My favorite part of writing DREAMCASTING WITH DENISE is doing the opposite of what Warner Bros. has been doing the last couple of years: I get to pick actors for roles based on personality and performance rather than name and fame. You can take that however you like. The best thing about hearing a good fan-cast is that moment when you can imagine it perfectly. There is an almost audible click in your head and it’s like all the pieces fall into place. You want to go tell all your friends, you want to make gif sets on Tumblr, you want to celebrate with cake and fancy beer. And sometimes you didn’t even have to think of it yourself, sometimes an actor does all the legwork for you.
A little over a year ago when Marvel’s The Avengers came out Angie Harmon revealed a geeky side that no one really expected. When Bruce admitted that his secret was that he was always angry, Angie said she was so excited and overjoyed she stood up and gave a resounded “whoop” right there in the theater. Now, while most people at midnight showings had that very same reaction, it wasn’t common for a former Baywatch babe turned bombshell TV detective to do the same. On Twitter, she couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved the movie and wished she could play an awesome role like that and quickly someone informed her that Bruce Banner had a cousin, She-Hulk, who was also (cue angelic singing) a lawyer.
If you’re familiar with Angie’s previous work, like I am, then you could only image how much her mind must have been blown away in that instant. In less than 140 characters Angie Harmon became the biggest Jennifer Walters stan. After some research and a few tweets she rallied and riled her fans into her new campaign to hopefully play She-Hulk at some point and then after a couple glasses of champagne she had a fangirl meltdown in front of the press about how it is now her dream role.
I have made it no secret that I absolutely adore She-Hulk. Unlike Bruce and his big, green alter ego, Jennifer needs She-Hulk and has a tendency to stay in her other form for long periods of time because she prefers it. To me, she symbolizes the real hardship in choosing whether you want to be a famous superhero or a normal mild-mannered civilian. As Jennifer, she is a whip-smart lawyer who tends to become emotionally attached to her cases and is unable to resist fighting for the underdog. As She-Hulk her strength rivals few and she feels free to be the wild, sexy, happy woman she never felt comfortable being before. During the Dan Slott/Peter David run they delve deeper into her reasons for wanting to stay hulked out when her cousin infamously resents his gamma radiation. But for her, She-Hulk was never a burden, it was a gift.
Now while I have mentioned on many occasions how much I love She-Hulk I don’t think I’ve mentioned how crazy I am about Angie Harmon. I like to think of Law & Order as a careful step-parent that didn’t necessarily coddle me as a child but watched over me and taught me lessons in right and wrong. I was unaware of it at the time but the warm, billowy feelings in my belly every time Angie Harmon took over the courtroom as Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael were the blooming saplings of my first real girl!crush. I loved everything about her, she didn’t take shit from anyone and in the height of sickly sweet, blonde bimbos Angie was tall, dark, and smoldering. I wanted to be just like her.
After a few years of small roles she really found her place as one of the leads in the TNT drama, “Rizzoli & Isles” a female buddy cop dramedy that I instantly became obsessed with. She plays Jane Rizzoli a brilliantly, no-frills homicide detective who lives for the job. She’s compassionate and confident and her relationships with her family and the other officers is endearing. She’s like a loveable bulldog. The second she appears on screen it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off her and that kind of commanding presence is what makes her so perfect for She-Hulk.
Angie is capable of portraying vulnerability without losing the glimmer of fight in her eyes. That’s damn impressive. It’s easy to forget that letting your guard down isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s an act of bravery. One of the most beautiful things about Jennifer Walters is her admittance that She-Hulk is the best version of her, or at least that’s what she thinks. It’s not self-deprecating or a question of self-worth, it’s an honest opinion. She looks at what She-Hulk is capable of and knows she could never accomplish the same things and because she doesn’t succumb to animal instinct when green she could still be a kick-ass attorney and look like a emerald Amazon.
She-Hulk is a great role model. Maybe her promiscuity isn’t the best message for young children but her self-confidence and unwillingness to bend to social norms is something we should all be jealous of. She flaunts her body and her strength, she protects those who can’t protect themselves, and she always manages to keep her quick wit and open heart. She works hard and plays hard. I’m not saying she needs to be in Avengers 2 but eventually when she does show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe she is going to charm the pants off of everyone. And, frankly, I’m more than happy to be another notch on Shulkie’s bedpost.