She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is nearly here, and we recently had an exclusive opportunity to sit down with director Kat Coiro (Modern Family; It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) to talk about her upcoming Marvel Studios series that stars Primetime Emmy-winner Tatiana Maslany in the title role.
Coiro, who is also an executive producer on the project, helmed the first four episodes and the final two, so her fingerprints are on pretty much every frame of the show.
We talk to her about a variety of topics, including the incomparable talent of her leading lady Tatiana Maslany, how she initially broke down the series, bringing the Hulk into the mix, how Daredevil will fit in, rounding out the supporting cast, and a whole lot more!
Check out the full video interview below!
ROHAN: You've worked with a lot of great people on a lot of great shows, including Modern Family and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - what was your experience like directing a performer like Tatiana, who is an absolute chameleon and makes Jennifer Walters feel so organically unique and original?
KAT: Well, casting Tatiana was the most important part of making this series work, and before we had her, I had a lot of fears about if the show was going to work. Once we had her, I knew that it was going to work because she is an actor of such skill and nuance, and she's also really funny. Working with her is amazing. It's everything you'd hope it would be. She really sees things on a macro level, but also listens and reacts in a very emotional, vulnerable way.
ROHAN: This is the first show since WandaVision to get nine episodes, so how did that affect your approach when breaking down the series? What did you want to establish before you passed the baton to Anu Valia?
KAT: Well, I executive produced it, so I was a part of the whole season, and one thing that we were really grateful for was the fact that it was never prescribed that we had to be eight episodes, or we had to be twelve episodes, we really let the story dictate how many episodes we have, and so, the nine comes from an organic arc of the character and the journey that she's on.
ROHAN: As an experienced comedy director, what proved to be the bigger challenge on this project - balancing the humor in a superhero world or nailing the action beats?
KAT: Well, it's really a combination of both. Directing humor means that you need to let people play and improvise and give them space to be loose, but making a big visual effects-heavy, action-packed, stunt-driven show means you have to do a lot of preparation and have a certain rigidity. So, it was about balancing those two things. I mean, Sunny is such a great example of a show where you really put three cameras on fantastic performers and let them loose, and so, I would always try to find those moments when that would work, and then you have to honor the MCU and have big shots and, really lean into the action sometimes. So, it was just taking it on a case by case basis.
ROHAN: We get a lot of great new scenes with Smart Hulk, and no spoilers, but he's also on his own journey in this series. What were your early discussions with Mark Ruffalo on where he wanted to take his character next?
KAT: Mark is an incredible, open actor, and even though he'd been playing Hulk for a decade, he came understanding that this was a new genre and a new exploration of the character and all of our MCU characters like Wong and Emil Blonsky, and Smart Hulk had to adjust to the fact that this is different, in-tone. There's a lot of dialogue, there's a lot of comedy, and they all leaned into it, and I like to say that life is not a genre, life can be funny, and it can be tragic, and much like this show, you have moments of humor, and then you have moments of pathos.
ROHAN: We've seen him in the trailer, so I have to ask - how will Daredevil fit into or what kind of impact will he have on Jennifer's journey this season?
KAT: Well, I can't speak specifically to how he fits into her journey, but I will say that we had the same experience with him that we did with the other MCU actors, which is that it's definitely, especially with Daredevil, a much lighter tone than he's ever been involved with before and he adapted to that quite quickly and we get to see a new side of Daredevil I think.
ROHAN: The only time we've seen the fourth wall break in a superhero movie or show was Deadpool, but you handle it much differently here. How did you approach those moments with Tatiana to ensure they worked?
KAT: Well, you know, She Hulk is the original fourth wall breaker, back in 1980, she was breaking the fourth wall, and so that concept was always baked into the series. In terms of Tatiana's performance, it was very much about figuring out who is she talking to and giving her relationship with that camera, which I can't reveal now, but the specificity of her connection is part of what makes her performance so compelling.
ROHAN: Were there any characters that were off-limits or that you are hoping to bring into the courtroom in a future season?
KAT: I mean, what's so exciting about this premise is that we are in a super human law firm. So, it is completely organic that any character from the MCU, who needs legal help, might pass through those doors. The possibilities are infinite.
ROHAN: Along with Tatiana, there's such a great supporting cast with Ginger Gonzaga and Josh Segarra, who are both very funny. Can you tell me more about rounding out the supporting players for this show, because everyone is just so well cast.
KAT: Well, Jennifer is a little bit of the straight man. She wants her life a certain way and she's always trying to maintain order. So, I knew it was really important to populate the show with straight comedic actors. I had worked with Ginger Gonzaga on a half-hour show before, I had worked with Jameela Jamil, she was in my film Marry Me, I had worked with Renee Elise Goldsberry on Girls5eva, and there's Patty Guggenheim, who plays Madisynn, I've worked with on three shows. Donnie Blaze is an actor, who also happens to be my husband, and so I really wanted to populate the show with people who I knew were funny, that I knew had a certain depth in their acting, but also could land a joke.
Plus, check out our full video interview with head writer Jessica Gao below:
In Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany)—an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases—must navigate the complicated life of a single, 30-something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk. The nine-episode comedy series welcomes a host of MCU vets, including Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination, and Benedict Wong as Wong, as well as Jameela Jamil, Josh Segarra, Ginger Gonzaga, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry. The series is directed by Kat Coiro (Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9) and Anu Valia (Episodes 5, 6, 7) with Jessica Gao as head writer. Executive producers are Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Coiro and Gao, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” streams exclusively on Disney+ beginning August 18, 2022.