat is a very popular famous character and we definitely leaned into the comics as much as we could but also keeping it real. It’s interesting not only thinking of her as her own superhero but also thinking of her with Jessica and how they play against each other. They are a pair.”
And of course, we were eager to learn how many leather jackets do they actually have for Jessica — who’s almost always seen sporting that look. The answer? There are seven or eight jackets in use per season. The specific style worn by Krysten Ritter in the series is, however, discontinued and reconstructed.
We talked to Stunt Coordinator Clayton Barber about packing those punches in season 3. He said: “My goal always is to push the actor to do majority of the stunts. If they’re not comfortable in that kind of environment then I won’t push them past that point. That’s the reason we have stunt doubles and things like that. Ultimately the main goal of a stunt coordinator is you’re in charge of the safety and the emotional connection you bring to that with the actors.
“Obviously on TV we are on a limited schedule. It’s not like doing a feature film where you have two or three weeks to train the actors or scope the scene. You’ve got to do it sometimes in a few days or few hours. I try to do something very pragmatic and practical and push the actors to do as much as they can.”
Does he get everyone to throw a punch or two? “We have an action team and I’ll establish the tone and story and then I tell them to fill in the blanks. I focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. I try to gear the action around their strengths. If their strengths don’t work in the context of the scenes, then we spend the next four days working on their weaknesses. I take that into account.”
We wondered if anyone had gotten over their weaknesses? He confirmed: “All the time. That’s the relationship you have. Unless you come from an athletic background, you don’t really do this kind of stuff. You’re not trained to play superheroes. Every time I take an actor or actress and get them to do something, they’re happy they learned it. That’s part of building the character. The more skills they have the better they become. You can see that — it doesn’t lie on screen.”
Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the scene we saw being filmed for season 3. In this scene, Jessica, Trish and her mother Dorothy (Rebecca De Mornay) are having an argument and clearly, it’s not going so well.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones is now streaming on Netflix. ~Marriska Fernandes