How Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter Approached Making Her LGBTQ+ Inclusive Teen Monster Hunter Series, Girl In The Woods

Krysten Ritter obviously killed it on the Marvel series Jessica Jones before saying goodbye to the role in 2019 alongside the rest of Netflix’s own Marvel universe. The actress’ latest project, The Girl in the Woods, has her behind the camera as a director and executive producer, and she really took the opportunity to create an inclusive set that challenges gender dynamics along with telling a worthwhile LGBTQ+ story filled with horror

The Girl In The Woods is a brand new series streaming on Peacock and made in association with Crypt TV. It’s based on the short film of the same name and follows a mysterious girl named Carrie (played by Insidious 3’s Stefanie Scott) who escapes to a small town from her cult-like colony as a world of monsters begin to open up in a nearby forest. When CinemaBlend spoke to Krysten Ritter about what she brought to her set as an EP and the director of the first half of the season, she shared this: 

This was such an inclusive, amazing set. Everybody was so excited about the representation we have on this show. The LGBTQ+ community is front and center. This show flips everything on its head. Any opportunity we had to do that, even down to background performers in a scene, the script might say ‘people are working in the kitchen,’ let’s not just put women in the kitchen, let’s put some men and when we’re seeing people with toddlers, let’s have the caretaker, let’s flip that on it’s head too. Any little opportunity we had to change how we normally think was really exciting. Our creative at Crypt, Jasmine Johnson and I really had a lot of fun doing that and we found ourselves like little kids. It felt like we were doing something really special and getting an opportunity to do that is rare. We just loved it so much.

Krysten Ritter really took things outside the box when filming her show, even looking at the background actors and making sure even they served as opposites of the stereotypes we might associate with certain people, such as cooks or caretakers. Not to mention the series was completely written by women (J. Casey Modderno and Felicia Ho) among its inclusive crew. 

Even though Krysten Ritter is known for some dark projects, with Breaking Bad being another classic entry in her filmography, she's not necessarily known for straight horror projects. Ritter shared why The Girl In The Woods spoke to her specifically: 

It has a little bit of everything that I like. All my favorite words and I felt like everything I’d done in my career I could kind of pull from. It had this reluctant superhero origin story vibe, it had cool fight sequences and stunt choreography, which I’d done in Jessica Jones with doing the Hellcat story that I directed in Season 3 of Jessica Jones. I’m also from a small town just like these characters and I wanted to get that right and have that feel really authentic and show a part of the world that is really struggling. It’s hard to be young and being in a small town, you want to get out and you don’t know what that means so I wanted to take that very seriously and I just love a badass female monster hunter.

Krysten Ritter took a lot of her ecclectic experiences from her life over to the series, between her own professional work over the past 20 years and her personal upbringing of being from a small town. Ritter continued, telling CinemaBlend:  

Any opportunity to flip a stereotype on its head. I also loved the opportunity for all the worldbuilding. I love a cult. Getting to create that world and that monochrome-y look and then juxtapose that with the modern world of teens and tech and them being on their phones and their outfits and their makeup. I just felt like that was too fun.

The Girl In The Woods blends the fun melodrama of teen shows with a monster-filled series that builds upon the internal fears the characters are going through. Stefanie Scott plays the monster hunter Carrie, I Am Not Okay With This’ Sofia Bryant plays Tasha, who helps Carrie with her exile, and Freaky’s Misha Osherovich plays her best friend Nolan, who is trying to figure out their gender identity in between the adventure and horrors of the series. 

Along with her new show, we’ll also look forward to seeing Krysten Ritter team with WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen for a limited series called Love & Death (opens in new tab) for HBO Max, and perhaps a little Nightbooks 2 if that ending tease gets a payoff. You can check out the first season of The Girl In The Woods over on Peacock (opens in new tab)

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.