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Marvel's She Hulk: Interview with Ginger Gonzaga, actress (2022)



With counterparts like Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch dominating Marvel screens with impressive displays of monumental power, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law fills a void often left behind in the superhero scene… Jennifer Walters is every bit as human as she is Hulk.


And it’s that humanity that drives the series.


Jen is a 30-something attorney, stumbling (and occasionally punching) her way through reluctantly taking up the ‘hero’ mantle. On top of that, she’s tackling work, friendships and a stagnant love life; the kind of everyday problems rarely battled by the likes of Captain America and his buddies. The inclusion of ‘real life’ problems brings a refreshing authenticity to the show, something that sets it apart from the deluge of superhero stories hitting our screens from all directions.



There’s something uniquely endearing about watching a 6’7” green woman traverse the numerous pitfalls of online dating whilst swaddled in her pyjamas on the couch. Similarly, watching her silence street harassment simply by growing into her super-powered self is a wish-fulfillment moment for women across the world; Despite her large stature and green skin, her troubles and difficulties resonate.


Jen’s authenticity comes largely in part due to the fierce, female creative team behind-the-scenes. Director Kat Coiro hails producer Wendy Jacobson as the puppet-master behind the team-up.


She-Hulk is a fantasy, a wish-fulfillment for a lot of women, where you don’t have to be polite to that guy in the bar who hits on you. We are polite because we’re conditioned to be polite, but we’re also polite because we’re afraid for our safety and She-Hulk takes that totally out of the picture. I think Wendy’s idea was that to really serve that wish-fulfillment, we should have as many women telling the story as possible.”


Alongside Jen, we’re introduced to Nikki; Jen’s spunky paralegal best buddy, her right-hand woman and the source of some excellent life advice. Better yet, Nikki and Jen are truly friends - they’re not in competition, nor tearing one another down, or falling into the many, many toxic tropes found in so much woman-centered media.


Actress Ginger Gonzaga was dead set on representing a healthy female friendship in the show.



"Tatiana (Maslany, Jen Walters/She-Hulk) and I cared so much about showing healthy female friendships. That’s one of my favourite things about the show, we had all these women, and women who cared so, SO much. I’ve seen so many times where you have female friends and then, let’s watch them tear each other apart! Let’s watch them betray each other and see what happens! And I’m like, could we maybe just show friends that actually love each other?”


“I think it’s just really important. I’ve never understood when people think there’s only one spot - There’s room for all women, truly, infinitely. I love showing two friends who are there for each other in the silliest and the most serious of ways.”


The female influence in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law shows in spades. Everything from the under-represented friendships finally making their way to screen, down to the artistic design of She-Hulk, to the key performances from Tatiana Maslany and Ginger Gonzaga, scream female. But that’s not to say the show won’t appeal to others, either.


Director Kat Coiro explains, “My hope is that people watch it, and are entertained, and transported, and all kinds of people watch it. I think it’s really important that first and foremost it’s entertaining, because I think that’s the way that you actually move people, is to entertain them and give them things to think about!”

 

Ginger Gonzaga agrees, “We want men, and women, and all genders all over the land, to relate to She-Hulk and I think everyone can. They can relate to someone who’s standing out, is different, is special, has to be seen in a certain way, has to be judged in a certain way, has to be loved in a certain way that they maybe don’t want to be loved in. I think everyone can relate to it.”


Perhaps more than any superhero show before it, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is relatable. Whilst Jen Walters does occasionally turn into a 6’7” green woman, she is beautifully, unequivocally human. Her story feels authentic, heartfelt and honest in a way often completely overlooked in similar media. There’s no city-wide explosions and intergalactic threats here — Instead, the drama is found in Jen’s unique balancing act between the absurd and the banal, a concept which also leaves itself open to fantastic comedy and on-point social commentary in equal measure.


To the team’s credit, there isn’t a person in the world who won’t find familiarity and resonance in She-Hulk. It’s a funny, feel-good series that reminds us that the human experience is messy, it’s silly, it’s tragic, it’s dramatic and humdrum and spectacular all at once - Just like the incredible Jen Walters. 




Originally posted on The Female Lead in August 2022

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