[This story contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s “Normal Amount of Rage.”]
That She-Hulk: Lawyer premiered on Disney+, Tatiana Maslany’s Jen Walters/She-Hulk has officially broken the fourth wall in the MCU for Deadpool. It’s quite fitting because in the comics, She-Hulk also got the fourth wall jump on the Merc with a mouth. So Maslany can’t help but admit that she’s at least a little proud of being ahead of fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds and his upcoming MCU debut as Deadpool. (During the series’ global press conference, director Kat Coiro, lead writer Jessica Gao and Maslany enjoyed bragging rights to the comic book version.)
“Yes, that was all I needed. That’s why I followed this role. I just wanted to beat [Deadpool]”, Maslany jokes to The Hollywood Reporter.
However, Maslany definitely wants to turn her character’s fourth wall leanings into an ongoing duel with Deadpool. “That would be so great. We are both trying to fight for the supremacy of the fourth wall and who owns the fourth wall. I think he would win, but I would take him in,” Maslany said.
In a recent conversation with THRMaslany also discusses the unnamed episode three cameo and how it was one of the biggest moments of her career.
on Black orphanyou played 17 characters, give or take, and in this show, you nothing but two play. Do Jen Walters and She-Hulk feel like a walk in the park compared to that previous experience?
(laughs.) Yes, of course. It’s much easier to play two characters. But at the same time, Black orphan gave me such a playground to stretch these muscles of distinctive character and make me feel like there were so many possibilities in what a person can be. So I need to bring that to this character, She-Hulk, and explore her in a more internal way. As much as her transformation is outwardly visible, her inwardly remains the same, so that’s a minor difference. It’s almost the opposite of the characters on Black orphan.
In general, when you first left Orphan and you went on to play only one character, was it shocking at first? Did you feel like you weren’t doing enough for a while?
No, because I was going to do theatre. I was going to do an off-Broadway play called Mary Page Marlowe, written by Tracy Letts. Tracy is such an incredible writer and I worked with Lila Neugebauer, an amazing director. I never choose a part for convenience. There’s always something in it that’s challenging for me, and whether it’s the medium of getting back on stage for the first time in 15 years or whatever it was, there’s always something that makes it feel like this is it hardest thing I’ve ever done.
So Jen’s fourth wall material is so much fun as she comments on recasts, cameo fix, and Twitter armor. Are you just pumped that you beat your compatriot Ryan Reynolds to the hilt by breaking the fourth wall in the MCU?
(laughs.) Yes, that was all I needed. That’s why I followed this role. I just wanted to beat [Deadpool].
Do you ever hope to have a fourth wall duel with his Deadpool character? You could crash each other’s fourth wall moments, I guess.
That would be so great. We are both trying to fight for the supremacy of the fourth wall and who owns the fourth wall. I think he would win, but I would take him. (laughs.)
[Writer’s Note: The next question and answer contains mild spoilers for episode two.]
Are you surprised you got away with a nod to a particular recast?
That was a mark [Ruffalo] advertisement lib! That’s really the world of this show. It’s as meta as you can get, and what’s more meta than discussing the fact that the Hulk is in [The Incredible Hulk (2008)] was played by a completely different actor? There are so many layers in it.
Your “ha!” finished it off perfectly.
I also appreciated the “I’m shown” line as Bruce tries to give Jen wisdom, and at this morning’s press conference I was surprised to learn that you really weren’t looking for tips from Mark Ruffalo on how to play a Hulk character.
Yes, I ignored him. I didn’t look him in the eye when we worked together. (laughs.) Mark is a wonderful person. He’s just so awesome, and all he ever did was make me feel like what I was doing was right. He’s very generous, and we really need to be like two big babies playing superheroes together in these pajama suits. It was, in a sense, total play and total imagination, and when are adults allowed to do that?
The series starts by asking this question, but if someone in the real world has been given powers like Jen, do you think he has a responsibility to help others?
Yes, I feel like we see it all the time that the most powerful people are delegating responsibility elsewhere, in the sense of shrugging off responsibility and maybe doing things that don’t really help the greater good, but are self-motivated. The statement as the beginning is also the crux of Jen’s entire conflict. The perception of her power from the outside is one thing, but her own sense of her power and being embodied is another. And it’s not necessarily something she comes to when she needs to become a Hulk. It’s something she learns to handle, and if someone hasn’t had power all their life and suddenly they’re being looked at for anything, then of course it’s going to be a shaky journey.
Have you adopted the Cheetos and Chopsticks life hack?
(laughs.) I wish I could say I like Cheetos. I just don’t like them. They make my heart beat faster because of that tartrazine or whatever it is.
Have you banned Marvel Studios from releasing the behind-the-scenes footage of episode three’s dance-related tag?
No, I want that out! I really want everyone to see it because it was the best day of my life. It was the greatest moment of my life.
Even in the mo-cap suit?
Especially in the mo-cap suit! I will never feel cool standing in front of the most beautiful cool person in the world. There’s just no way. So if I can look like a little kid dancing in pajamas, that’s fine with me. As long as I can dance with her, I’m happy.
She-Hulk is now streaming on Disney+. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.