Ginger Gonzaga is aware that playing a character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a big deal. And bagging the role of Nikki Ramos, who is the best friend of Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, is a dream come true.
She plays a paralegal who enjoys playing outside the lines, so to speak. She’s not one to follow rules. Being in her company can easily land someone in trouble but, in Nikki’s case, it’s welcomed.
Nikki’s infectious personality is offset by a carefree approach to life. She loves who she loves. That’s it.
In a recent press junket, Gonzaga, who exudes a high energy that’s contagious, raved about the opportunity, the role and the show.
Having planted her feet in stand-up, Gonzaga worked her way into several acting gigs, which, while helpful in furthering her career, pales in comparison to the doors that will open for her.
And she poured her heart and soul into her sidekick character.
She shared: “I cared very much about making sure that Nikki provided a lot of the comedic relief. And I wanted her to be specific. They let me design a lot of her wardrobe looks and a lot of her make-up looks and I didn’t want her to be like a lot of other friends in the MCU.
“I really love Bill Murray and a lot of cool comedians who are very off the cuff.
“They don’t take things too seriously. And that is kind of what Nikki is doing. Finding the humour and getting into a lot of trouble.”
Gonzaga added: “Nikki will date women, she likes men, she loves being limitless and having no boundaries. She is that person who can be in any environment. She could get along with villains, she can manipulate villains. She can sneak in.
“She is just that person who could talk to anyone, anywhere, so I think she could just get into some cool trouble that way. She’s very brave, probably stupidly so. That is what I love about her.”
Being a part of the MCU is a win-win for the 39-year-old comedian.
She admitted: “I’ve seen all of the Marvel movies in theatre. It is something that I, even as an actor, wanted to feel better or remind myself of what was possible, I would go see a Marvel movie. Now being a part of it, it is a bit weird because you are an equal part fan but it is also your job.”
As excited as she was about her role, she was also pretty chuffed to be working with Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth.
Gonzaga revealed: “Well, Mark Ruffalo. Everyone has always said he is the greatest person on the planet. And I was like: ‘Okay, I will see for myself.’ He is one of the greatest people on the planet. He is so fun. He is childlike. He’s instantly your friend.
“You feel so welcomed by this Marvel icon. Meeting Mark is like being with a best friend and with Tim, I didn’t have as many episodes with him but it was interesting to see this character come back into the MCU
“And to come back in a way where we make him really funny. It was fun bringing Tim Roth into our silly world. He’s a very famous dramatic actor. It tickled us to have him be silly in this world.”
Roth, interestingly enough, plays Emil Blonsky / Abomination, who is a Russian-born former officer in the UK's Royal Marines Commandos.
Following an experimental treatment, he is able to turn into a monster of a similar ilk to Hulk. He is one of Walters’ clients.
What has really helped her bring Nikki to life is the ability to transpose her comedy.
She explained: “I think I’m cheating with this role because I’m very much like Nikki. Also, they let me infuse a lot of myself into it. A lot of it is my personality.
“You know, I’m obsessed with fashion. I’m obsessed with clothes, I live my life in a very free but loving way. I care about people. I love doing everything that Nikki does.
“Nikki is like the fun celebrity hanger-on that always benefits from being celebrity adjacent. So, she kind of gets a kick out of it and maybe to her fault finds humour in everything and doesn’t take everything too seriously and I do that as well.”
Another bonus for Gonzaga was getting to work alongside Tatiana Maslany, the superhero comedy drama's eponymous lead.
She eulogised: “I’m so lucky with the kind of chemistry I have with Tatiana. We have some very close mutual friends and we met each other at a party before the show.
“And we were fans of each other's work. We were saying that we wished that we worked together someday and the next project we get is ‘She-Hulk’. It was wild.
“Chemistry is not something you can force. She is just meant to play She-Hulk and they accepted the way I played Nikki. They tested our chemistry on zoom and it was just very instant. I don’t have to fake how much I love Tatiana
“She is a very vulnerable actor and I am a very vulnerable actor. We spoke the same language. We cared a lot about the same things about our characters. We were just very lucky. It’s such an honour.”
Although she had a blast with this role, the shoot was intense as it was quick and fast. As such, she had to ensure she got it right in the first two takes.
Where to next on that back of what many would call a dream role?
She paused for a second and responded: “I only just started watching The Matrix. My friend says I sound like Morpheus. I love how flashy and weird and symbolic that movie is.
“I would like to do something on a really major scale that included a lot of physicality that is cerebral. Also, I direct and write so my dream is to make my feature right now.”
“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” is streaming on Disney+.