• Thursday, September 29, 2022

Entertainment

‘People can have a real visceral response to having a woman superhero’: She-Hulk star Tatiana Maslany

The debut of Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk in the MCU comes a little over a month after Iman Vellani was launched in the superhero pantheon in and as “Ms Marvel”.

Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany presents “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” at the Marvel panel in Hall H of the convention center during Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, July 23, 2022. (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Melvin Samuel

Actor Tatiana Maslany, who plays the eponymous character in the upcoming series “She-Hulk”, says she is looking forward to the response of the show which will give the fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) a new woman superhero.

The debut of Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk in the MCU comes a little over a month after Iman Vellani was launched in the superhero pantheon in and as “Ms Marvel”.

“She-Hulk” is a half-hour legal comedy that follows Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.

“I’m curious about what kind of conversations people will have about this show and with each other. People can have a real visceral response to having a woman superhero, which we’ve already felt online. It’s interesting to me that there is such a visceral response.

“All of the feelings that we have watching a show like this, whether it’s like laughter, all of that, there is so much else going on that challenges people. I’m excited for people to see that,” Maslany said in a virtual global press conference, also attended by PTI.

It was her character’s “conflict” with the superpowers explored in a mundane yet funny approach that made her want to audition for the series, she added.

“She’s built this life for herself that she does not want to let go of. When this thing happens to her, she has to contend with a whole other perception being placed on top of her and expectations of how she should be and who she should be. To navigate those two versions, that to me was super interesting,” the actor said.

Maslany said Ruffalo, who has played The Hulk as one of the original Avengers in the MCU, was “open” to her process of developing the character.

“Mark was so open to my process, (he) was never prescriptive. But one thing I witnessed him do was he would lay down on the ground as Bruce and get up as The Hulk. And, and I was like, ‘Oh, that is like, what 10 years of playing this character and like physically embodying him and like being so inside of him’.”

Each episode of “She-Hulk” has a distinct flavour, said, director Kat Coiro.

“It is a half-hour legal comedy, but it also has a huge cinematic scope and elements of drama, action and suspense. It is a little bit of a peek behind the curtain at every day, sometimes even mundane life of a superhero,” Coiro, whose credits include episodes of “Modern Family” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”, added.

Working on the series was a dream-come-true moment, she recalled.

“I remember very vividly being a little girl and seeing the cover of a ‘She-Hulk’ comic in the midst of this sea of male comics and not knowing who she was but knowing that I was moved by it.

“The idea of being large and in charge really resonated with me. I remember I bought that comic book. So, when this show came along it was really the culmination of a real dream,” Coiro said.

For Jessica Gao, who has adapted the “She-Hulk” comic book for the screen, it was the fourth time’s the charm as she said Marvel Studios had rejected her thrice on previous projects.

Gao, known for her work on shows such as “Rick and Morty” and “Silicon Valley”, said the series format gave her “time and space” to know a character as a fully-fleshed out person.

“What’s great about Jennifer Walters is that Tatiana Maslany was from day one able to make her feel like a real human being. You feel like she’s lived a life. Like this is a real person who actually feels and processes things and like most people have had highs and lows,” the showrunner said.

Fans will also get to see She-Hulk breaking the fourth wall, thus honouring the legacy of John Byrne’s story titled ‘The Sensational She-Hulk’ which was published in the Marvel Graphic Novel #18 in 1985.

Gao said the fourth-wall breaking, meta-humour and self-awareness were the key elements of the comics that she wanted to retain in the series.

“Because it was the John Byrne run that made me fall in love with this character. It was just so light-hearted, fun and refreshing. So that was always kind of a foundational element,” she said.

She-Hulk broke the fourth wall, and addressed the viewer directly looking into the camera, long “before Deadpool or Fleabag”, added Koiro.

“Breaking the fourth wall does connect to the audience and draws us in, but not so much that we’re not connecting to her story in the world that we’ve built,” the director said.

According to Maslany, breaking the fourth wall is “an extension” of She-Hulk’s superpowers.

“There’s something about her awareness where she’s able to go from being Jen to She-Hulk with seamlessness… She’s like, ‘I know I’m talking to the camera. I know you guys are watching this.’ And there’s something about that super-hyper-awareness that is who she is,” the actor added.

Ginger Gonzaga said behind every superhero, there’s a catalyst best friend. In “She-Hulk”, she plays Nikki Ramos, a paralegal and the best friend of Jennifer Walters.

“Nikki wants She-Hulk to embrace being special. It’s a really good balance because Jen is kind of by the book, Nikki is reckless and free but in a fun way. She can light fires and encourage Jen to become She-Hulk, which is why if She-Hulk ever saves the world you can thank her good friend.”

“She-Hulk” will stream on Disney+ Hotstar from August 17 in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and English.

(PTI)

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