“#@&*%$!!” — Jessica Jones, on any given day
Because no one demanded it, but I said I’d do it, here are my fan-casting efforts for Jessica Jones. When I did Luke Cage last month, I mentioned that I had skipped over Ms. Jones and would get back to her. I am actually following up on that sooner than I thought I would, for a change. As usual, I hope ya like it!
Once upon a time, Jessica Cambell was a sweet, young high-schooler and classmate of Peter Parker. Then, she and her family were in an auto accident, where they were killed and she was exposed to radioactive chemicals and fell into a coma. Months later, Jessica woke up, was eventually adopted by the Jones family, and soon discovered she had superhuman powers. Inspired by Spider-Man, she had a brief and not-very-successful career as a costumed superhero named “Jewel”. This ended thanks to an encounter with the supervillain “Killgrave, the Purple Man”, under whose psycho-pheromonal thrall she remained for eight months, and during which she fought a few of the Avengers.
After recovering from Killgrave’s influence, the psychologically-scarred and embittered Jones tried being a hardened vigilante named “Knightress”. That didn’t go well, either, but at least she met Luke Cage. Retiring the costume and alias, Jones started up a private detective agency called “Alias Investigations”. Many of her cases involved superhumans of one sort or another. So, naturally, she also crossed paths with several heroes — e.g., Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, various other Avengers and X-Men. She even briefly dated former Ant-Man, Scott Lang. Some in the superhero community didn’t like that she sometimes took on cases involving her former colleagues, but she also assisted the heroes on occasion. She also became best friends with Carol Danvers (aka Ms. Marvel, later Captain Marvel), and she worked with, dated, had a kid with, and married Luke Cage. At one point, she worked as an investigative journalist, doing research (among other things) for Ben Urich on stories involving superhumans. When Cage was leading a faction of the Avengers, Jones took up the identity of “Jewel” again for awhile, but then rechristened herself “Power Woman”.
Some artists have drawn Jones as a typically gorgeous heroine with hourglass figure. Personally, I prefer a more realistic approach, such as Michael Gaydos’ version in the “Alias” series and the last few issues of “The Pulse”. I also really like Mike Mayhew’s covers (see first pic). She’s still quite attractive — what I would call “cute” — and has a pretty good figure, but she doesn’t look like a supermodel. When she was a private investigator (and maybe as an investigative journalist), she was rather rough around the edges — i.e., jaded, hard-drinking and smoking, swearing like a sailor. She may have let herself go a little physically, then, too. While I haven’t read very many stories of her life after having little Danielle, I’m guessing that she cleaned up her act a bit. Probably got in better physical shape, too. Not surprisingly, she is fiercely protective of her family; and, while a reluctant hero, she will put her life on the line when necessary.
[Btw, here’s what the executive producer of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” had to say about F-bombs and skin… “Melissa Rosenberg Reveals What Marvel Wouldn’t Let Her Use in ‘Jessica Jones'”.]
Jones is a fairly slim, white female with varying shades of brown hair (or pink, when adventuring as “Jewel”). Marvel’s wiki lists her as 5’7″, 124 lbs. Obviously, we want an actress to portray her who is at least in the ballpark heightwise — say, 5’4″ to 5’9″. Her age could vary, depending on how early the writers/producers want to start the story. The Netflix show opted to hire someone in her early-to-mid-30s (Krysten Ritter, 5’9″, b.1981) to play Jones close to that age — 30ish(?). That’s fine, though given that she was probably still a teen during her time with Killgrave, I figured she was in her mid-20s when she started the P.I. gig. So, I could also see casting someone under 30 who can pass for mid-20s.
Who do I have in mind? Glad you asked…
The first person I ever thought of for this role was Linda Cardellini (5’3″,b.1975), known for roles in Scooby Doo movies (live and animated), “ER”, and recently as Hawkeye’s wife in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Alas, she is both too old and too short. Sarah Jones (5’3″,b.1983) of “Alcatraz” and “Vegas” could be great, but she’s too short and too classically pretty. I think Jamie-Lynn Sigler (5’3″,b.1981) could be great as Jessica Jones, too; but, I had to cut her due to her height, too. Chloe Bennet (5’6″,b.1992) of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” also has the right look, she fits the younger age requirement, plus she’s right in our desired height range. But,… she’d have to pull double duty as two Marvel characters, and that would be weird. And, that brings us to our 3 finalists…
Genre fans will, of course, recognize the appropriately-named Jewel Staite (5’5.5″,b.1982) from her roles on “Firefly”/Serenity and “Stargate: Atlantis”. She has also appeared on “Warehouse 13”, “Supernatural”, “The Killing”, and “Legends of Tomorrow”. I tend to think of her as sweet Kaylee from “Firefly”, but she has played more mature characters, of course, even those with a bit of a hard edge. So, I think she could pull off the “Jessica Jones” character just fine.
Vanessa Ray (5’4″,b.1981) came on my radar in the first season of “Suits”, but then she got the regular gig as a police officer on “Blue Bloods”. She’s cute/pretty with a slightly funny nose, such that she reminds me of a cross between Gaydos’ and Mayhew’s versions of Jessica Jones. She barely meets our height requirement, but I think her look is just perfect for the role. (Assuming she goes brunette, of course.) I’d love to see her sink her teeth into a darker, edgier character like Jones.
Youngest (and slightly tallest) of my candidates is Tamara Duarte (5’6″,b.1991), who I first saw on a few episodes in the final season of “Haven”. She has also appeared in shows like “Warehouse 13”, “Being Erica”, Dead on Campus, and “Longmire”. I think she has a really good look for “Jessica Jones”, and her character on “Haven” shows she can play cynical, bad attitude. If a series or movie was in need of a 20-something version of Jones, Duarte might be their best bet.
Alrighty, that’s another Fan-Cast down and out for the world to see. (“Down and out”. Heh!) Got problems with my choices? Fire away!
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.