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What Jessica Jones Taught Krysten Ritter About Production And Preparing For Girl In the Woods

More and more these days, we’re seeing our favorite actors turn to behind-the-scenes roles and pick up producing and directing credits rather than solely sticking to being the star in front of the camera. Regina King, John Krasinski, Jordan Peele, and Brie Larson are just a few actors-turned-directors that come to mind. Jessica JonesKrysten Ritter joined that club in 2019 when she directed an episode of the Netflix series, and now she’s doing it on a larger scale with The Girl In The Woods

The Peacock series, made in association with CryptTV, does not include Krysten Ritter as an actor, not even in a cameo. That’s because she pulled double duty as an executive producer and director on the series, alongside Jacob Chase. When CinemaBlend spoke to Ritter, she shared with us when and how she decided she wanted to be behind the camera, along with continuing her acting career in recent roles such as Nightbooks and El Camino.  

I’ve been doing this for a long time and working with the same acting teacher and mentor since 2004 and we’ve always had a macro approach. I’ve never really been the kind of actress who looked at my lines, I’ve always been like what is the scene about, how do you put it into a personal perspective, what the story is trying to tell, and I was always on set being a little sponge. I’ve been number #1 on the call sheet for years and years and years and you see a revolving cast of directors coming in and see this is what they do, this is their style, this is how the crew and actors respond to that, so I’ve always kind of been a sponge picking it up as I go.

At this point, Krysten Ritter has been an actor for over 20 years, and it’s nice to have autonomy about the sorts of projects her name is on. The actress has worked with a lot of directors, especially through her work as a TV actress in arguably the best TV show of all time, Breaking Bad, along with other beloved shows like Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls. It makes a ton of sense that she’d make the shift, and The Girl in the Woods is an inspired choice.  

Stefanie Scott as Carrie in The Girl in the Woods

(Image credit: Peacock/Crypt TV)

The Girl In The Woods balances a bunch of exciting subgenres into one. It’s a teen drama, a small-town horror story and badass monster hunter series. It stars Insidious’ Stefanie Scott, I Am Not Okay With This’ Sofia Bryant and Freaky’s Misha Osherovich. Ritter's decision to helm half the series all started with being the star of the fan-favorite Netflix series. In her words:

Jessica Jones, that was a real boot camp and I got to learn so much about the production side of it and the big picture of it and it was just a moment of ‘Yeah, I want to try this, I think I would be really good at it.’

Krysten Ritter’s time switching up her role in Jessica Jones allowed her to see how much she could get into being a director, as she remembers that, as well. As she recalled about her time helming the episode “A.K.A. You’re Welcome”: 

I got lucky with the episode I [directed] of Jessica Jones; it was sort of a standalone episode focusing on the Hellcat character and telling her origin story. I remember being so immersed in the directing that when I did have to act, I was like ‘Oh, shit! I gotta do hair and makeup, ahh!!’ So it was really nice to be able to just throw myself into all the processes you have to go through as a director.

The series tackles LGBTQ+ themes, such as involving a queer love triangle between its trio. When Ritter spoke with CinemaBlend, she also expressed how much she loved exploring the relationships within the show, as each teen wrestles with their identities and feelings between all the creepy monster tension. She also discussed with us being very intentional about having the “rare” opportunity to craft an inclusive set right down to the background actors. 

All eight episodes of The Girl In The Woods are available to stream on Peacock

Sarah El-Mahmoud

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