Author Gary K. Wolf based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red from Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood. The film version of the character was inspired by 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. " Before Robert Zemeckis was brought on board as director, Jessica had a different design, and was to be voiced by Russi Taylor. Taylor would go on to provide the voice in test footage from 1981.