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[This story contains spoilers for the season one finale of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.]
He’s HulkKing — the creator behind Intelligencia, an online community of disenfranchised men and web trolls hellbent on hating Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany), or She-Hulk. Fueled by their disdain for a woman in power, Intelligencia wants to publicly defame Jen, but more importantly, they’re out to steal her blood in order to take her Hulk powers.
Following the show’s final episode, Bass applauded head writer Jessica Gao for how the storyline navigates the action and the comedy, while also tackling issues like misogyny and sexism.
“It’s fortunate to be a part of something that is so funny and so on the nose, without hitting you over the head with it,” Bass tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But also, there’s a point to it. And that’s such a hard thing, to get that cross section just right. But when you have someone as smart as Jessica Gao at the helm, who not only understands Marvel — and writing, to an absurd degree — but also understands human nature and comedy, you’re gonna get a great show out of it.”
And Bass’ character Todd nearly succeeds in his scheme. Just after injecting himself with Jen’s blood and “Hulking out,” She-Hulk puts the story on pause — literally.
Earlier in this season, THR speculated about the Disney+ series’ impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth wall, considering She-Hulk’s habit of chatting to the audience, along with the upcoming MCU debut of notorious fourth wall-breaker Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). What ensues in the finale episode goes beyond any fourth wall break in Marvel history, as Jen waltzes into the She-Hulk writer’s room demanding to speak to “Kevin.” Marvel fans can only assume she’s talking about Marvel head Kevin Feige. But in She-Hulk, Kevin is actually K.E.V.I.N., an artificial intelligence robot that controls the MCU storylines.
“Once I got to that final episode, my mind was truly melting,” Bass remembers about reading the finale script for the first time. “I was screaming, reading the script, because you go from being like, ‘Oh, my God, I turn into a Hulk!’ to ‘Oh, my God, she’s talking to an A.I. Kevin and taking away my Hulk powers.’ It was pretty wild.”
He adds, “With this world that we’ve now lived in for almost 15 years, it’s like we’ve gotten to a point where the meta has become meta, and we can have fun with that.”
Bass says he’s still processing the shock of becoming a Hulk — even for just a short time.
“My mind still hasn’t really wrapped around the fact that I Hulked out, and that it’s real,” the actor says. “It sort of feels like I’m in a daydream-esque version of life.… There’s sort of craziness to the fact that as a kid, you’re playing pretend, and then all of a sudden, you’re 36, and you’re watching yourself Hulk out on TV.”
In a conversation with THR, Bass talks the future of Todd’s powers, meeting the real Kevin Feige and being the canonically shortest Hulk in the MCU.
Read on for the full interview.
The She-Hulk finale aired yesterday, and a lot goes down in that episode. What was your reaction after watching it?
Yeah, that was pretty mind-melting.
You make an appearance early on in the season, when you go on a date with Jen Walters after meeting on a dating app. Were you expecting the villainous turn that Todd ends up taking?
No, I got the part and then had to sign a very long contract, as you do when you’re in a Marvel thing. And then all the scripts have been written, so I just got this cavalcade of nine scripts that I just sat down and read one after the other, after the other. And then once I got to that final episode, my mind was truly melting. I was screaming, reading the script, because you go from being like, “Oh, my God, I turn into a Hulk!” to “Oh, my God, she’s talking to an A.I. Kevin and taking away my Hulk powers.” It was pretty wild.
Prior to taking on this role, were you a big Marvel fan?
I’m a huge Marvel fan. I’ve seen every single movie and TV show, and have just been kind of obsessed with it from the beginning. It was a dream come true being able to be a part of it. You kind of hope for things to go a certain way in your career, and you don’t really have any choice of what you get, or what you don’t get. There’s few actors that get to choose their roles. This is one of those magical moments where you get the part and that part includes getting to Hulk out, right? You kind of have to roll with it. I feel very fortunate to be able to be a part of it.
Was joining the MCU on your bucket list then?
[As an actor,] you kind of have to be stupid enough to believe you can do anything. So I think it was definitely on my bucket list. Everything’s on my bucket list. You know, doing a movie with Paul Thomas Anderson’s on my bucket list. Doing a movie with the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinertis) is on my bucket list. Doing a movie with James Wan is on my bucket list. Everything in the world. So Marvel is definitely on that bucket list. It’s just something that you hope happens.
You’ve called your character Todd “a douchey incel.” What was it like for you to tap into that kind of character?
I mean, it is pretty easy. It’s because it’s right there in our culture. It’s not something that you need to research. We live with it every day. So it’s not something you really need to dig deep, and be like Daniel Day Lewis going to sew for a year because he’s going to play a designer, right? If you’re on the Internet, and you like Marvel stuff, you’re gonna see it. So yeah, it is pretty easy because it’s just something that we live with.
