CON: Incredible Hulk
MARVEL STUDIOS PANEL
If you were trying to get into Hall H for the big Marvel Studios panel - that showed off both IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK - I hope you were one of the lucky ones who got in. From everything I heard, it was a mad house trying to get inside as all the Con attendees wanted a peek at some of their favorite characters, as well as the assembled star power. First up in the Marvel panel was THE INCREDIBLE HULK with Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Avi Arad, director Louis Leterrier and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige ready to talk about the new HULK.
Filming had just begun on HULK and in fact all the actors had just flown in on the red-eye to make it to the Con (Tim Roth and William Hurt were scheduled to be in attendance but had to stay behind for some last minute stuff). Since filming is in its earliest stages there was no footage to show but Feige did say he wanted to show us all what the Hulk would look like in their film, and this is what he would look like:
Interesting in that it doesn't strive to look exactly like Ed Norton as the Ang Lee version tried so hard to look exactly like Eric Bana. The other big announcement at the panel was the news on who had written the script for INCREDIBLE HULK. Apparently it's not all the Zak Penn draft that we had though - it's Bruce Banner himself, Ed Norton. Though Norton was trying to be modest and didn't seem to want to admit it, they eventually did get him to say that he did write the script. While he didn't say this, I did get the sense that he wanted to star in the film but only if he could do some work on the script. I expect there will be some of Penn's work still in the shooting draft but with lots of Nortonisms peppered throughout.
Norton seemed a little nervous out in front of the crowd but not in a way that he didn't want to talk. He certainly had a lot to say and wanted to express why he signed on to star in the film because he understood some people were surprised he took the role. He even admitted that there were people in his personal life that he dreaded telling because he was afraid of their reaction. He said he would tell some people like "Oh, I'm doing the incrediblehulk..." He got some "funny looks" when he was telling people about it but once he explained himself, they would always come around.
As for why he wanted to star in the film, he said that he saw it as just as compelling a story as any Greek mythology and the fact that it came from a comic book wasn't relevant. It was a great story first and he jumped at that chance to really do it and take it seriously. His one concern about signing on to the film was that once the Hulk shows up on screen, whether he as an actor would disappear. He talked with Arad early on in the process to ensure that his acting would be used in animating the Hulk character. So know that somewhere down the line on the INCREDIBLE HULK DVD, you'll see Ed Norton in a blue suit with ping-pong balls all over his body going into a Hulk rage.
After they opened up to questions, someone asked about how the recent strides in CGI technology - like with TRANSFORMERS - will help bring Hulk to life in different ways than Ang Lee's film. Feige said that what they're looking to do with HULK couldn't have been done two years ago or even a year ago. They're using groundbreaking technology to bring The Hulk to screen.
You knew the topic of how this film relates to Ang Lee's HULK would come up and sure enough it did. Norton said that he sees the film and the HULK story as one that has "limitless" possibilities for retelling the story. To explain this theory, he said his recent film THE PAINTED VEIL had been redone a number of times before he starred in it.
Norton said that they're all big fans of the original TV series and Norton said that despite the show being remembered for Lou Ferrigno in green paint and "70s kitsch," he felt it really stayed true to the story and never talked down to the audience. He wants this film to take the subject as seriously as the series did. A Con attendee asked whether there would be some kind of tribute to the late Bill Bixby in the credits and Feige added they were definitely planning a tribute in the film but didn't want to comment yet on exactly what it would be.
All in all, it was a decent look at what was going into INCREDIBLE HULK despite the lack of footage or any kind of pre-production stuff (which would have been nice). Not surprisingly Norton is taking this very seriously and the level of talent involved is extremely impressive. I wish Leterrier and Tyler had more to say but a lot of the questions were directed towards Norton (aside from the Elvish people looking to talk to Liv) so he rolled with it. All in all, looks like this will be a lot better than the previous version.