The “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” team is defending criticism about the visual effects work in the Tatiana Maslany-led show, amid a recent wave of VFX artists speaking up about alleged poor working conditions for projects produced by Marvel Studios.
“I feel incredibly, like, deferential to how talented these artists are and how quickly they have to work, obviously, like much quicker than probably should be given to them, in terms of like churning these things out,” Maslany told reporters during a virtual panel for the upcoming Disney+ series at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Wednesday.
Jessica Gao, who is head writer on the series, added: “It’s terrible that a lot of artists feel rushed and feel that the the workload is too massive. I mean, I think everybody on this panel stands in solidarity with all workers and is very pro-good working conditions.”
“She-Hulk” director Kat Coiro noted that while she’s worked with VFX artists on the show, “we’re not behind the scenes on these long nights and days.”
“If they’re feeling pressure we stand with them and we listen to them,” Coiro added.
Maslany, Gao and Coiro had been asked by a journalist about their experiences with the “She-Hulk” VFX artists and “how you feel about the finished product,” noting that “there have been numerous accounts lately that VFX houses … they are feeling incredibly crushed by the studios in general and Marvel keeps getting called out.”
Criticism specifically of Marvel Studios has been bubbling on the internet over the past few months, starting with anonymous posts on Reddit alleging overwhelming last-minute changes and poor pay for overtime. One artist, Dhruv Govil, posted to Twitter in July that working on Marvel shows “is what pushed me to leave the VFX industry,” alleging that Marvel is “a horrible client” and that he’s witnessed colleagues “break down after being over worked, while Marvel tightens the purse strings.”
“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” has undergone even more scrutiny due to its inherent premise, in which Jennifer Walters (Maslany) — an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases — must navigate the complicated life of a single, 30-something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch super-powered hulk.
Transforming Maslany into She-Hulk requires a level of complex CGI work that most TV shows don’t have the time or budget to handle at much length, and the first trailer for the show was criticized for what some felt was unconvincing CGI work.
During the TCA panel, Maslany defended the visual effects on the show. “I do think that we have to like be super conscious of how the work conditions aren’t always optimal and that they’ve made these amazing strides in this industry,” the actor said. “I watch it and it doesn’t look like a cutscene from a video game. I can see the character’s thoughts. I feel very in awe of what they do.”
Coiro also addressed criticism of how She-Hulk looks on the series. “I do think that has to do with our culture’s belief in their ownership of women’s bodies,” she said. “There’s a lot of talk about her body type. We based her a lot on Olympian athletes, not bodybuilders, but I think if we’d gone the other way, we would be facing the same critique. I think it’s very hard to win when you make women’s bodies.”
The nine-episode comedy series, was pushed on Wednesday from its original Aug. 17 debut to Aug. 18. It costars Mark Ruffalo as Jessica’s cousin Bruce Banner (and also the Hulk), Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky (and also the Abomination), and Benedict Wong as Wong, as well as Jameela Jamil, Josh Segarra, Ginger Gonzaga, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry.