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She-Hulk Creator Jessica Gao Tells Us About Her Black Widow Pitch

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” which just debuted on Disney+, is arguably the most delightful Marvel Studios series to date. Created by Jessica Gao and starring Tatiana Maslany as the lawyer-turned-superheroine, “She-Hulk” is effervescent and refreshing, a gentle tonic after the darkness of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and other darker Marvel Studios productions.

Much of that is down to Gao, whose sensibilities are so perfectly suited to the character that you’ll wonder why she hasn’t done a Marvel project before. Turns out she tried.

In fact, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” was born, in part, from a pitch she made to Marvel Studios for the movie “Black Widow.” When TheWrap asked her about the pitch, she was reluctant, in case she wanted to use elements of it for a future project. But she described it in broad strokes.

“It was basically a ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ story for Black Widow,” Gao said. “Basically you find out that in high school, as a teenage spy/Russian agent, she was planted in an American high school, because she had to murder someone’s father, and then 20 years later she returns to the high school reunion and has to deal with the fallout of that fake identity where she betrayed all those people in high school.

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Gao met Marvel Studios on a few other films (“Captain Marvel” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) and although she never had them, it led to two things: “She-Hulk : Attorney at Law” and Gao’s ruthless trolling of Marvel Studios president and one of Hollywood’s most powerful people, Kevin Feige.

“I’m convinced that every opportunity you miss sets you up for something else,” Gao said. “I really believe that I didn’t get any of those three Marvel movie jobs because it was developing so far. ‘Cause what it really did for me was every time I introduced Kevin, and Lou [D’Esposito] and Victoria [Alonso]and Brad [Winterbaum], I can spend an hour with him, and I can shoot shit and hang out and chat. Then I have to pitch my film. So, of course, they reject me wholeheartedly. But every time I went to present, it was like, ‘Oh, hey, what’s up? Is this the time of year when you reject me again? Cool. What have you done since you rejected me? It really made the room very warm.

Gao continued, “Each time they got to know me more, I got to know them more. By the time I walked into the “She-Hulk” pitch, I think they had a pretty good idea of ​​my sense of humor. They had a good idea of ​​the type of writer I was, the kind of story I was building. They just had a very good indication of who I am. I think that really helped sell it because they didn’t come cold to me. They’ve spoken to me so many times already, they’ve understood the quirks and the nuances and the little things that I really infuse into everything.

It was also, she admits, where her Feige trolling was first established. The running joke was due to crescendo a few weeks ago at San Diego Comic Con, on stage at Hall H.

“I wanted a classic black Kevin baseball cap that had ‘Kevin Sucks’ written on it. I was going to wear it inside out when I arrived on stage at Comic-Con, so no one saw what he was saying,” Gao said. “The first time I was asked a question, I first wanted Sylvester Stallone in ‘Over The Top’ style, turn it around so everyone could see that she says “Kevin Sucks”. So don’t talk about it and answer the question. Then I would present the hat to Kevin.

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When she told Feige about it, he suggested that instead of a baseball cap, she should wear one of his trademark jumpsuits and have “Kevin Sucks” embroidered on the back.

“If I had the time, I absolutely would have found an embroiderer to custom embroider à la Evel Knievel, ‘Kevin Sucks’ on the back of my jumpsuit and strut my stuff on stage then take a spin. Then, back to the audience, just point with my thumbs,” Gao said.

Still, she said his good-natured Feige ribs are “100% our dynamic in person” and that Comic-Con history says a lot about who he is as a person and his inability to get too caught up in it. serious.

“I feel like this Comic-Con story really exemplifies what a great creative producer Kevin is, because he goes with everything,” Gao said. “He has no ego. He always tries the most. He’s a great improviser, because he always answers you with yes. But not only was he going to go with the ‘Kevin Sucks’ hat, but he made him better and better, that’s really why he’s so good at what he does, because that’s what he does for everything.The other thing I respect about him is that he’s probably one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, if not the most powerful man, and he lets me bully him mercilessly like we’re cousins.

We’ll have more of our longer conversation with Gao. New episodes of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” premiere every Thursday on Disney+.

When is 'She-Hulk: Attorney at Law' set in the MCU timeline, exactly?
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