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Edit visit: Hulk!

May. 27, 2008by:

When I first heard about Universal and their attempt to revive The Hulk, I had mixed feelings. Actually, I didnt have mixed feelings at all, it just seemed like a bad idea. Not that Ang Lees Hulk was necessarily a bad film, it just felt like something that it shouldnt be. I didnt feel as if there was any real connection between beast and filmmaker. So the idea of returning to something that was released such a short time ago and not being a sequel, well it just seemed like an idea that should just be put to rest. But it takes a lot for Hollywood to let things die. And thus, THE INCREDIBLE HULK is hitting theatres in just a few short weeks, June 13th to be exact. And with my first viewing of the trailer, I was far from excited. I liked the idea of putting Edward Norton in the role that Bill Bixby made popular. And I also felt that the other casting choices were pretty good, including William Hurt, Liv Tyler and the always interesting Tim Roth. So far, it was sounding promising, but then that damn CGI Hulk made his appearance. It didnt work for me in 2003 and I didnt think it would work now.

After the trailer, I got the whole thing out of my mind. It completely went off my radar as to my interest in the film. And then, Universal graciously invited us to visit the Editing Bay where the final touches on HULK are underway. Even going in I kept thinking that this is going to be one of those times where I would be further pushed away from wanting to see the finished product. But there I was at Universal Studios, waiting to get at sneak peek along with a few other on-line journalists. And truth be told, as we made our way to the edit bay, I was oddly impressed with a life-size Hulk statue. Im not saying, Oh, its a life size Hulk this movie will definitely be great! Frankly, I am just entertained by life size monsters that Id like to take home and put in my living room. But that is a completely different personal issue which I will possible address at a later date. So as we left the big green guy behind, we all gathered in a screening room/edit bay, where we were then introduced to the films director Louis Leterrier and a couple of its producers, perhaps you've heard of Gale Anne Hurd and Kevin Feige. Now, I know that producers are supposed to be excited about their films, even if they really think it is a stinking pile of dung. But for some reason, the three of these nice folk really seemed to be damn proud of the film. Heres hoping the audiences will agree.

After a brief introduction, we were shown the opening credits to the film. I know what you are saying big f*cking deal! Opening credits will really tell you a whole lot about a film yeah right! But there was a point to this. We are given the entire Bruce Banner history within a short two and a half minutes, approximately. Thus, this is truly a new chapter for the Hulk and not another origin tale. I personally am happy about that fact. One thing we dont need is a brand new take on the birth of the Hulk. It has been done, not only in Ang Lee's film, but also with the comics and the classic television series. And keeping in mind that this is only the opening credits, I was happy with the score. So already, I was a tad more excited than I was before I entered the hallowed halls of Universal. Again, it was much too little to really base any assumptions on whether the film would work or not, but it did answer a few questions as to the type of film we were getting. After that, Louis chimed in on his rhyme and reason for the opening.

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Louis Leterrier: This sets the pace because it's really a chase movie. It's like my other movies; non-stop [he makes machine gun noises]... Whether it's action or drama, you don't stop. Action doesn't wait for drama and drama doesn't wait for action... With this little opening sequence you'll understand.

Kevin Fiege: That last shot of him grabbing the metronome is the first shot of the actual story. We meet him in Brazil.

LL: Kyle and myself are super Marvel geeks. There are lots of little things like the Nick Fury memo, the known accomplices That's Craig Armstrong's music... Everybody is really excited about the music... You say that, at the end he stops the metronome, which he is using to calm himself down, and he's in Brazil. That's where he's been hiding

Gale Anne Hurd: That was the inciting incident.

KF: You'll learn later when Ross has some dialogue with Blonsky that that was the laboratory experiment that created the Hulk.

Is this a Reboot?

