SHE-HULK Star Tatiana Maslany Explains Why She Dislikes The Term "Strong Female Character"

Orphan Black and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law star Tatiana Maslany opens up about what sets the Jade Giantess apart from other MCU characters, and her feelings on playing such a "Strong Female Character"

We are now just three days away from the premiere of the latest entry into the MCU's 14-year journey, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law looks set to loose a host of C and D list characters into the fray when the first episode drops this Wednesday. 

Tatiana Maslany, who plays the titular character, sat down with The Guardian this past weekend to discuss the project and what exactly set it apart in her mind from previous superhero films and shows. She wasn't able to reveal anything in great detail, but stated “But I kind of like that because, as viewers, we all love a surprise, right?”.

Talking more about what she could reveal, Maslany confirmed the basics of the character that comic readers (and anyone who's watched the trailers) would already know. Jennifer Walters is a young lawyer trying to build a name for herself, "something happens that turns her superhuman, and the story follows her struggle with this thing.”

Far from being elated with her newfound powers, as we saw recently in the Iman Vellani-led Ms. Marvel, Jennifer finds the experience to be a distraction from her established goals and not in line with what she wants for herself. "What drew me to the role is how human and how unheroic she is, and how little interest she has in pursuing all that.”, Maslany shared. 

Tatiana would go on to gush about her costar (and on-screen cousin) Mark Ruffalo, and how the long-time MCU actor helped to coach her in all things Hulk. "He’s such a special guy, and he’s got this childlike wonder about everything. But as Hulk, he’s got this physical dexterity and character precision that really is something to witness.” She also spoke about the pair bonding over their less than heroic costumes that they get to wear as their green-skinned alter egos, "Everyone else gets these very cool superhero outfits,” she says sadly, “and there we were in these little grey suits."

While the character of Jenn Walters does not in any way relish her new found abilities right out of the gate, there is a certain advantage that comes with being 6'7" with bright green skin and super strength. “She suddenly has this value in terms of optics. She becomes tokenized for her superhero-ness … But I do think there’s been this paradigm shift. It takes time and it’s about finding new ways to tell stories. What made me go: ‘Oh OK, this feels fresh and surprising,’ is that it feels deeply – if I can use a binary term – feminine. There’s a girliness to it. That word is often used as a derisive term, but to me there’s a celebration of female friendship in She-Hulk that’s really fun.”

In her chat with the guardian, Tatiana speaks about her distraction and irritation with the "Strong female lead" archetype. "I’m really interested in when these [marginalized] voices get to speak without it being like: ‘Oh my God, it’s all women,’ or, ‘Oh my God, this is a story about a queer couple,’ and those stories become as innately expected as they are now special." She would add “Because it’s reductive. It’s just as much a shaving off of all the nuances, and just as much of a trope. It’s a box that nobody fits into. Even the phrase is frustrating. It’s as if we’re supposed to be grateful that we get to be that.

Will Jennifer Walters learn to embrace her powers and be the hero her cousin believes she is meant to be? We'll find out very soon!

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on Disney+ on Thursday, August 18th, and also stars Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, Ginger Gonzaga, Jameela Jamil, Josh Segarra, and will feature Charlie Cox in his return as The Man Without Fear, Daredevil. 

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