The character's past guides her future in a new interview for 'Marvel's Jessica Jones,' streaming now on Netflix!
It’s Patsy! Or it’s Trish Walker, whichever you prefer, though you can’t deny that no matter the name, Rachael Taylor kicked butts and took names in “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” as Jessica’s foster sister and best friend in the show’s debut season.
We checked in with Ms. Taylor to see what’s on her mind about her character as she prepares for Season 2 of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”
Marvel.com: Rachael, what things about Trish are you interested in exploring more of in a second season?
Rachael Taylor: Even though there was plenty of meat on the bone in the first season, I actually think we’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of what we could potentially explore with Trish Walker. I think one of the things that sits right under the surface in the first season is this, not maliciousness, but certainly an envy for Jessica’s super powered abilities. Her giftedness, as we call it in the series. I think there is a very ambitious side to Trish and I wonder how it could continue into a second season and what that would mean.
I also think it was only by the end of the first season that we got to see some of the darker undercurrents to Trish’s backstory. And of course, there was that genius invention of [series creator] Melissa Rosenberg to thread the Marvel comic book universe lineage of Patsy Walker into this universe, when she was a child star. I think that was very, very clever, and that’s another untapped resource that we touched on in the first season but I really think we could expand upon it.
Marvel.com: And given that she was the one that created the Jewel costume and was trying to convince Jessica to wear it, how willing do you think Trish’d be to actually create the Hellcat yellow and blue costume?
Rachael Taylor: I don’t know. I think this is, again, the genius of Melissa Rosenberg, that she’s created characters that are never one thing. So, on one hand, Jessica says [to Trish] in the script, “What else could you possibly want? You’re beautiful, you have money, you have a talk show,” and Trish’s like, “To save the world, of course.” And she means it, from the truest place that any character could possibly mean it. But then I also think there’s this incredible damage to Trish as a result of her history as a child star and a result of her own abuse at the hands of her mother. And that’s part of the fabric of our show and what Melissa has explored in the first season, is abuse in varying iterations.
In the case of Jessica and Kilgrave, [Jeri Hogarth] has her own perspective on it, my character has her own perspective of it, but whether the characters have been “Kilgraved” or not, they all chime in on the subject matter of abuse, be it psychological, physical, or sexual. And I wonder what that means for Trish. On one hand, I think there is this very earnest desire to save the world, to be a hero, to make it right. But on the other hand, I think there’s been a cumulative damage to her as a result of being a celebrity when she was a child. So I wonder how she would actually take on that [super hero] mantle, if that became part of the story.
Marvel.com: How does the abuse Trish suffered as a child possibly color her understanding of what’s happened to Jess and allow her to forgive what Jess had to do in order to cope with everything?
Rachael Taylor: The thing that Trish has to forgive is that Jess abandoned her, even if it was for an unimaginably terrible and traumatic reason, [for] what happened with Kilgrave. I think Jessica is really the only person that Trish has been able to truly rely on and the only person that has stood up for her true self. I looked into a bunch of child stars when I was preparing the character and I think that the main source of damage comes from feeling that they’re loved for what they do and not who they are. The maternal/paternal or familial love or any kind of love is dependant on them being successful, making money, being sparkly, being famous, whatever the thing is. And with child athletes as well, it’s dependent on the win, it’s dependent on them succeeding in the game.
I think Jess was the first person to not care about the exterior parts of Patsy Walker or Trish Walker. She was the first person to see her for who she really was and a lot of what goes on for Trish is, ironically, about control as well. Ironic, because that’s part of the fabric of the show as well. I think Trish is very invested in trying to control potentially harmful elements in her life. She has a state of the art home security system, she’s doing Krav Maga, she’s very selective with the people she has in her life, she has the security detail. Even that she’s on radio and not on television, that seems very curated to me, that she can contribute to the world in a meaningful way and give voices to women and voices to real people. Because I think that’s something she would really like to do, but she does it in a way that’s one step removed from maybe having your own talk show.
