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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Peter Sblendorio

‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ star Tatiana Maslany breaks down her transformative turn on new Marvel series

To make her “She-Hulk” series a smash, star Tatiana Maslany channeled the internal strength of her strapping superhero.

Maslany appreciates how the new Marvel show draws from reality as it depicts her character Jennifer Walters’ transformation into a superhuman She-Hulk who doesn’t struggle with rage issues like her Hulk predecessor.

“We watch Jen kind of effortlessly become She-Hulk because she’s been so trained throughout her life, as all women have, to mask and contain her emotions,” Maslany told the Daily News.

“That’s her superpower, and that’s also the thing that makes it hard for her to connect to people, or makes her feel like she has no power. That duality is really interesting to me.”

Premiering this week on Disney+, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” introduces Maslany’s Jennifer as a Los Angeles lawyer reluctant to become a superhero after an accident gives her the same Hulk-like abilities as her cousin, Bruce Banner, played by Marvel veteran Mark Ruffalo.

Unlike her cousin, Jennifer can control when she takes the form of the towering green She-Hulk, but still must navigate her new identity as a single woman with incredible superpowers.

“She doesn’t lose her mind and go on these rampages. She’s not busting down buildings. She’s more interested in what it is like to swipe-date as She-Hulk,” Maslany, 36, said.

“She’s also super-funny and she talks to the audience, which is, like, hyperconsciousness. She’s even aware that there’s an audience. That level of awareness is so opposite to how the Hulk goes through his transformation and loses all sense of awareness.”

The Canadian-born Maslany is no stranger to prominent TV roles, having won an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for the science-fiction thriller “Orphan Black” in 2016.

Maslany prepared for the new show by reading the Marvel comic books, which introduced She-Hulk in 1989, helping the actress capture the physicality and personality of the hero.

She relished working with Ruffalo, who has portrayed Hulk in the Marvel movies since 2012.

“He’s somebody who I’ve always admired and would’ve wanted to work with in any capacity, but to get to share this very specific world with him, and this specific character inside of that world, was fantastic,” Maslany said. “He was so open to my process ... and we just swapped stories, and he told me about his experience over the 10 years of playing this character.”

The series takes audiences inside the courtroom with Jennifer, whose career becomes a spectacle once her secret She-Hulk alter ego is revealed.

Maslany wore a motion-capture suit so her scenes as She-Hulk could be computer-animated, while a cardboard image of the hero was fixed above her head to represent the hero’s height.

“It’s an alienating feeling to be in that [motion-capture] suit,” Maslany said. “You sort of feel separate from the other actors, and you’re walking on these platforms that take up a lot of space in rooms.

“That all informed what She-Hulk is, who she is, and how she feels about the space she takes up and how she feels about people’s responses to her.”

Maslany enjoyed adding another female hero with a unique story to the interweaving Marvel Cinematic Universe of series and films.

“I just hope, if we do continue to pursue her story line, that it continues to be as surprising to me as this script was,” Maslany said. “It really just bucks all of the tropes, or winks at the tropes. It’s so aware of the Marvel of it all — that meta feel to this show. It keeps everything so immediate and so present in the cultural moment that we’re in right now.”


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