In Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Susie Abromeit plays Pam, the personal assistant and love interest of power lesbian attorney Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss). But things are complicated by the fact that Jeri is still married and her wife, Wendy (Robin Weigert), isn’t in any rush to sign the divorce papers. Despite all the people in Jeri’s life warning Pam she’s a selfish person, Pam only sees the woman she loves, and who loves her in return.
We talked with Susie about being a part of the hit Netflix series and her on-screen love affair with “Trinity from The Matrix.”
AfterEllen.com: It must be so exciting to be a part of a show that people were so excited about before it even hit Netflix, and then to see how pleased fans are after watching.
Susie Abromeit: It’s just been really overwhelming. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more amazing response for a show. It’s trending, I think, on Twitter or something like that where it was the top trending TV show, and number one on IMDB. It doesn’t get better than that, having a really insanely popular show. It’s really exciting.
AE: What have you been hearing about Pam?
SA: Well, there’s a really amazing comment on Twitter—I think it was another actor mentioning how many [Diane von Furstenberg] wrap dresses does Pam own in her closet. Being able to wear a pretty amazing dress—like, every single day is a DVF wrap dress. Hilarious! Which is kind of cool because I feel like I kind of branded myself; branded the character of Pam, you know? But ultimately, Pam—she’s really wanting to do the right thing in the world and she’s a dynamic, sensual powerful character. The assistant to Jeri Hogarth and I think she’s sort of up and coming assistant for Jeri that exhibits some of that same sort of strength but in a different way where she’s able to access more of her femininity.
AE: Did you create any backstory for Pam and how she and Jeri started their courtship?
SA: I really tried to dive into that. Pam’s backstory I explored with—she was kind of a strained relationship with her mom and became a [product] of abuse. I think the show lends itself to talking about abuse, PTSD and damaging relationships so I think when I was diving into Pam’s character, I just felt like I think there was some sort of abuse—maybe like her stepfather took advantage of her and she never had a really great relationship with her mom and then, ultimately, she went to college and started having, I think, her first experimentation with women. Men, I think, kind of treated her as an object so she felt very objectified.
I think I imagined Pam having a really safe, wonderful college roommate, like an athlete, that took care of her and made her feel safe. And her roommate happened to be a lesbian and sort of experimented with that and then kind of realized, “I really sort like this so much better.”
It’s not lost on me that Carrie’s more like a mother figure to her, in a sense. Because she is powerful and [Pam] is in the submissive role of being the assistant, I found that to be very interesting because I think there might have been an interesting dynamic where maybe her mother was a bit cold and frigid but maybe in the same ways that Jeri could be cold and frigid. But Pam felt very special the way that Robin’s character had felt special. In the beginning with her relationship with Jeri, there was a quote basically saying, “Even though you were a dick to everyone, you weren’t that way to me.”
AE: There’s a very tense moment where Jeri takes Pam to the restaurant where she proposed to Wendy, and Wendy happens to be there. What was it like shooting that?
SA: They’re such pros so it was just an amazing, amazing time to be able to work with Carrie and Robin. Their body of work is pretty amazing. We were kind of just playing with different ideas about—at first, it’s very obvious—the anger, but what I liked about how Robin played it was, she made her character very empathetic. It was more sad and hurt than anything else, when people sort of show that side. Initially, there’s a lot of anger and revenge, but then I thought playing against that was a really beautiful and interesting choice. It’s true. There’s a wide variety of crying and rage and to be upset—all of it.
AE: What I love about Jessica Jones is that the relationships between the women are treated the same as heterosexual relationships. So often on TV, it’s clear writers don’t know how to do that. A lot of people who watch the show also think Jessica and Trish have a bit of a flirtation. What do you think about that?
SA: Thank you. I mean, I feel like because you have two beautiful women working together that are often kicking ass and doing things strong women do—I think it goes beyond that of just real sisterhood. “I got you, I have your back.” I think it’s the fine line of best friends. My favorite movie of all time is Fried Green Tomatoes. It could be because they’re such sisters that there can be a level of closeness that might be really uncomfortable for people. Or it could be, actually, that they’re alluding to a lesbian relationship. I don’t think that’s where this show is going because I think they’re, more than anything else, sisters. It’s kind of like Batman and Robin—[people] always said that there was something, like a bromance.
There’s a level of amazing intimacy between two people and they happen to be of the same sex. So, yeah, I think that will always— people will allude to that when people are that intimate with one another. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be sexual, but I think when you have a great deal of history and you will take a bat to somebody for a friend? You’re family. You’ll do anything for your family. The intimacy of how well you know each other in families is next to none, usually.
AE: What kind of future can Pam and Jeri have now? Things didn’t end so well for either of them.
SA: People were speculating about a Daredevil crossover where Murdock gets me out and represents me. I don’t know if that’s a possibility or not, but that would be really exciting. I think that storyline does need to be wrapped up. We need to know what happens with Pam and Jeri and that was actually a popular story on the internet, wondering what was going to happen. What happens next? To leave that, it’s like, that’s not realistic, you know? It makes sense to talk about what happened with that storyline for sure.
AE: Is there anything else you really enjoyed about being a part of this show, specific to playing Pam or anything that happened while shooting?
SA: It was awesome playing a lesbian. I loved it! It was great. I made out with Trinity from The Matrix! [laughs] I was talking with my manager who is gay—she’s amazing—and when she heard I got to make out with Trinity from The Matrix, she was like, “Oh my god. She’s our hero, you don’t understand!” So it was really beautiful because I got to ask a lot of questions about the whole gamut of figuring out who we are and the whole conversation I had with my manager—we talked in length about it, about the experience of—because I think gay is a spectrum. Isn’t everyone a little bit gay? [laughs] If I had to be on the spectrum, one being super straight, 10 being super gay, I would say that I was probably a two or two and a half. I enjoy making out. I was like “Yeah!”
AE: And you got to do it with Carrie-Anne Moss. You’re the luckiest two in the world!
SA: Yeah! [laughs]
Follow Susie on Twitter @susieabromeit. Jessica Jones is available on Netflix now.