Marvel.com: It’s also very intriguing that Trish allows Will Simpson [Wil Traval] in after that very traumatic first encounter with him…
Rachael Taylor: She has a blind spot when it comes to Jessica, and because Will assaulted Trish when he was Kilgraved, that’s such a blind spot for Trish. She has such tenderness in that domain because Jessica was Kilgraved and she knows how damaging it was to Jessica. And I do think there’s a little bit of codependency, a little shred in there, by getting closer to Will and helping Will and helping repair Will, she can salvage the fact that she truly wasn’t there for Jessica – whether Jessica cut her out or didn’t allow her to be is kind of a moot point.
The end result is that Trish wasn’t allowed to be there in the way that Jessica was there for Trish and I think because Will was Kilgraved, Trish walked right into that. She walked right into that relationship because it was a proxy for her friendship with Jessica in a way. I could always understand that. What’s a good “as if”? A good “as if” is, if your best friend in the world was a heroin addict and then you met someone who also was a heroin addict, you would feel a kind of kinship there. You would feel more kindly toward them because of your experience. I think she could understand Will, which is very dangerous. It was not the right choice for her, but I think that was her justification of it.
Marvel.com: After she takes the pills to amp up, and there’s a moment where you see her relish that to a certain degree, at least initially. Do you think there’s a point where she almost understands Will a little too much? Is that a hint of that darker undercurrent that you’re talking about?
Rachael Taylor: I think so. I don’t think Trish wants to be powerful to anybody’s detriment, certainly not Jessica’s, because I do think one of the core elements of the series and of the first season and why I wanted to do the project was the friendship between Trish and Jessica is an anchoring element for the show. It’s grounded; it’s the one genuinely warm and intact, positive piece of the show. And that was something that Krysten [Ritter] and I really wanted to do; we wanted to keep that friendship as a safe space for the two women, which I think is impressive that it exists there as an element in the show because it’s a dark series. And I think to have that one surviving relationship of humanity is really important.
Underneath all of it, there’s a part of Trish that is very covetous of what Jessica can do and very frustrated that in Trish’s eyes, Jessica somewhat squanders her gifts to a certain extent. Aside from the fact that she’s very damaged, she’s a reluctant super hero, which is part of what makes her such a lovable character. She’s post-super hero, in a way, and I think Trish would much more be the Captain America version of a super hero, fully embraced, fully realized. She has that very clean, All-American streak. I do think that twists in some really dark ways and I think when she takes the pills, we get the first glimpse of how badly Trish really wants some of the things that her friends have.
Marvel.com: And that’s interesting too because Trish is the one who brings out the Jewel costume – she’s the one encouraging Jessica into that super hero world.
Rachael Taylor: And she’s her mother’s daughter, too. We get our habits from our parents. She grew up in a household that was like, “Come on, Patsy. Don’t eat that pizza. You have to do this. You’ve gotta build your brand.” There’s also the very realistic element which is, outside of the super hero world or outside of the implications of being a super hero, that we learn from our parents. I do think there’s little codependent streaks between Trish and Jessica. There are parts of Trish as well that wants to control Jessica, a little bit.
And just touched upon in the first season, very under the surface, Trish absolutely inserts herself in this story. Jessica just comes to her for help and Trish shows back up with the “Alias Investigations” door in the beginning and checks in and gets involved and rents a van and puts on an outfit and really inserts herself in this conflict. I think there’s a part of Trish that A) Doesn’t want to be left behind and B) wants to try to save Jessica, not unlike when her mother thought she was doing the right thing for Trish, so that’s kind of interesting, too. It’s complicated. It’s really complicated.
Marvel.com: If she had the abilities, what would the Trish Walker iteration of being the Captain America type super hero look like?
Rachael Taylor: Well, I’m not sure, because there are all these compounding and compacting elements [because] she is a victim of child trauma. She used to be a celebrity [and now] she has tremendous outreach in terms of her voice. There’s a whole bunch of potential ways she could seed it with her radio station, and that she has friends like Jessica that are super heroes that have taken a very different path. I don’t know exactly what it would look like for her.
