Patty Guggenheim auditioned for her breakout role in She-Hulk as Madisynn via Zoom at her apartment thanks to the pandemic. And then, she tells POPSUGAR, her cat jumped onto her lap during the video call in question. “So I was allowed to improvise a bit with my cat and that was really fun,” she says. Luckily, Guggenheim was already an improv pro, having spent years training and performing with the Groundlings in LA. No wonder, then, that her comedic character has attracted so much attention.
Guggenheim had previously worked with episode director Cat Koiro, who asked her to fill in for Madisynn. It was no secret that she auditioned for She-Hulk, although the scene she was supposed to read didn’t provide any significant details as to which episode or what the plot of episode four actually was. And as an added precaution against leaked spoilers, the pages literally disappeared from her device. “It’s like reading invisible ink as it dries,” she jokes.
Guggenheim says the fan reaction to her scene-stealing role as an over-the-top Madisynn was exciting, strange, and “really unexpected.” Weeks after the episode premiered, Madisynn has inspired memes, viral TikTok sounds, and countless tweets. “Someone texted me today and it made me cry,” she admits. She published fan art that someone had made of the character and along with the artwork the fan had written that Madisynn – a normal, powerless human – felt like a connection to the Marvel Universe. “Everyone wants to be that normal person who’s suddenly surrounded by all this magic,” she says. “So I understand why people are referring to it [Madisynn]and it just makes me so happy that I could bring joy to every single person or make someone laugh.” She hasn’t been recognized by fans out there (yet), although she did leave people a little amazed at her cousin’s recent wedding. “All her friends freaked out,” she says.
Guggenheim doesn’t see Madisynn as a simple, goofy party girl, but as someone who loves connecting with people and following their good vibes and energy. “She wasn’t really affected by going to Tierra del Fuego, but she likes to connect with people,” she explains. “Wong brought such a fun energy with her that she said, ‘Okay, that feels good. I’m going to go here and stay here.’”
She had a similar experience when she met Benedict Wong, who plays Wong, the head wizard, in the MCU. “It was an instant thing,” she says of their connection. “It’s when you stand in front of someone and feel their energy without words, almost. He just has such a lovely quality.”
“I think we had a lot of fun playing each other off precisely because his character is so serious but then also has such a comical ease with himself,” she says of their dynamic as a couple. “He’s so fast and funny and good at comedy, and then so brilliant at his more dramatic, heavier stuff.”
Guggenheim learned about shipping because of the show and the reaction to Madisynn and Wong — when fans want to be romantically together — but she says series creator and head writer Jessica Gao really wanted to keep their connection platonic. “I think they’re very close, but they’ve known each other for two days,” she jokes.
She also picked up a souvenir from the set: Madisynn’s tiny purse, which is too small to even hold a phone. She assures that if Marvel decides to bring Madisynn back in a future project, she will bring it back. And she already has two heroes in mind for Madisynn to meet: Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda (because people say they look alike) and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor – due to a wild coincidence: Guggenheim lives in an apartment that the actor used to call home.
“I want to give him his mail,” says Guggenheim. “He needs to know… I think they’re old people’s Christmas cards, but still.”
“She-Hulk” airs new episodes on Thursdays.