While Jessica Jones wasn’t the first time David Tennant played a villain in his career, his time as Kilgrave was definitely an eye opener for those used to seeing him as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who or Alec Hardy on Broadchurch. On screen, him controlling people with the power of suggestion and his blatant disregard for the week being of everyone around him was frightening to watch. Behind the scenes, of course, the actor was nothing like his character, but his enthusiasm for participating in Jessica Jones was apparently quite clear as evidenced by how he prepared for each of his scenes.
This past weekend at Wizard World Portland (via YouTuber Jazzmyn), Jessica Jones herself, Krysten Ritter, gave her panel audience the inside scoop on how Tennant would arrive when called to set for his scenes on the Marvel Netflix series. According to her:
Whenever he is called to set, they’re like, ‘Mr. Tennant, we’re ready for you,’ he gets up and runs full speed. And you’re like, ‘What is he doing? You sit around a lot, is he trying to get some exercise?’ But no, he’s just that excited!
While Tennant’s performance was amazing (cementing Kilgrave as one of the MCU’s best villains), it’s good to hear that when not on camera, he was clearly excited to be a part of that show. As the day wears on, actors usually get less energetic, but from Ritter’s account, Tennant was always eager to go once he was called for. That said, one wonders if on days where he shot more scenes than usual, he was having trouble breathing from all that running. Oh well, at least he got enough as much physical exercise as mental exercise while on the job.
Originally named Kevin Thompson, Tennant’s Kilgrave gained his special ability from an experimental viral treatment his parents gave him to save him from a neurological disorder. He subsequently used his mind control to get whatever he desired and enslave others to do his bidding. Eventually he crossed paths with Jessica Jones and forced her to stay with him for months, but after he was struck by a bus, she was able to escape him. A year later, he returned while still enamored with Jessica, and tried to get her back under his control by tormenting her personal life. No spoilers for those who haven’t seen Jessica Jones yet, but the way the Season 1 finale ended, it’s unlikely Tennant will return as Kilgrave in Season 2. He’ll just have to find another project to continue his running.
If you haven’t seen Tennant’s performance as Kilgrave yet, all 13 episodes of Jessica Jones Season 1 are available on Netflix. Just don’t expect to see Kilgrave sprint with glee in the same way Tennant did.