What I love about the show and all of the characters in it is none of the characters are just one thing. And there’s this brilliant little wink by Melissa Rosenberg that all of the characters have an alias. They all have the thing that they present to the world and the thing that they really are. And sometimes more than one alias, they have more than one “A.K.A.” And I think Trish has a number of them. I think there is a part of her that is alpha that actually, if she had the kind of abilities that Jessica had, she would probably be President of the United States in that world or the equivalent. She would take it as far as she could because she has that in her.
Marvel.com: So is this your formal announcement that Trish will be running for President in Season 2?
Rachael Taylor: That would be amazing. That would be incredible, but I also think there’s another version of it where Trish having the powers that Jessica has could really unravel here. She’s taken a step back from public life; she’s done a lot of work on herself. She’s been in expensive therapy, she has an apartment with like seventeen codes that you have to – you know there actually is a code on the set of the Trish Walker apartment set?
Rachael Taylor: It’s only matched to my thumbprints. So, if the art department wants to open the door, I have to be like, “Okay, I’m coming.” It’s kind of amazing, all these little tricks that make the world so fascinating and also make the world so real. These little elements that bleed onto the screen. I welcome whatever twists and turns Trish takes. I think there are a number of them and I think they might surprise you and me. I have no idea what they are and I believe they could go completely left of field.
There’s a part of Trish that really enjoys being the silent support network. I think she really loves that. I think that’s enough for her, certainly in the first season though, she really wants to see Jessica thrive and heal and make it right and recover. And I think she absolutely means it. And then there’s the other potential reading of the radio show and playing the best best-friend ever that is about her setting herself up to kind of eventually get back in the spotlight, whatever that means. I think both are true. I think that’s very real and people are very often more than one thing or both at the same time.
There are a lot of contradictions in all of the characters in “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.” And Trish’s main contradiction, I think, is that she’s very pure of heart but she has a kind of unholy ambition right under the surface. She’ll take that pill, she’ll fight back against her ex-boyfriend, she’ll entangle herself with someone who is dangerous from the outset. Will Simpson is dangerous from the outset with Trish but she’ll entangle herself with him because, well, she’s got a blind spot because he was Kilgraved but also maybe that’s going to get her closer into the drama that’ll entangle her a little bit further. There’s a bunch of different dynamics going on.
Marvel.com: That blind spot for Will, do you think that still exists after everything that happened in the first season?
Rachael Taylor: Kind of, but that’s just my opinion. I have no idea where it goes. I don’t think that blind spot would be something that’s completely closed. I think he could show back up and Trish has that, that’s her Achilles heel. She wants to make it right.
Marvel.com: And she wasn’t able to save him.
Rachael Taylor: Yes.
Marvel.com: If she used him as a proxy for not being able to save Jessica, but by the end of the season, she has saved Jess but she wasn’t able to save Will, would it seem like the roles were reversed?
Rachael Taylor: Right. You would think he would be primed to come back in some way, and also there’s this other strand that we set up in the first season and I have no idea where it goes, but Trish has started to scratch the surface on the pharmaceutical company that is responsible for Jess’s super powers. She started to get close to why she is who she is and I wonder how that could lead back to Will or what that might mean. That’s a pretty intriguing avenue to open up, and I think around the tenth episode is when her mother comes in with the kind of dangling carrot and goes, “Do you want this?”
Marvel.com: Is Trish’s desire to start scratching that and poking that bear, in your eyes is that again her trying to entangle herself?
Rachael Taylor: Maybe – I don’t know! It could be. I think it could be about her wanting to entangle it, but I think it could be about Jessica being the person who saved Trish’s life. I think Trish would really like to do the same. I think there’s a part of her that is always gonna feel like she owes Jess. And of course, they can gussy it up with, “You can sleep in my spare room,” or “I can write you a check,” but I think Trish would really like to make a substantial gesture to Jessica than just signing a check and buying her a plane ticket, you know? We’ll see. It’s all speculation. It could go any way!
Watch the first season of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” streaming now only on Netflix! Follow @JessicaJones on Twitter and like “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.