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Krysten Ritter: 'Girl in the Woods' character is how she looked in high school

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Krysten Ritter: 'Girl in the Woods' character is how she looked in high school
Krysten Ritter directed the first episodes of "The Girl in the Woods." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Krysten Ritter, who directed the first episodes of The Girl In the Woods, premiering Thursday on Peacock, said she modeled the lead character after her high school appearance. Carrie (Stefanie Scott) emerges from a cult that lives in the woods and she's surprised by modern society.

"I kind of dressed her like myself in high school," Ritter told UPI in an interview. "A little Alicia Silverstone in the Aerosmith video, a little Claire Danes in My So Called Life."

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Ritter, 39, was in high school in the late 1990s when those aired. She said she worked with costume designer Erin Orr to design Carrie's look.

When production company Crypt TV invited Ritter for a general meeting to discuss projects, she said she came prepared with a full pitch for The Girl in the Woods, and continued to add to it after she got the job.

"I would continue to build on it," Ritter said. "I would pull references from other shows and movies and characters that I loved and put them in."

Ritter's work on the first episode establishes the aesthetic of the show. Ritter said she wanted to keep scenes with the cult in the woods monochromatic with brown and beige earth tones.

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"I wanted it to feel like when our main character left the colony and met her friends, that they were the ones bringing color into her life," Ritter said.

Set in the fictional Pacific Northwest town of West Pine, Carrie meets Tasha (Sofia Bryant) and Nolan (Misha Osherovich) when she goes to town. The small town also reflected Ritter's childhood, she said.

"I wanted to show a part of the country that is struggling," Ritter said. "What it's like to be young and in a small town and want out but not know what that means."

Tasha and Misha help Carrie find new clothes so she can fit in. Carrie also witnesses social media for the first time in her life.

"We have a character from a colony and a cult who doesn't have any tech," Ritter said. "They see the world completely differently so we get to have a different lens on our modern world than we would if our character was just from down the street."

Members of the cult come looking for Carrie in West Pine. Carrie has relinquished her duties to guard a door. In her absence, monsters have gotten loose.

Ritter follows the Jaws rulebook of showing the monster as little as possible. When she does, Ritter said she is careful to highlight the scariest parts of the creature design.

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"You want to make sure to camera test those things so that when you are showing the monsters, you're showing what looks the best about it," Ritter said.

Ritter began to act professionally in 2001. She played Marvel's hero Jessica Jones in a Netflix series, the title B---- in the sitcom Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, played Mia Goodman in Veronica Mars and had a memorable arc as Jesse Pinkman's tragic girlfriend on Breaking Bad.

Ritter directed a Season 3 episode of Jessica Jones. The actor-director said she's added new professional interests to her repertoire as her career developed.

"I just love what I do and was like, 'Oh, I want to try that. Oh, I want to do that,'" Ritter said. "Kind of just picking little pieces from my career as I go."

Although Jessica Jones ended in 2019, Ritter still looks back fondly on her superhero.

"It's such an honor to have played a character that resonates with people so much, especially for women and girls," Ritter said. "That people connect with Jessica in a way that is pretty huge and awesome. I'm so proud to have played her. She's a badass character."

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Ritter had not heard that Charlie Cox will play Daredevil again in a Disney+ series called Echo. If that leads to another opportunity for Jessica Jones, Ritter is amenable.

"I would be there in a second if there was ever a chance to do it," Ritter said. "I would be there."

All eight episodes of The Girl in the Woods are available now on Peacock.

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