Former “Daily Show” contributor Jessica Williams has a lot in common with the character she plays in her new Netflix film, “The Incredible Jessica James” (available for streaming on Friday). Or so she hopes.
“Jessica Williams is very relatable to Jessica James. In a lot of ways, she’s someone I aspire to be — on a non-stress day,” said the actress and comedian. “She’s unapologetic, she’s honest, she’s independent and ambitious, and I love all of those things in woman. So it was exciting to be able to play her.”
“It was extremely flattering” to Williams that it didn’t take a huge stretch to play the Jessica James character. After all, creator Jim Strouse wrote the role specifically with her in mind.
“It felt so amazing to be offered this — and written by a white man, for me,” laughed the African-American actress. “That also made me feel good. Okay, this is a nice tribute to black-white relations. That’s a very good thing.”
In the film, James is an aspiring New York playwright who launches a new and surprising romance with a guy — following a breakup
Williams also is an executive producer on the project and noted she was allowed to tap into her improvisational talents and contribute a lot to the script.
Looking back on her time spent working on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Williams called that “my grad school. I learned so much from Jon and the entire team at ‘The Daily Show.’ … Plus, by moving to New York — which being from Chicago you can understand — I learned what real weather is all about! As a L.A. girl, winter was a total revelation!”