Jessica Jones’ Melissa Rosenberg: Women in Movies & TV are “Not Reflective of Our Experiences”


While Supergirl beat Jessica Jones to the modern female superhero premiere on TV, executive producer Melissa Rosenberg has lots to say about how women in movies and TV can make change, even if it is slow.

Rosenberg spoke with Deadline about the current landscape of women on television, particularly as it pertains to those being adapted from comic books.

In in some ways Jessica Jones and Supergirl are the opposite of one another, they both happen to have superpowers. But, in terms of the lack of parity, I think it is a good start and this is just the beginning I hope.

Women, in film and television, have been so limited in terms of what audiences will accept. They have to be the wife, the noble wife, or the happy cop, or the Madonna, or the whore. You have one dimension and that’s what you can play in. It’s not reflective of our experiences as women. We’re watching these characters going, ‘Who is this. I have no idea’ So it’s wonderful to begin to see that there’s so many great actresses out there finally really being given such juicy roles to play now, I mean, Krysten Ritter, man, she blows my mind in our show. But it’s very slow in coming, and we’ll see if it has any legs, but God willing it is a continuation of something that has begun.

The limited types of women we see on screen is something I’ve written about at length and one of the main reasons so many of us are asking for better representation. When you have more women on screen you can have more than just archetypes.  But Rosenberg also mentioned how female characters outside the superhero genre have helped lift everything else up.

I’m a little jaded about change actually happening, I’ll admit. The numbers are exactly the same as they were two decades ago, in terms of the number of female leads, or people behind the camera, all of that. I’ll certainly do my part, and I feel like Jessica Jones is a great step.

I will say though that I don’t know that Jessica Jones would have gotten on the air and got this positive response several years ago. Without the introduction of other characters, for instance like Mary Louis Parker in Weeds, or Nurse Jackie and Scandal. They really begin to slowly introduce the idea of a female character that is flawed, and morally ambiguous. Audiences are becoming a little more accepting of women in those roles. I think we’ve benefited from that.



Of course Deadline also got into the nitty-gritty of Netflix’s next Marvel series Jessica Jones, asking how the previous incarnation (which was in the works at ABC) would have been different. Rosenberg told them the ABC version was a bit closer to the Marvel comic, “By that, I mean in terms of civilians in the street knew that superpowers were an everyday matter of fact. There was a lot of back and forth with people who were prejudice against people with powers, and vice versa. ”

And on how she approached the creation of the series:

Well, the comic book was the first comic book Marvel had ever put out that was an adult R-rated book, so I started with that. When I was creating the series, I just started with that tone, and that edge, and it just kept going.

We’re also are obviously very aware this is the first female superhero Marvel’s ever introduced as a lead. Bur there was never the intention of, “this is an issue series, we’re dealing with issues.” While issues of sexual assault and women in power are all issues that I certainly feel very passionately about taking on, the show’s all about exploring the inner workings of Jessica Jones and her ensemble. Their relationships, and Jessica’s examination of her own trauma and healing, in a way.

I seriously can’t wait. But Deadline was already looking ahead and asked Rosenberg about Season 2, “God willing, yeah. I’d love to do a Season 2 of this. I would love to do a Season 2.”

She continued, “I would hope to further expand on the ensemble, and on Jessica’s world. She ends in a very different place than she started off. She’s still going to be Jessica Jones — that is not going to change. She will continue to drink and make mistakes, and accidentally drop people onto train tracks, but something has changed for her by the end of this season, and I’d just love to explore that in the second season.”

“Accidentally drop people onto train tracks.”


One Response to “Jessica Jones’ Melissa Rosenberg: Women in Movies & TV are “Not Reflective of Our Experiences””

  1. I finished it. I love it. It’s so good. It’s imperfect but so is everything IDGAF it’s the greatest thing Marvel did all year, I loved it.