Jon Bass She-Hulk Finale Interview

This story contains spoilers for the Season One finale of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

Jon Bass loves to play the piece of shit. The She-Hulk actor, who plays the billionaire Tony Stark wannabe Todd Phelps, is sitting on a park bench in New York City when I ask him to describe—over the phone, in public—how it feels to be a satirical incel on TV. “So embarrassing,” he says, half-teasing. “Sorry! I crack myself up.”

Bass, 33, is a generally silly dude who grew up doing impressions of Jim Carrey in The Mask, only to undergo his own abnormally green transformation, years later, in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. In the show’s climactic moment, Bass’s character reveals that he was the secret villain working behind the scenes, publicly shaming She-Hulk, the entire time. Poking fun at She-Hulk‘s most unbearable critics, he transforms into a Hulk himself—and, we’re meant to understand, a physical manifestation of misogyny. It’s a ludicrous ending that forces She-Hulk to break the fourth wall, pop out of the Disney+ home screen, and convince the writers to give her the ending her character deserves. “For a glimmer of a beautiful moment, I get to Hulk out,” Bass says, calling the moment “a dream come true.”

Growing up in Bellaire, TX, Bass did what any aspiring preteen actor does: immersed himself in school theater. After graduating from Boston University with a theater degree, he moved to New York City and auditioned for The Book of Mormon nine times over the course of a year and a half. He eventually landed the lead role, replacing Josh Gad. “I really think you have to be a special type of stupid to get into acting,” he muses. “It’s confidence and stupidity at an all-time high to think that you can actually do it. Luckily, it worked out.” Thankfully, Bass is feeling much healthier now that he no longer gives “all the shits.” After The Book of Mormon, Bass starred in the Baywatch reboot, Comedy Central’s Big Time in Hollywood, FL, and the anthology comedy series Miracle Workers alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi.

“I think I’m pretty lucky in the fact that I have major beta male energy, but I’m also a pretty good hang,” Bass tells me from the park bench. “I can tap into an incel type of a guy real easy, but also know that that’s wrong.” It’s a certain kind of tightrope-walking Bass has to do to become as cringe as Todd, but also embody the kind of character you love to hate. “It’s the King Joffrey acting style,” he says, referencing the monstrous boy-king from Game of Thrones. In the first She-Hulk scene Bass filmed as the twerpy billionaire, he had to flaunt his purchase of ancient Wakandan artifacts, which might have the power to pierce She-Hulk’s skin. (This is all before Todd makes a pervy move on the heroine, by the way.)“You have to be so comfortable with making fun of yourself,” Bass jokes. “You have to be like, ‘I’m going to be this piece of shit.’ And it seems to be working. I think a lot of people really fucking hate me.”

As a big Marvel fan, Bass figured out what he was getting into when he auditioned for a series with the working title of… wait for it… “Big Lady.” He sent in a tape and got the part just one week later. “For the rest of the shoot, I was terrified that they accidentally hired me,” Bass says. “Still to this day, it could be the most expensive prank of all time. Any time I get a part, I think someone’s fucking with me. It just feels so crazy.” When Bass heard that he would get to Hulk out in the finale? He screamed. Obviously.

Later on, Bass describes a day that sounds very reminiscent of the viral Benedict Cumberbatch video, where the actor crawls and roars like a dragon for the motion-capture scenes of Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy. Strapped in a big Hulk rig, Bass went a little batshit. “There’s a good ten minutes of me quoting Jim Carrey as The Mask, being like, “‘Somebody, stop me!'” he says. In the rest of our talk, Bass dished about She-Hulk‘s finale, what’s next for Todd Phelps in the MCU, and what we can expect a “certain culture” of Marvel fans to yell about after the series comes to a close.

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“Put me in talks with Spider-Man,” Bass says of his MCU future. “I’ll do something with Thor, whoever’s down.”

How do you think fans will react to the finale?

Jon Bass: Nobody is predicting this. I think it’s amazing. There is a certain culture in the Marvel world that takes issue with anything that a woman does, which is sort of who my character is. I think it’s so much more fun to have people get all pissed at you, So, I think it’s going to be amazing and I think people are going to love it. All that shit that is getting thrown around about this toxicity in the community, to me at least, is so funny. It’s just white noise. Everyone doesn’t need to have an opinion about everything. But if you are going to talk about it, just be ready for people to be like, “You’re dumb.”

When did you find out that Todd would be the secret villain at the end of the series?

JB: It took quite a while just because it is very secretive and they don’t want to let anything get leaked. I didn’t find out until I signed everything and did all the NDAs and all the stuff that they make you do as their puppet. And just so you know, I’m very happy to be a Marvel puppet. Please, Kevin Feige, put your hand up me and make me talk. But once I signed everything, they sent me all ten scripts. I started reading and I was just like, “This rules.” I read that last episode, ran up to my girlfriend, and was like, “I get to Hulk out!” And then ran back to her five minutes later being like, “Never mind, but it’s actually better!”

As someone who gets to have an awkward date scene with She-Hulk, is there something you think about modern dating that She-Hulk totally nailed?

JB: Yeah, all of it. I think my favorite date was the one with the guy who said, “I’m a New Yorker through and through and I make her pay for the bill,” that’s my favorite one. But as far as my dates go with She-Hulk, I mean, God, I’m just such a piece of shit. I feel like a lot of my friends have dealt with dating—and I’ve been on dates with girls, if you can believe it—where after the dates they’ll just say, “Thank you.” And I’ll go, “Why?” And they’ll say, “For just being normal.” When someone has to thank you for just being normal, you can only imagine what the other experiences have been.

“There is a certain culture in the Marvel world that takes issue with anything that a woman does, which is sort of who my character is,” Bass says. “I think it’s so much more fun to have people get all pissed at you.”

What do you hope audiences take away from She-Hulk?

I think that it’s a good TV show and it doesn’t need to be anything else. To me, She-Hulk is the first TV show that Marvel has done in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ section of it. It is the first one that is 30 minutes long, you laugh, and you have a good time. It feels so insane that the show that [showrunner] Jessica [Gao] made was written three years ago and is able to signal what every single one of these incel toxic pieces of shit are saying. There’s some fun stuff that you’ll learn along the way, but I don’t think there’s much to take from it other than to have a good time.

What’s next for you?

This is going to sound kind of crazy, but I am working on an album. It’s songs that me and my girlfriend sing around the house. It started off as a joke, but they’re bangers. I want to do more and I want to make a whole album of songs that me and my girlfriend sing around the house called Little Ditties. One of them is called “Dang Thing.” It was when I woke up one morning and had to go get milk. I was like, “Did you do it?” And then I started singing apropos of nothing, “I guess you could say I did the dang thing, I did the dang thing all day.” And I was like, “That’s a banger.” So we’re having fun, but I am legitimately working on a full-length album at this point.

Could there be more Todd Phelps in the MCU’s future?

JB: Yeah, I was pitching to Jessica [Gao] the other day that Todd and Titania should date for social media clout. At first, I was thinking “ToddTania” would be their hashtag. But then I was like, no, Titania wouldn’t feel comfortable with Todd being first. So it would have to be TiTtoddia, which I actually like a lot more. Put me in talks with Spider-Man. I’ll do something with Thor, whoever’s down. But I also think that if this is it for Todd, if this is it for me in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what a fucking way to go. I get to Hulk out and then I get to peace out.

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