Universal Studios was gracious enough to allow Mania the opportunity to interview the producers, director and villain of the Incredible Hulk. After watching a kick ass action sequence and the first of Emil Blonsky’s super soldier formula injections (yes, you read that right, super soldier formula injections) I was given the chance to ask some Mania type questions about the Incredible Hulk but also about other films the cast and crew were involved with.
Robert Trate: You started on Alien: Resurrection as a set production assistant. Here you are eleven years later directing a huge block buster. What do you attribute to your success?
Louis Leterrier: (laughs) Chance luck. I’ll tell you a little story. I was a second unit director for the Transporter. I was supposed to do the same job for Transport 2. The director of the first, Corey Yuen, placed me in charge to prep the movie until he showed up. Eight weeks, five weeks, three weeks past and the week of the movie I am showing him around and he calls me into his office and says that he is unable start the movie. He told me to get the movie started and he would take over. He never showed up so in essence I stole the movie and became its director. The film was successful and I became a director.
RT: Will we see Transporter 3?
LL: You will but I am not doing it.
RT: Will you be involved at all?
LL: I called the director, Olivier Megaton, who is a friend of mine and told him to make it fun and for the fans.
RT: Since you grew up in France did you watch the The Incredible Hulk TV show?
LL: Yeah, that was the main reason I did the film. I loved the show.
RT: I noticed that in the clip, you started with Bruce Banner’s transformation by showing his eyes in the same fashion as the TV show.
LL: Yes, the eyes. It looked like he was in pain and the transformation was so painful.
RT: For me that captured the essence of the show and I’m sure for the fans it will too.
LL: Thank you.
Unfortunately Louis Leterrier had to move on to other interviews and but right behind him was Mr. Orange himself, Tim Roth. Roth is playing Emil Blonsky (aka the Abomination) in the Incredible Hulk. The film takes a departure from the comic and makes Emil a member of the United States Army, instead of a Soviet Spy, who volunteers to under go the super soldier formula treatment. Why? Emil Blonsky craves the power and strength that the Hulk possesses. Eventually this will lead to a monstrous transformation for Emil and his power and appearance will supercede the Hulk’s. However, we weren’t shown a monster battle royal clip, though they promised many in the film. The clip shown at the panel showed Emil’s first injections and his first physical confrontation with the Hulk.
RT: What was the first thing they showed you for Abomination’s likeness in the film?
Tim Roth: First I saw a drawing. That would later evolve, but he is quite close to how he is in the comic. He really is an exciting character. They would keep me informed of how he looked as the development progressed.
RT: Were you disappointed that your Abomination doesn’t have pointy ears?
TR: (Laughs) Yeah, there is going to be questions about that. I think that would have been possible. We did have a problem with the reptile effect. (Laughs) I don’t know, I like the way he is. I think we could have made those things work.
RT: Who do you think is a bigger heel, Emil Blonksky or Archibald Cunningham (his Oscar nominated villain in Rob Roy)?
TR: That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t know. (Smiles) I’d say maybe Blonsky.
RT: You stated that this film is for your kids. Now, will you be disappointed when they go for the Incredible Hulk action figure over Abomination?
TR: When I did Planet of the Apes I found my Thade figure buried in the mud head first with his feet bitten off. I know there are going to be some surprises when I get home. They have a few of them now actually.
Tim Roth stated at the panel that this was his first Comic Con and that his next film with be an adaptation of Jack London’s book the Sea Wolf.
Uber producer Gale Anne Hurd then walked into the room. She has been involved with both incarnations of the original Hulk and Punisher movies. Gale Anne Hurd is one of the producers of the Incredible Hulk but her list of credits includes: Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Aliens, Armageddon,and the upcoming Punisher: War Zone.
RT: You have produced the original Hulk and Punisher films. What brought you to the decision to do it all again with both characters?
Gale Anne Hurd: Well, those characters have existed for a long time. I believe that there are still many stories to be told where you can have new characters and villains introduced. I was never satisfied with just one and it is a great opportunity to reboot and explore different aspects of the characters.
