Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
|First appearance||Who Censored Roger Rabbit?|
|Voiced by||Kathleen Turner (speaking voice)
Amy Irving (singing voice)
Jessica Rabbit is a fictional character in Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and its loose adaption, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She is depicted as Roger's human toon wife in various Roger Rabbit media. Jessica is renown as one of the most well known sex symbols in animation. She is also well-known for her movie quote "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
Writer Gary K. Wolf based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red from Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood. The film version included inspirations to various actresses. Richard Williams explained, "I tried to make her like Rita Hayworth; we took her hair from Veronica Lake, and Zemeckis kept saying, 'What about the look Lauren Bacall had?'" He described that combination as an "ultimate male fantasy, drawn by a cartoonist." Originally before Robert Zemeckis would be the director of the feature film, Jessica Rabbit started off with a different design with Russi Taylor as the voice actress as depicted in test footage for the film.
In the book, she was an immoral, up-and-coming star and former comic character over whom her estranged husband (comic strip star Roger Rabbit) became obsessed. She is re-imagined in the film as a sultry, but moral, cartoon singer at a Los Angeles supper club called The Ink and Paint Club. She is one of several suspects in the framing of her husband, who is a famous cartoon star. She is voiced by Kathleen Turner. Amy Irving was cast to sing "Why Don't You Do Right?" (a blues song made famous by Peggy Lee) for Jessica's first scene in the movie. According to animation director Richard Williams, other than being a really hot female human toon temptress, she deeply loves her husband Roger. She even calls him her "honey-bunny" and "darling". She claims that he makes her laugh, is a better lover than a driver and that he's magnificent and "better than Goofy" after Roger brandishes his gun at Judge Doom and the Weasels, telling Doom that the meaning of justice would probably hit him like a ton of bricks before Roger literally gets hit by a ton of bricks. As proof of her love she tells Eddie that she'll pay any price for Roger and she even helps prove him innocent by helping in the investigation.
Even though she's a human Toon, she is shown to have a few of the comedic cartoon antics typical of other Toons. One such example was her cleavage having a hammerspace ability as one of the weasels searched her (with obvious perverted intent) for Marvin Acme's last will and testament, only to comically get his hand caught in a bear trap and Valiant commenting on the event with a pun ("Nice booby trap"). Another could be her restrained "wild take" (as she shouts, "Oh, my God, It's DIP!") seeing Judge Doom's scheme involving the Dip, while a subtle effect was added by animator Russell Hall: The bounce of Jessica's bosom was reversed from that of a real woman so that it would bounce up when a real woman's breasts bounce down and vice versa. Furthermore when she blows kisses (as seen to Eddie in one scene) the lip-kisses are also done in a cartoonish style.
After the film, Jessica also appeared in the Roger Rabbit/Baby Herman shorts Tummy Trouble as a nurse, Roller Coaster Rabbit as a damsel in distress, and Trail Mix-Up as a park ranger. In Tummy Trouble and Roller Coaster Rabbit she made no impression, but in Trail Mix-Up Roger fantasizes over her, calling her a 'babe in the woods' and panting like a dog. She also appeared frequently in the Roger Rabbit comic book series, and she had her own feature in most issues of Roger Rabbit's Toontown such as "Beauty Parlor Bedlam," where she comes face to face with female weasel counterpart, Winnie.
With the success of the film and upon the opening of Disney's MGM Studios on May 1, 1989, the film's characters featured prominently in the company. After taking the Studio Backlot Tour, various props decorated the streets including two different photo opportunities with Jessica: a glittery cardboard cutout and "The Loony Bin" photo shop which allowed you to take pictures in costume standing next to an actual cartoon drawing of characters from the film. There was also a plethora of merchandise including Jessica Rabbit rub-on stickers called "pressers". The Jessica Rabbit Store, entitled "Jessica's", was once part of Pleasure Island, Disney’s nightclub attraction and shopping area. The store included a giant 2-sided neon Jessica sign with sequined dress and swinging leg and featured nothing but Jessica Rabbit merchandise. The store closed in 1992.
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
Her line "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" in the film is commonly described as a famous line of hers. It was nominated as one of the greatest quotes by AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes. Samantha Wilson from Uproxx felt that line was a pivotal quote because her quip to Eddie Valiant [the protagonist of the film] is what people remember most about her and what makes Eddie thinks she is guilty.
Jessica Rabbit has received positive reviews and is described as a sex symbol among classic animated characters commonly put as one of the hottest animated female characters among other animated characters such as Betty Boop and Ariel. According to research by Cadbury Dairy Milk, Jessica Rabbit remains the most alluring character in cartoons. Her red dress was also recognized clothing worn by an animated character along with Snow White's dress. In 2008, Jessica Rabbit was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of all explaining that despite being drawn as a classic femme fatale one of the movie's strengths is to allow the character to play against the stereotype". She was also ranked as the sixth greatest animated character by the same magazine stating that "there's more to her than just the sort of lines that would clean sweep America's Next Top Model there's a pure heart and ready wit beneath that magnificent exterior."  Internet Movie Database had a poll that ranked her as the most alluring Disney character according to votes from audiences of the page.
With the release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit In Laserdisc, Variety first reported in March 1994 that observers uncovered several scenes of antics from the animators that supposedly featured brief nudity of Jessica Rabbit in the film. While undetectable when played at the usual rate of 24 film frames per second, the Laserdisc player allowed the viewer to advance frame-by-frame to uncover these visuals. Whether or not they were actually intended to depict the nudity of the character remains unknown. Many retailers said that within minutes of the Laserdisc debut, their entire inventory was sold out. The run was fueled by media reports about the controversy, including stories on CNN and various newspapers.
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- Bath, Dave (24 November 2014). "14 Of The Hottest Female Animated Characters (1 Jessica Rabbit". Retrieved 29 August 2015.
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- "Daily Poll: Discuss past/current daily polls, and propose new polls Of all the Disney animated heroines, who was the most alluring?". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "No Underwear Under There". Chicago Tribune. March 22, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Michael Fleming (March 14, 1994). "Jessica Rabbit revealed". Variety. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
- Adam Sandler (March 16, 1994). "Rabbit frames feed flap". Variety. Retrieved November 4, 2008.