She-Hulk deals with a lot of issues regarding misogyny and sexism, while also being really funny in doing so. Was it exciting to be a part of a project that touches on those relevant issues?
It’s really exciting. It’s fortunate to be a part of something that is so funny and so on the nose, without hitting you over the head with it. But also, there’s a point to it. And that’s such a hard thing, to get that cross section just right. But when you have someone as smart as Jessica Gao at the helm, who not only understands Marvel — and writing to an absurd degree — but also understands human nature and comedy, you’re gonna get a great show out of it. And then our directors Kat Coiro and Anu Valia are just incredible. They were never afraid to let the actors do what they wanted to do. It always felt very much like a collaboration.
You share a lot of your scenes with Tatiana Maslany. What was it like getting to flesh out that character relationship with her?
Which character did she play? (Pauses, then laughs.) Sorry, that was a Todd answer. She’s the best. It’s really easy to fall in love with Tatiana, as the world now knows from She-Hulk, but she’s insane. Professional, insanely talented and just so, so easy to get along with. I immediately felt a friendship with her and it was just so fun getting to work every time with her because nothing felt hard. She gives 100 percent even when she’s in a full [motion capture (mo-cap)] suit with a green head on top of her. It’s not easy to have to act like that. We can’t look her in the eyes because we’re supposed to look at this green head that she’s got on a little attachment on the back of her head that’s a foot above her. So you had to look up at that, and so she’s acting with you and you’re acting with this head. It was wild. It was so fun, though. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the chance to work with her.
You mentioned the dotted mo-cap suit. I assume you got to put on one of those for Todd’s Hulk-out moment?
What was that experience like?
It looked really good on Tatianna. That’s what I’ll say.
Did you also get one of those attachments?
No, I didn’t get an attachment. Actually, this is now canon, but I believe I am the shortest Hulk.
That fits for Todd’s character.
For Todd’s character, I think it’s very necessary to remember that. No, I didn’t get the attachment, I got the full suit and the camera that goes in front of your face with all the dots on your face. It was so fun. I mean, I can imagine for Tatiana, it got kind of old after a while. But I talked to Mr. Mark Ruffalo about it, and what’s so cool is that he still loves it. He’s still so excited to do it. There’s a novelty to it because as actors, you get to play so many different things. And this is just another version of acting. But they’re just gonna make you a big, old green guy.
After you film those Hulking-out scenes, then you hand it off to the VFX team to do their magic. What was your reaction to seeing yourself in Hulk form once the episode was finished?
My mind still hasn’t really wrapped around the fact that I Hulked out, and that it’s real. It sort of feels like I’m in a daydream-esque version of life. I think that also has to do with the fact that I’m still recovering from COVID.
It’s cool. I’m on plenty of Tylenol. But there’s sort of craziness to the fact that as a kid, you’re playing pretend, and then all of a sudden, you’re 36, and you’re watching yourself Hulk out on TV. It’s crazy.
At the end of the episode, your powers are taken away. Is that right?
That is very true. Yes.
So, as of right now, no more powers for Todd.
As of right now, but crazier things have happened in the MCU. People have come back from death. So I think Todd can grab another vial of blood. As a billionaire — as we know, in real life, they don’t spend too long in jail — so I think there’s room for Todd to grow into more evil ways.
And now he’s got revenge on his mind.
Oh, Todd’s got very few things on his mind. But one of them is revenge. And we know he’s good at that.
I know they don’t tell you guys much about the future, but as a Marvel fan yourself, where do we go from here now that Jen has broken that fourth wall on a whole new level?
Well, K.E.V.I.N. does say at the end that they fix the breaking protocol. So, she can’t do it anymore. She can’t really break the fourth wall that much. So I think she can still talk to the camera, but she won’t be able to go to K.E.V.I.N. ever again. So, I think knowing that has happened, and knowing that it’s no longer possible, is really big for the show, right? Because it’s not possible for her to change her story anymore. In the same way, though, she probably has a little bit more leeway. Or K.E.V.I.N. might have a little bit more of a soft spot for her. But I think what it did do is just, you know, let’s break the Internet for a bit and let’s have fun with this. With this world that we’ve now lived in for almost 15 years, it’s like we’ve gotten to a point where the meta has become meta, and we can have fun with that. And I’m just glad that She-Hulk was the one that got to do it, because I think Jessica did it right.
In the writers’ room scene, they talk about K.E.V.I.N. being untouchable and hard to reach. In regard to the real Kevin Feige, did you ever get a chance to meet him and chat about She-Hulk?
No! I was at the premiere, and I saw him, but I was so nervous, so I never introduced myself. I’m still beating myself up about it because I am such a fan. I knew that there were only so many opportunities. But no, I never got to talk to Kevin but hopefully at another event.
Interview was edited for length and clarity.
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