She-Hulk Press Conference Recap: Jen Walters Joins MCU

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law played host to a global virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon, gathering the stars of the show and its creatives to discuss the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Present for the discussion of She-Hulk are Jen Walters herself Tatiana Maslany, Nikki actor Ginger Gonzaga, director and executive producer Kat Coiro, and head writer and executive producer Jessica Gao. 

"I remember very vividly being a little girl and seeing the cover of a She-hulk comic in the midst of a sea of male comics and not knowing who she was or what this was, just knowing that I was moved by it," Coiro said. "Taking control, taking up space was something that really resonated with me and I remember I bought that comic book so when this show came long it was really a dream."

"Nikki Ramos, I would hang out with Nikki in real life," Gonzaga said. "I like Nikki. She's very free. She's that person you want that can get away with anything."

"Each episode really has a distinct flavor and we pulled from so many genres," Coiro said. "It also has huge cinematic scope and elements of action, drama, suspense...It really is a little bit of a peak behind the curtain of the everyday, sometimes mundane life of a super hero..."

Gao says that she was rejected by Marvel three times prior to She-Hulk. "It was the right project," she said. "I'm glad they rejected me three times." 

Working with Jen and Bruce together, "was a very easy dynamic to bring to camera," according to Maslany. "A lot of characters in this show have that ring of truth," which she thinks was easy to bring in.

"Foundationally, I felt like first and foremost was the fourth wall breaking and the meta humor and the self awareness. It was he John Byrne run that made her fall in love with She-Hulk comics. Comedy was a priority. Coiro adds that it was important to keep those elements and make sure the story fits into the MCU.

Maslany remembered going out in Hall H and being dizzied by the energy in the Hall H room. "It was nice not to keep Daredevil a secret anymore, as well," Coiro said. 

Gao describes trying to figure out how to decide what got revealed in the trailers for She-Hulk. "It was just [Kevin Feige and I] sniping at each other over our respective positions over the pieces that were in the trailer."

How does She-Hulk break the fourth wall in a unique way? "She was doing it long before Deadpool or Fleabag," Coiro said.

"If you know anything about She-Hulk the character, you would know that," Gao said. "It went through a lot of evolutionary steps. A long journey pf how much does she talk to camera?...Is there another meta element? Is she talking to somebody else that's behind the scenes?" There was a version where there were editor notes and Jen was 'actually interacting with the editor's notes on screen."

It came down to finding the balance of breaking the fourth wall enough for it draw the audience in but not fully connecting to the world, Coiro adds.

"She's aware of the audience," Maslany said. "It feels like her super power engaged with the meta...There's something about that super, hyper-awareness that is who she is."

"He never was prescriptive," Maslany said of Ruffalo. "He was laying down on the ground outside as Bruce and he gets up as Hulk, truly from a laying down position and he's suddenly standing...It looked complete inhuman and I was like, 'Oh that is what ten years of p[laying this character and physically embodying him and being so inside of him, you get to do cool stuff like that....To me, I was like, 'Oh, cool, I want to be able to do that sometime.'"

"Action and CGI take a lot of rigid preparedness and a comedy is the opposite," Coiro said about balancing tones. They would rehearse in advance and try to maintain a semblance of looseness, while balancing the technical aspects with that looseness for comedy.

Coiro says that was no other option for She-Hulk besides Maslany. "It requirted a nuance of performance that really only Tatiana could give," Corio said.

"We talked a lot about how important it is for this character to be human first," Gao added. "A second ago this was just words on a page and now I'm seeing this person who I believe has lived this entire life...on top of that, she's super funny!"

"The Hulk's initial struggle is that he's out of control...she is conscious in this other form and it's uncomfortable," Gonzaga said of She-Hulk.

Gao explains that she wanted to include a scene in a women's bathroom and have Jennifer protected by strangers to show that part of our real world and how it always a safe space, no matter the location of the bathroom, where women will support each other. 

What did Maslany fiind most relatable about Jennifer Walters? "Her resistance to it and she's built this life for herself that she does not want to let go of," Maslany said. "When this thing happens to her, she has to contend with a whole other perception being placed on top of her and expectation societally of who she should be...the outside perception of her, that to me was super interesting. Honestly, when I read the pilot, I though, 'I have to. I want so badly to audition for this because it's so funny. It's mundane. It's small.' I've always dreamed of being part of a super hero show where you see the in-between moments."

Coiro wants it to be fun, entertaining, and escapist while opening new perspectives for people to see things through a new lens and believes the show is fun but has "really deep undertones." Gonzaga reinforces those views with her take on them, comparing herself to her Nikki character and how unapologetic she is. Maslany is looking forward to the conversations people will have about the show. "I'm curious about the question around why," there is a visceral response to women as super heroes, Maslany said. "There is so much else going on that challenges people and that I think we really hit in a really wonderful way." Gao wants Marvel fans to find "a whole new area of Marvel to enjoy," and wants people who didn't get to "see themselves reflected, now get to see that." She also can't wait to see all the memes that come out of the show.