David Tennant’s gathering of all his fantastic mates for a good old chinwag continues as he chats to the star of Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter
For those who know Ritter primarily through Jessica Jones the big revelation here is just how goofy she is. This episode immediately sets the tone, in fact, when it opens with former Kilgrave (and former Doctor Who) Tennant and Ritter comparing travel schedules for the convention they’re both attending that weekend. To Ritten’s horror, she realizes she’s made all her plans on the assumption their joint appearance is on the Sunday. As an amused Tennant points out… it’s actually Saturday. Cue a portion of the podcast being given over to Ritter frantically rescheduling her Pilates class so she doesn’t lose her deposit.
The exchange also helpfully dates the recording to early January this year. Which means that Netflix’s announcement that it was dropping Jessica Jones hadn’t happened yet and goes unaddressed. Which is a shame as it seems like both Ritter and Tennant would have had strong opinions on it. Nevertheless, Ritter’s time on the show is well covered here and gives great insight into how the show came together. She remembers first asked to come in and read for it, and the flood of messages when she won the role (“whenever it’s good news, like ten people call to tell you,” she muses, while Tennant notes that when it’s bad news you get one lonely call).
“It was only ever you”
One of the lovely things about this episode is that shared experience and language between Tennant and Ritter. They’ve clearly bonded, not just as Jessica Jones co-stars, but by both having led high profile genre shows. When Ritter wryly repeats the claim by series creator Melissa Rosenberg that “It was only ever you” in serious contention for the role, both she and Tennant guffaw. It’s a line they’ve plainly both heard many times before from producers.
Similar stories, like Tennant remembering how in the early days of Jessica Jones filming Ritter had reminded him of himself early in the Doctor Who process, emphasis this connection as well. As does their similar experience of going suddenly from being quite well known to instantly recognized everywhere they go. “I love my job and I love to get to do it. [But] fame has made me smaller” she notes bittersweetly, “I used to be loud and funny on the subway.”
“I was always really loud, really obnoxious”
But the discussion also covers the whole range of Ritter’s career and early life. It’s surprising to think of Ritter growing up in “the sticks” as she calls them. But she spent her childhood on a farm in Shickshinny (population 838), feeding the cattle at 5am. But it also fits perfectly with her determination to build a life outside it. And her embracing of her new career when Elite Models scouted her outside a shopping centre. Before long she was skipping school to head into the big city alone to get modelling jobs. “In the summer time I would walk around wearing a bandana as a shirt, going to my go sees,” she remembers,”No chaperone. I looked ridiculous”.
Quickly though, she discovered she preferred acting as something she could better control and develop at. “I can be better, I can be funnier, I can turn up earlier… Acting was something I could get better at”. It stood in contrast to the more unpredictable and uncontrollable model castings. “I can’t control if my nose is pointy”.
“Whatever happens next…”
As we’re brought through Ritter’s career from Breaking Bad to Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23 to Jessica Jones, it’s hard to say we truly get under her skin despite her candor and lack of ego. She remains an apparently contradictory bundle of traits – both goofy and silly yet highly motivated and keenly insightful; massively charismatic and engaging yet ‘recharging her batteries’ by sitting at home knitting;tough yet strangely vulnerable.
Despite this being recorded before the cancellation news broke, it nevertheless casts an unintended shadow. “Whatever happens next [after Jessica Jones] will feel inferior,” she says at one point, before recalling more optimistically “but I felt that after Don’t Trust the B”
Another David Tennant Does a Podcast with…
…Michael Sheen. The celebrated actor, who not only appeared in the 2011 Doctor Who episode The Doctor’s Wife, but co-stars with Tennant in Good Omens, is the next in the series to drop by Tennant Towers.