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Jon Bass

Actor Jon Bass about being the villain of She-Hulk and getting to find and not lose himself in characters.

The latest Marvel and Disney+ series of this year was She-Hulk where we go to meet Jennifer Walters who manages to balance her work as a lawyer and her new life as a superhero. The legal comedy also presented us Todd someone who we can identify as the epitome of toxic masculinity, portrayed by Jon Bass — a chameleonic actor who got his breakout role with Baywatch and is part of the comedy Miracle Workers.

1883 Magazine chats with Jon to talk about She-Hulk, his character Todd, booking the role and more.

 

First of all, congratulations on the She-Hulk season finale, it was amazing. 

I know! I loved it so much. I was so happy with it, it was so fun.

 

I can tell. I feel that if you get to hate the character is because the actor is doing a great job, and honestly that’s what’s happening with your character Todd. So, congratulations on that. 

Oh thank you, that means the world. I’m glad you hated me. 

 

Not you, not you! Let’s talk about that, how do feel about the recognition that you’re getting from it? Is it different from the one that you get for Miracle Workers? I know Marvel fans can be pretty intense.

Yeah, the marvel fandom is pretty cool and honestly… I haven’t gotten much anger directed at me. It has been nice to see people be like “Hey! Congrats, you’re playing a really shitty guy and you’re doing a good job being shitty!” and I’m like «oh, thanks so much!» and it has been- it is, sometimes, tough to remove yourself from your character. Like, sometimes I’m like, man, they really hate me! I do have to remind myself that they hate Todd and not me. Thank god I didn’t lose myself in this character. I didn’t do any method acting for this one.

 

Oh good! I was about to ask you about that. We know all projects and roles are different so, how was the audition for this one and the process to canalize this guy? 

Well you know this was in the center of COVID-19 so, there were no auditions happening in person. The channels had change a little bit in terms of how things were happening. This was a really weird one, I was in the middle of shooting season three of Miracle Workers and I just got a call one day after doing one audition that I’ve gotten the part. I’ve heard that it’s very different for every actor; there can be a part where is one line and the audition you do is five times for that one line. There can be someone who they just offer the part to, so you know everyone has their own version of it. But that was definitely my version, I guess it was the most normal version possible. 

 

 

Correct me if I’m wrong but you are a theatre kid, did you play some part on the wardrobe design for Todd? Because even though he’s a resented bro, he has kind of a theatre chic look.

Oh I’m still a theatre kid! It’s embarrassing absolutely, yeah. There was a conversation about what Todd wore, I said I wanted a lot of scarves. I wanted him to feel like you know, kind of a that nouveau riche. Like he has money, and he wants to show that he has money. So it’s not like it’s designer clothes, but they’re designer clothes that show that you just spent money on it. They’re not like, cool. But to Todd it’s very cool. 

 

You got your breakout role with Baywatch in a very different character, is there something that you take with you from your characters? Something that you embrace and take home?

I have a wall right here that has like all of my… that’s pretty much what I take with me. But in a sort of open ended I mean absolutely. I think every character sort of sticks with you a little bit. With Ronnie from Baywatch I took home some really great dance moves but it is very, very hard to quantify it. But I think with every character you sort of try to find something within yourself that you’re trying to explore. As much as I hate Todd, I understand Todd, you know? Although it was kind of a funny dumb comedy with Baywatch I’m still tying to find how I would react if I was a lifeguard. I don’t know, it’s kind of a hard question to answer. I think that’s the metaphysical quality of it, it falls in line with just really finding yourself within each character. 

 

How was working for Marvel? You told me that the fandom was pretty supportive at this point…

Yeah well, we’ll see in a week (referring to the season finale) but working for Marvel was amazing. I think that it’s been a dream come true. I was on a Euro trip with my friend when I saw Iron Man and I remember going in and not being worried but I was like, “let’s go see this dumb movie, and it’ll be like another superhero movie but let’s go” and then coming out of the movie theatre and being taken aback. From then on I just got more and more into the MCU. I am a fan of the thing that I’ve been doing so that’s sort of a weird cross-section that I don’t think happens every day as an actor, sometimes you just play the role you’ve been given. But this is a special one for me just because not only was it a great experience with the producing team and the creative team, directors and writers, but it’s also just a really amazing thing that I never really thought I was going to be able to be a part of and to now see the final episode and see myself “hulk out” and have that its… I know it sounds dumb but it’s like touching, I can’t believe it. 

 

 

No, it’s not dumb at all it’s really sweet! Okay one more, let’s leave Marvel aside to conclude this, do you have like a top three plays on or off Broadway? 

Oh top three. Well I’m a huge, huge fan of A Strange Loop which is on Broadway right now and it’s the queerest thing I’ve ever seen on Broadway. It’s really cool, really beautiful. I think that’s a really special one. And then the first musical I ever saw on Broadway was Wicked which holds a very near and dear place in my heart. And other than that, the best play… man there’s so many plays.

 

Tricky question, I know, but it’s the last one.

It’s a really tricky question! And I haven’t seen one in so long but I think the last play that I really, really loved was The Flick it was a great play that I saw when it had like a six month run off Broadway. That one was really great. 

 

All episodes of She-Hulk are now streaming on Disney+

Interview Lorna Grant

Photography Sela Shiloni

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