Kat Coiro, who is just coming off the success of Marry Me (a movie, anecdotally from the amount of people who talk about it in my presence, everyone has seen), is now moving into the MCU, directing six episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. And it’s interesting because She-Hulk might be closer in tone and situations to Marry Me than the traditional Marvel property. As Coiro says ahead, the two big inspirations for She Hulk: Attorney at Law were Ally McBeal and Legally Blond.
This is a Marvel show, so of course there are some overarching plot points that maintain themselves throughout the series – or, at least, the first four episodes that I’ve seen – like our old pal from The Incredible Hulk, Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination, (Tim Roth) who wants out of prison and has hired Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) to represent him. Jennifer is a talented and hard-working attorney who also just happens to be able to turn into She-Hulk. But, at this show’s heard, its kind of a throwback courtroom procedural with a “case of the week.” Only the case of the week on this show has clients who are superheroes. It’s a very clever concept that often has Jennifer breaking the fourth wall, for example complaining about the amount of cameos in a given episode before we even get a chance to think that.
Also, it’s a very L.A. show (as someone who lives in New York City, even I could use a break from the MCU version of this place) and, as Coiro says ahead, this could be a good starting point for the West Coast Avengers.
The amount of Marvel movies and shows can feel overwhelming, but what a breath of fresh air this was. This isn’t even really a superhero show, it’s more a legal procedural comedy.
Absolutely. I mean, part of what drew me to the project is that it’s such a fresh take on something that is so much a part of our cultural fabric. And my job was always to keep it within the world of the MCU, but also allow it to spread its wings as something totally different in a new genre.
So how much does She Hulk: Attorney at Law owe to Ally McBeal?
Both Ally McBeal and Legally Blonde were huge influences just in a simple fact that they subverted the idea of a courtroom visually, the way it looks, the way people behave. And that’s definitely something that we do is we take a genre that has been around for a very long time and we infuse it with something different, while still relying on some of the tropes and the familiarity of that genre. And it’s one of the things I’m most excited about, is having people experience these courtroom scenes that are just very familiar and also totally different.
I won’t spoil who does this and when it happens, but there’s a character that seems to be She Hulk’s main foe and you think it’s going to be a scene where, all right, the big fight is coming. And instead she sues She-Hulk and I found that so funny.
Well, part of what’s exciting about that storyline in general, is that when you’re in a film, you have this ticking clock, plot-driven energy and you have to get from point A to point B. And here we can meander. She’s there, she lurks around the whole series, but we don’t have to get to her climax or get to her motivation immediately. We can kind of do it after we’ve gotten to know our main characters.
It does seem to flow like a David E. Kelley show. There’s the kind of the trial of the week, like Wong showing up one week to sue a hack magician for using Sorcerer techniques. But there’s also this overarching thing going on with Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky wanting out of prison…
I mean, that was something we kept saying, was we have to have that engine of the kind of formulaic legal show, courtroom episode per episode plot. And then you have the driving engine of getting to know Jennifer Walters, slash She-Hulk, and her internal conflict between being these two sides of herself. And then you have a whole other layer of Marvel super villains. So it’s got a lot going on.
And that’s the thing, you could have anyone on this show really. Picking up after one of the movies, after a big battle – well, who’s going to sue who after this?
People comment, oh, was it hard having all these cameos and making it feel organic? And I mean, we are set in the most organic place to have as many cameos as you can possibly imagine. We could literally have every single MCU character who needs legal help – which is, let’s be honest, everybody at one point or another – come through the show.
There’s a conversation in an episode if Avengers get paid or not. Maybe one of the Avengers isn’t getting their health benefits, so they need to sue. See, it feels like the sky’s wide open on this.
We’ve got to introduce you to the writers’ room.
Yeah, that’s a bad idea.
I feel like you’re bursting with ideas, Mike.
But seriously, as you watch the show, it’s the perfect engine to do all this stuff.
Oh, I’m so glad. It’s so fun. These are my first round of interviews where people have actually gotten to watch the show and I’m not sitting here afraid that the Marvel police are going to burst in and arrest me. So it’s so fun to talk about.
Right. You had to be vague…
I just say, “ask Kevin.” That’s my go-to line.
You’ve also got that ace in the sleeve of being able to break the fourth wall. You get to address any criticisms before we even think of them.
I mean, one of my favorite jokes is that Wong’s in the episode, so we have “Twitter armor.”
I’ve told a lot of people about that line.
We anticipate that there’s going to be an adjustment because she is such a different character than the audience people are used to. And what I love about the MCU is that it is interactive. It does listen to the fans. It does evolve based on what people want. And so this show is very much taking that to the next level. Where it’s like: we know what you’re going to say… come, be on the journey with us instead of against us.
You also apparently are listening to the trolls. Because when Jessica’s powers are revealed, there’s a news report with a bunch of people on the street interviews saying,“ why did it have to be a woman superhero?” And everyone’s favorite, “I’m not against a woman being a superhero, but why can’t they just make a new one?”
I’m not even on Twitter and I’m aware of all of that. And look, my hope is that this show is going to be fun and entertaining and action-packed enough that they just have fun and relax, take a load off all that trolling. Exhausting!
I’m looking forward to She-Hulk and Deadpool meeting each other and realizing they both break the fourth wall. I get he’s not technically in the MCU yet…
I know. I know. Which fourth wall are they breaking? It’s the same fourth wall?
Well, that’s going to be up to all the writers who are going to make the She-Hulk, Deadpool movie.
Amazing. I love it. I love it. Actually, our producer, Wendy Jacobson from Marvel, is also doing Deadpool.
So she’s the expert on breaking the fourth wall.
By the way, congratulations on Marry Me. I’m pretty sure everyone saw that movie.
Oh, thank you. I’m so excited. It does feel like every single person in the world has seen it. It’s a very exciting feeling.
Yeah, they used to make movies that were in theaters that were romantic comedies, with big stars. So it was fun to watch one again.
Oh, I’m so glad. That makes me happy. I mean, look, I love making movies for audiences. Between Marry Me and Marvel, it’s like a real dream come true to have people actually… from my indie film days where my mom and three people would see it, it’s a fabulous feeling.
There’s not a lot of Marvel stuff set in LA. There’s Iron Man 3. So it’s kind of refreshing to see a very LA show and also something that would set up a West Coast Avengers.
Absolutely. That was a huge part of my initial pitch to get the job. I wanted LA to feel like a character. And I definitely dropped the hint about the West Coast Avengers.
And She-Hulk was a big part of West Coast Avengers…
I’m with you a hundred percent.
’She-Hulk: Attorney At Law‘ will begin streaming via Disney+ on August 18. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.