Joining The Team
Jessica Jones season three is available to watch now on Netflix and here’s a feature from Marvel on two new characters for the third season…
Marvel.com visited the set of Jessica Jones Season 3 and spoke to Aneesh Sheth, who plays Jessica’s new assistant Gillian, and Jeremy Bobb, who plays Gregory Sallinger, a mysterious figure who is really into old-school photography – and Jessica Jones.
First: the good guys! Gillian is taking the professional place of Malcolm, who is now working for Jeri Hogarth at her firm. While a “rapport” with Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) might be too generous of a word, we found out from Aneesh Sheth about Gillian’s relationship with Jessica.
“I think there’s a line in the first episode where she says I brought her on just because she does her job and she doesn’t bother me. She makes a point where she says ‘I want to keep her at arm’s length, but she does a good job.’ The relationship there is very much like, ‘I appreciate the work she does for me, but I really don’t want to get personal with her.’”
Sheth described Gillian as “sassy” and “snarky,” and confirms that she’s aware of Jessica’s super powers. “Last season, [Jessica] defeated a villain. They allude to the fact that there’s been press since then and her business is booming.”
Now that she’s part of the Super Hero world, Gillian still has a job to do. And Jessica Jones is still her boss. Sheth explained how their professional relationship worked:
“They’ve got their moments of empathy for each other. I think Jessica understands that Gillian is coming from a place of concern and love, and even though she doesn’t necessarily appreciate all her snark all the time, she understands that she’s just looking out for her.”
One part of herself that Sheth is bringing to Gillian is her gender identity. “I’m transgender and the character of Gillian is also trans, but there is no mention of her being trans within the show nor kind of a narrative around her identity, which I think is wonderful because trans people exist in the world. It’s not always about their narrative. So I think it’s just really great to have her exist and see where that story can take us.”
She added: “I’m very curious to see where we go. I think it’s important in terms of representation to have people out there recognize that you’ve got a South Asian trans person on television who’s kind of creating representation, but also how wonderful it is for that person to exist in a show without having to hit [everyone] over the head and avoid sensationalism.”
So, what drives Gillian? “I think that the position that she’s found was hard to come by [as a trans woman of color]. I think she’s had to work really hard to get there. When I’m building her backstory, I think about where she came from, what was she doing before this. The other day it occurred to me that she probably has a journalism degree or something like that. I don’t get my script until a couple of weeks before, so I’m always picking up on clues and figuring out a better way to make her more authentic and well-rounded.”
While Sheth was able to tell us a lot about Gillian’s background, Jeremy Bobb, who plays Sallinger, was a bit more tight-lipped about his character and how we are introduced to him.
“I can tell you he’s quite a nuisance to Jessica, and ‘nuisance’ is putting it pretty lightly. He comes in pretty early on in the season when it’s discovered that he’s doing some illegal things, and that he’s discovered to be doing those things by happenstance. It’s very random how it’s discovered, and when he figures out that they’ve learned some of the stuff he’s been up to, he gets pretty angry and starts to retaliate. When they stumble upon this stuff I think they feel like they’ve got to stop him now, that they have this information and they kind of egg each other on until it becomes way out of control.”
Part of what drives Sallinger to be so upset at being discovered is what Bobb described as “his own sense of himself, and it’s something he associates with justice, his own sense of justice and culture and society.”
Bobb said he was drawn to the character because “there’s an opportunity to show different faces of this person, and I like to play a character that I have to shift and shape a little bit, even if it’s just a character that isn’t shifting, but I have to play it. I really enjoy that. But when the character does it himself, it’s pretty cool. It’s subtle for him. I’m not turning into a creature or anything, but that’s just interesting that he carries himself with one set of people one way and a different way with others.”
One thing that shaped Sallinger, according to Bobb, was his past. “One thing from his childhood is he that he had some damaging stuff at home, and I think an escape for him was the wrestling team. So his antagonism, physical antagonism, is driven heavily in that way. He’s definitely a one-man show. He’s a solo act in the way he executes everything. It’s definitely a system of his but he doesn’t trust people easily.”
He also stopped short of referring to his character as a villain, saying he was a “sizeable, significant antagonist” to Jessica Jones. Mainly because he knows that Sallinger believes that what he’s doing is right, or at least justified.
“Any villain or antagonist written with any quality fits in that category, and usually it’s the ones that are written broadly in a general way. It’s not a lot of fun, you wind up doing things you don’t believe a person would do. I think that’s one good thing about this show in particular is they’re trying to anchor it in some reality, some real world, what would it be like if these things occurred in the real world.”
When discussing Sallinger’s approach to his pursuit of Jessica, he said it wasn’t purely about her. “I think in pursuing his sense of justice he’s pretty fearless about that. But he’s very, very smart, so he doesn’t take very many risks that he doesn’t have to take.”
Both Sheth and Bobb were careful not to spill any secrets about Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 3, but you’ll be able to see the next chapter very soon!