KF: Totally separate, totally independent origin that is not explored in a whole lot more detail than what you just saw. It just sets the scene for this chase. He's already the Hulk, he's been on the run for a long time... Louis has a great thing throughout the movie... The movie doesn't say five years later, two months later, two weeks later.' The locators are cards that are 'days without incident.' Banner's whole life is tracked from the last time he Hulked out and his attempt for it to be as many days as possible between these events. When we meet him, he's been holding it at bay for 100 or 150 days...

LL: For those of you who know the TV show... Of course we enhanced the technology, but it pretty much looks like the TV show... We thought it would be cheap and we could go to Universal and say, 'Can you send us the chair?' But it never existed so we had to put it together. It was very important for me to tip my hat to the TV show because that's what brought me onto this project. I loved it.

KF: You will learn that [with] the experiment, he's attempting to tap into strength within all humans.

GAH: It was something under Ross' supervision... Now Bruce Banner is on the run and Ross has not given up his search to find him.

LL: Those 'days without incident' locators are so important because I love this idea of that guy who tries to rebuild his life and find a cure and then something happens and he Hulks-out and he has to go back to zero every time... It's like the myth of Sisyphus...

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After the discussion, we were then shown the first major action sequence in the film. It takes place in Brazil as General Ross has located Bruce Banner. It all leads to a very impressive chase. Without really seeing Edward Norton in much more than this and the trailers, Im already rooting for the guy. Norton happens to be one of the best actors of his generation, and we already had a glimpse of what happens when you put a great actor into this type of role with Mr. Downey Jr., it just might work. In fact, Edward feels much more like the character Bill Bixby created in the series, which I was a fan of. As the chase continues, Banner ends up bumping into a couple of thugs. Thus, there is this poor guy getting shot at and chased by the government, and now he has a couple of tough guys after him. Bruce is not having a great day here. I loved how he is desperately trying to keep his heart rate down, and as I said, Edward really pulls this off. But eventually, as we all know, you dont want to make this guy angry. And once he is, they happen to be in a factory which leads to tons of flying metal and all sorts of people getting thrown around. I really enjoyed how dark this sequence remains. You can see enough, but they dont give away too much of the Hulk himself and it makes for a more interesting and suspenseful watch. Again, this is already feeling much more like the series in terms of style than the previous film. This was a terrific sequence which offered up a much better feel for the film then I had before I walked in. And our discussion continued

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[In regards to finding Bruce Banner]

LL: They [find] him... He's very, very precise and lives under a secret identity hidden from everybody. He tries to live his life as secretly as possible. Something happens and then he's discovered... General Ross locates him on the world map, assembles a team of experts together, one of which is Emil Blonsky. He's like a super-commando soldier - this guy's never gone up in the hierarchy because he loves being there and being an action man... He's at the end of his physical ability. This scene shows that. He's smart but he's not so powerful any more

KF: He's right on the cusp of retirement perhaps. As Louis said, maybe he should have become a commander a year or two ago, but he loves being in the chase, he loves being in the hunt. He's quite effective, as you'll see, but by the end [of the clip] he catches a glimpse of something that showcases a power he wants to tap into... Of course it's the Hulk...

LL: When I came on board the project, I said it was as important to showcase Hulk as a hero as Bruce Banner as a hero Put Edward in the action to become a action hero, an action anti-hero. The guy that just can't and needs this extra boost and that's when he becomes the Hulk

And I see you have the Eye Shot from the TV show?

KF: That was like the TV show with the thugs attacking him...

LL: That place where he ends up is the place he works at. He works in the bottling factory as a day laborer.

Drawing scenes from the TV show?

KF: We had a great scene in the disco with midgets, but it didn't make the final cut [Laughing].

LL: [The show] has aged a bit, but the fundamental themes haven't aged... It's still the same thing. Lonely man on the run, 'Don't become me. Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry' It's the same thing

We notices that some of the shows music seems to be in the film

LL: Yeah we are using it.

For someone who's not a fan of the show but a fan of the comic, what can we expect?

