Most women know this feeling, we’re told:
People keep making impressions based on physical appearance. They think one thing if you’re dressed dourly in a lawyer’s suit; they think another if you’re 6-foot-7 and green and …
OK, maybe that exact experience isn’t universal. But it’s what we see in “She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law” (shown here), a nine-week series that starts Thursday (Aug. 18) on Disney+.
“‘She-Hulk’ is an extreme version (of what) every person – especially every woman – goes through,” said Kat Coiro, the show’s head writer. “Just dressing up changes the way that you’re perceived.”
For some people, it’s as simple as the difference between a business suit and jeans or a party dress. For the fictional Jennifer Walters, it’s much more.
In her 30s, she was gradually building her law career. Then her blood was mingled with that of her cousin Bruce Banner, The Hulk. That gives her a milder case of his bursts of anger and size.
“It is a bit of an identity problem,” Tatiana Maslany told the Television Critics Association,.
Maslany, who plays Jennifer, is used to identity woes, after her first big American role.
A busy actress in Canada, she was mostly unknown here. Then she starred in “Orphan Black,” playing a dizzying number of women who share the same DNA; she won best-actress awards from the Emmys and from the TCA.
Now she merely plays one woman – with two sizes and shades
“It’s the sort of duality of her two bodies I find so compelling,” Maslany said. “What is it to walk into a room as 6-foot-7 woman? And what is it to walk into a room as a 5-foot-2 woman?”
Maslany, who’s 5-4, can only guess at that first part. The show did hire a 6-7 actress who was helpful in planning eye levels and such.
Then there’s the complication of feeling different – way different – from anyone else. Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner in the show, as he does in Marvel movies. The two actors have talked about what Maslany calls “the outsiderness of the Hulks.”
For him, that might fit a little easier. He can use his size for fighting, which he’s quite good at.
But for her? “She’s not really a fighter,” Maslany said. “She doesn’t know how to do it, which is also fun. (She’s not) aware of now how long her limbs are. It was fun stuff.”
She’s a lawyer, not a fighter. But when you’re 6-7 and hulky, people expect you to make war not tort appeals.