Patty Guggenheim auditioned for her breakout part in “She-Hulk” as Madisynn via Zoom in her apartment thanks to the pandemic. And then, she tells POPSUGAR, during the video call in question, her cat jumped into her lap. “So I got to improvise with my cat a little bit, and it was really fun,” she recounts. Luckily, Guggenheim was already an improv pro, since she spent years training and performing with the Groundlings in LA. So really, it’s no wonder her comedic character her has made such a splash.
Guggenheim had previously worked with episode director Kat Koiro, who asked her to come in for Madisynn. It wasn’t a secret that she was auditioning for “She-Hulk,” though the scene she was given to read had no major details about which episode or what the plot of episode four actually was. And in extra precaution of leaked spoilers, her pages literally disappeared from her device. “It’s like you’re reading invisible ink as it dries,” she jokes.
Guggenheim says fan reactions to her scene-stealing role as the over-the-top Madisynn have been exciting, weird, and “really unexpected.” Weeks after the episode’s premiere, Madisynn has inspired memes, viral TikTok sounds, and countless tweets. “I had somebody write to me today, and it actually made me cry,” she admits. She reposted fan art someone had made of the character, and along with the graphic the fan had written that Madisynn — a normal, powerless human — felt like a connection into the Marvel universe. “Everybody wants to be that just everyday person who is all of a sudden around all of this magic,” she says. “So I see why people report to [Madisynn]and it just makes me feel so happy that I could bring any single person joy or make anyone laugh.” She hasn’t been recognized by fans while out and about (yet), though she did make people a little starstruck at her cousin’s wedding recently.”All of their friends were freaking out,” she says.
Guggenheim thinks of Madisynn not as a basic, silly party girl, but as someone who loves to connect with people and follow their good vibes and energy. “She was n’t really affected by going into fire land, but she likes to connect with people,” she explains. “Wong brought such a fun energy that she was like, ‘OK, this feels good. I’m going to go here and I’m going to stick around.'”
She had a similar experience meeting Benedict Wong, who plays Wong, the sorcerer supreme, in the MCU. “It was an instant thing,” she says of their connection. “It’s when you get in front of somebody and you just feel their energy without even words, almost. He just has such a lovable quality.”
“I think we had a lot of fun playing off each other, just because his character is so serious, but then also has such a funny lightness to himself as well,” she says of their dynamic as a pair. “He’s so quick and witty and good at comedy, and then also so brilliant at his dramatic, heavier-weighted stuff going on.”
Guggenheim learned about shipping — when fans want to characters to be together romantically — because of the show and the reaction to Madisynn and Wong together, but she says series creator and head writer Jessica Gao really wanted to keep their platonic connection. “I consider them really close, but they have known each other for two days,” she jokes.
She also took a souvenir for herself from the set: Madisynn’s tiny purse, which is too small to even hold a phone. She assures she’ll bring it back if Marvel decides to have Madisynn return in a future project. And she already has two heroes in mind for who she’d want Madisynn to meet: Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda (because people say they look alike), and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor — because of a wild coincidence: Guggenheim lives in an apartment the actor used to call home.
“I want to give him his mail,” Guggenheim says. “He needs to know. . . . I think it’s old Christmas cards from people, but still.”
“She-Hulk” airs new episodes on Thursdays.