EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg talks 'AKA Jessica Jones'

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 17:36 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg talks 'AKA Jessica Jones'

Ever since Walt Disney Studios acquired Marvel Comics in 2009 fans have been wondering just what the studio has planned for “The House of Ideas” vast catalog of characters and material. We know that they plan to continue what Marvel Studios began doing on the big screen in 2008 with Iron Man, which will culminate with next summer’s highly anticipated superhero team-up movie The Avengers, but what about on the small screen? Disney does own ABC after all and there has not been a live-action TV series based on a Marvel property on network television since The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in the late ‘70s. But that could all change soon as it was announced last year that Twilight screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg would write and executive produce a pilot for ABC based on the extremely popular Marvel comic book series "Alias" by Brian Michael Bendis.

"Alias," which will be re-titled AKA Jessica Jones for TV, tells the story of Jessica Jones (“Jewel”), a former superhero who gave up costumed crime fighting to become a private detective. While Rosenberg’s biggest success has come from penning the entire Twilight film series, she’s no stranger to writing for television as she’s a former writer and executive producer of Dexter. She is even familiar with writing comic book adapted material having penned several episodes of the Batgirl inspired series Birds of Prey. I recently had a chance to speak with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg about the status of AKA Jessica Jones while she was out promoting The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, which will be in theaters on November 18th.

I began by asking the screenwriter about the project and she said that while it was still in the works, “we won’t be using the same title for obvious reasons.” She is of course referring to the popular J.J. Abrams spy series of the same name that ran on ABC from 2001-2006. I then reminded Rosenberg that since the network owns the old series they could probably legally use the same name. “That’s true,” she laughed. “Maybe we can get Jennifer Garner?”

Brian Michael Bendis is such an amazing storyteller,” she continued. “I read that comic book and I completely saw it on screen. There are things I took directly from the comic book and just put in the script. That was so much fun to do.” I followed up by asking Rosenberg about the current status of the project. “ It’s still sitting at ABC and we’re hoping to get on the schedule for next fall,” she said. “I love this character. That is an incredibly damaged, dark, complex female character that kicks ass. That’s my favorite thing about it.”

I also asked Rosenberg if the series would be similar to Bendis’ comic and if Jones will still be a former superhero turned private detective. “Yeah absolutely, but Jessica Jones is actually a former superhero with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” she explained. “My psychologist father-in-law said, ‘I don’t know why all superheroes aren’t PTSD.’ It’s a trip. So she is wrestling with having this damaged past and still trying to contribute something to the world.”

In the Marvel Universe, Jessica Jones is married to Marvel bad-boy Luke Cage and the two eventually have a child together. There have been rumors for years that Marvel was working on a feature film about the hero-for-hire starring Tyrese Gibson (Fast Five) in the title role and when we spoke to him earlier this year he was optimistic that the film would still happen. So I asked Rosenberg if Cage would be included in the series. “Luke Cage is in there. Absolutely, I love that character,” she confirmed. I followed up and asked if she thought Jones and Cage’s child, Danielle, could eventually be introduced in the series. “That would be way down the road,” she answered. “When you give your superheroes babies it gets very complicated. I went through that on Dexter, although it gives you some new interesting storytelling.”

Finally, I asked Rosenberg if she is a fan of comic books and the comic book genre in general. “I don’t read a lot of them (comic books). ABC gave that one to me and I had never heard of it or Brian Michael Bendis. But now I’m a fan, he is really so great. But I was new to it for sure.”

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 opens in theaters on November 18th. 

AKA Jessica Jones is currently in development at ABC. 

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