RT: You had a personal stake in the Terminator movies. Why aren’t you involved in the new film?
GAH: I’ll tell you what happened. Bankruptcy court happened. Jim (James Cameron) and I made the first two films with a company that went into bankruptcy and bankruptcy court said that one of us (Jim or I) had to buy the other out and I couldn’t afford it. It really was like watching your children being adopted by someone else.
RT: With the super solider formula introduced in this film are you laying the ground work for Captain America and the Avengers movies?
GAH: That is a question you will have to ask Marvel. We do have Tim Blake Nelson in the Incredible Hulk who plays Samuel Sterns (aka super villain the Leader) so anything is possible.
Many of you may know this but most of you may not that Kevin Feige has been involved with practically every film adaptation of Marvel’s comic book heroes since Bryan Singer’s X-Men. Kevin Feige stated at the panel that after the huge reception for Iron Man at the San Diego Comic Con he knew that the New York Comic Con was the place to unveil the Hulk in action with scenes outside of what was in the trailer.
RT: Hey Kevin, I have more fan-boy type questions for you, is that cool?
Kevin Feige: Great, I love them.
RT: You have since become the uber producer of all the Marvel movies since your involvement with the first very first X-Men movie. I noticed that Doctor Strange has been announced as in development. Who would be your ideal Doctor Strange?
KF: These questions often come back to haunt me. The truth is I think Doctor Strange is one of the most unique characters we have. Like the casting of Tony Stark there is a lot of pressure.
RT: You did cast the perfect actor in that role with Robert Downey Jr.
KF: I think we were very fortunate to get him in that role and don’t think that it would have been possible at another studio. I think Stephen Strange shares a quirkiness, a uniqueness with Tony Stark so I can think of a hand full of people to play Stephen Strange. What I love to do is ask you guys who you want to play role. We patrol the message boards all the time to see who the fans want in this particular role. I’ll tell you this, our movies have two casting lists. One that comes from the casting director and our own ideas but the other is from the message boards about what people are buzzing about.
RT: You introduce the super soldier formula in the Incredible Hulk. Are you laying the ground work for the Avengers movie?
KF: I think for the fans that’s definitely what it is. For the general movie going public it will go right over their heads. I love doing Easter Eggs like that whether the general audience gets it or not, because we had a great experience on X2 in post production where we added this little glow under the water to signify the Phoenix. If you think you saw the Phoenix great, if you saw a glow under the water, okay. An amazing thing happened because even if you were one of the fifty people who got it or understood that one person would pass it on and tell other people creating a buzz. Definitely in Iron Man and certainly in the Incredible Hulk we are adding the same kind of thing to get that discussion. Whether you’re a fan boy or not you will become a part of that community and part of that discussion.
RT: There is an appearance by Lou Ferrigno in the film. Since Bill Bixby has passed away is there any kind of tribute to him in the film?
KF: In truth the whole thing is a tribute to Bill Bixby because it is more like the TV show. If you look at the teaser poster you will see that. Now you probably couldn’t hear it over the screaming at the panel but we did the original TV theme in the clip, faintly at the end. That theme will be in the move and that is the tribute to Bill.
RT: Man-Thing has made a resurgence in the comics with the Dead of Night. Are there any plans for a series or an anthology even though the Man-Thing movie didn’t do so well?
KF: (Smiles) There was a Man-Thing movie? Really?
RT: I didn’t see it.
KF: (Still smiling) There are no active plans. There is always a chance. I read almost every comic every month. It is one of my perks that I get to read comics for my job. If I like something I will put it into make a TV show or make a movie pile.
RT: So you are one of the privileged few who get all the Marvel titles for free?
KF: No, not everything. They don’t send me those really nice hard covers they put out. I have to go to the store and buy those for myself.
KF: Thank you.
Check out a Hi-Res Trailer of the Incredible Hulk on the Marvel site.