Tatiana Maslany doesn’t need a trendy label to know she plays strong female characters.
The “Orphan Black” Emmy winner and star of Disney+’s upcoming “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” slammed the idea of a “strong female lead” category (ahem, sorry Netflix) in a recent interview with The Guardian.
“It’s reductive,” Maslany explained. “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.”
Maslany stars as the titular “She-Hulk” in the Marvel series co-starring Mark Ruffalo, reprising his “Avengers” role of Bruce Banner, She-Hulk’s cousin. And part of why Maslany signed on to join the MCU was in part because of how not strong She-Hulk is at times…because, well, she’s human (or at least is half of the time).
“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.
“Rick and Morty” scribe Jessica Gao penned the script for the Disney+ show, premiering August 18. Maslany applauded how Gao tackled writing She-Hulk, saying, “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.”
Maslany continued, “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.”
“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” marks the fourth Disney+ Marvel series with female characters as leads, behind shows like “Hawkeye” and “Ms. Marvel.” As for Marvel’s standalone female-fronted films, Brie Larson made history as the first MCU actress to lead her own superhero movie in 2019 with “Captain Marvel.” Sequel film, “The Marvels,” is currently underway, tying in with Disney+ series “Ms. Marvel.”
“Avengers” alum Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) landed her own eponymous prequel film prior to her “Endgame” death, released in 2021. But for Maslany, it’s all about what’s next.
“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,'” Maslany summed up. “And those stories become as innately expected as they are now special.”