Exclusive: Tatiana Maslany Discusses Her New Sci-Fi Podcast—Plus a Little Show Called ‘She-Hulk’

Tatiana Maslany, whose smash hit “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” just debuted, discusses female rage, dating, and her “Power Trip” podcast
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In the sci-fi series Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany handily played 17 different clones over five seasons. Now she’s delving into other trippy body issues with two new projects: She’s the star of the Realm podcast Power Trip, about a New Yorker named Jane who survives end-stage kidney disease thanks to a black market organ transplant—which imbues her with telekinetic abilities.

And, as you may have heard, she’s flexing her dramedy muscles as Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which premiered Thursday on Disney+ and is already generating no small amount of viewer debate.

The female-created, female-directed show follows Jennifer Walters (Maslany) as she balances her job as a lawyer with her newfound, accidentally acquired Hulkification via the blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).

LAMag spoke with Maslany via Zoom. Regrettably, it was before lame fanboys began review-bombing the show, so we did not get to Hulk out over that.

I’m so curious what the arc of She-Hulk will have to say about female rage. Which is a very timely subject, obviously, for a lot of reasons.

Yeah. A lot! For Jen, becoming She-Hulk is fairly effortless. She doesn’t struggle with her emotions like Hulk, who has to truly go to an island to learn how to deal. She’s like, “I’ve always had massive emotions that I had to learn to quell because society tells me I can’t feel them. If I feel them, it’s too much.” So her experience of turning into this Hulk is easy. There’s some interesting stuff later in the season, and I won’t spoil it, but I’m so excited for people to see it.

These subtle ways that we talk about a woman’s rage, and how it’s perceived on the outside. So much of She-Hulk is about the perception from the outside. Jen feels the same on the inside. She does take up more space in this different body, and it’s about how people look at her, and what she means to them because of how she presents.

And everything you just said could be applicable to any number of stories about women who aren’t She-Hulk. 

Yes, totally. Even just the response to her body in the trailer. People talking about the VFX, which makes me so angry, because it’s like, you have no idea what the conditions the workers are working in. And also, I think this looks incredible. Like, just have a little perspective in terms of that. But at the same time, I’m like, “why does everyone feel like it’s their right to comment on her body? Why is that the thing that everyone’s talking about?” I feel like we can point to a thousand billion reasons.

There seems to be a good mix of comedy and drama in the show, which Marvel doesn’t always do super deftly.  

Yeah, we definitely veer a little more kind of messy banter-y than the average Marvel project, and that’s a testament to [series creator] Jessica Gao and the writers. They hired a lot of comedians and a lot of improvisers, and they brought actors who just have that in them. Even Mark Ruffalo, who obviously has done comedy, but is known for his dramatic work. And this might invite people in who’re more interested in, like, the weird moments that happened between the big [Marvel] pyrotechnics. At home with your family moments, or at home on a Friday night. Things that we rarely see [in superhero movies]. People actually like the “boring” stuff.

Similarly, in your new podcast, your character uses her powers to improve mundane stuff like bad dates. 

I love those moments, they’re so true—on a date, when you’re like, “I don’t know why I said that, it landed with a thud, I can’t live with that humiliation.” Also, I think Jane has missed out on so much in her life that she wants it to be the dream of what she thought life was for everybody else. When everybody else probably went through those horrible, awkward moments too. But from the outside, those people seem effortless: they’re confident, they don’t regret a thing. Or so their Instagram tells you.

As a cancer survivor, I love the idea of a chronically ill woman developing superpowers from a transplant. 

Yeah, I’ve had friends who have had transplants, and there’s this thing where, yes, you’re inherently grateful for the opportunity at life, but at the same time, what do you do when you’ve been sick your whole life and there’s an anger about how much of your life you lost? And how do you then have a healthy relationship with this idea of immense power over other people? Power Trip deals with this in a way that isn’t prescriptive or melodramatic. It’s got this dark sense of humor, which I think is something we don’t always see with people who have been sick.

Yeah. And Jane is a misanthrope, which is also something you don’t often see with female characters.

She definitely doesn’t like people, in a lot of ways, and understandably so!

Lisa Loeb plays your mom in this podcast. Were you a fan, back in the day?

In my early teens I was heavy into Lisa Loeb, and Alanis. I was all about that movement. That was, like, my shit. It really spoke to me, and it was probably my introduction to women songwriters.

She pops in every so often in the first few episodes. Does her role expand as the story goes on? 

In the last two episodes, there’s a couple of really important moments with her. I’m curious how you’ll feel about them, knowing what you’ve gone through, in terms of your relationship with people who took care of you, or people who tried to take care of you when you didn’t want that, or treated you a certain way because of what you were going through. There’s a really great scene that, every time I read it, would just catch in my throat. About mothers and daughters and emancipating yourself, but at the same time wanting to be, you know, your mom’s kid. That complicated dynamic of being independent but also being in need.


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