LL: To answer your question, yes, you start with the basic theme of the TV show because the comic today is very convoluted... Banner has stepped out of Hulk and everything... So you start with the TV show which is very simple and everybody could access the thing... Very crowd pleasing, and that's how I related to the Hulk the first time I saw the Hulk in France... They couldn't have done that [stuff from the comic book] back then on a TV show. Even now they couldn't do it on a TV show... So it starts as more of an homage to the TV show and slowly transforms

Two years ago, when we first started, to inspire myself I took out some of the best drawings and panels from the comic books and put them up in my office. I said, 'Oh it would be nice if we did that or that...' Kevin walked in and he said, you should be proud because that's in the movie, that's in the movie... Literally 95 percent of the stuff that I said, 'That would be amazing to have in the movie one day.' And not only did we have that, we invented new stuff that was never in any comic or TV show.

GAH: General Thunderbolt Ross is on his tail and he has a larger-than-life villain.

KF: The whole triangle between Betty Ross, General Ross and Bruce Banner is right out of the comic book... Those characters weren't in the show...

And Lou Ferrigno is in the film?

KF: He actually has two parts in the movie... He did do a really fun little cameo... And then Louis offered him on the stage of New York Comic Con to come in and do the voice

LL: It was not bogus

KF: A few days after that he came in and recorded a few lines that, along with having been processed by Dave Farmer who is a great sound guy that did most of the vocalizations for King Kong, Lou is now the credited voice of the Hulk... He was great at it... He'd been practicing... He lost his whole voice

GAH: He was really excited that, in the movie, Hulk does speak... [Laughing].

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After our discussion, we got to see the man, the myth, the legend, Lou Ferrigno in action. And like I said, I was a fan of the show so it was a pleasure seeing him in this quick little cameo. And later on, we even got to see some of the monstrous battle between The Hulk and Abomination. It all begins with Bruce taking a backwards dive off an army helicopter. Falling down onto what should've been his death, he rises from the ash [well, actually it was cement] and finds an Abomination ready to fight to the death. There are cars being used as boxing gloves, and plenty of flying beasts scaring the locals. And this is where I realized, although it is still obviously CG which there seems to be no way of getting around as of late, it looked pretty terrific from where we were sitting. This is the kind of battle that Ive seen before and when it works, it can be pretty stunning. I liked the way both creatures turned out and I hope that seeing this in the context of the film, it will still be a powerful movie going experience.

So here I am, I walked into The Hulk with very low expectations from what I saw in the theatre. But after watching a selection of scenes, and the genuine excitement that was shared by Gale Anne, Louis and Kevin, I feel like this may be one to watch for. Out of everything we saw, I was most impressed with the factory chase. It is scary, exciting and thanks to Edward Norton, it has a very down to earth feel. At one point, the poor green guy is being shot at and he calls out in this rough and damaged voice to leave me alone. And you know what? I liked it. It sounds like it could be corny, but it gave this CG character a little heart and made him even made him a little more powerful. This is a guy who just wants to be left alone, but because he is different and has this power, his sole purpose of being for these people is to use him as an experiment. A human being whose frustration and pain is expressed with the help of a living, breathing, green beast. And thankfully, he feels much more alive and less of a cartoon this time around. At least thats what I gathered so far. Stay tuned for part 2 of my edit bay visit to THE INCREDIBLE HULK, for more conversations with Louis, Gale Anne and Kevin

Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
1:33PM on 05/27/2008
"It has been done, not only in Ang Lee's film"

Except that he did it the wrong way. The Hulk came from a gamma bomb, not injections and lab malfunctions.
"It has been done, not only in Ang Lee's film"

Except that he did it the wrong way. The Hulk came from a gamma bomb, not injections and lab malfunctions.
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12:39PM on 05/27/2008

Hopefully

I hope it's a good movie. I personally right now am going to see it but it's not one of the movies I am going crazy for.
I hope it's a good movie. I personally right now am going to see it but it's not one of the movies I am going crazy for.
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10:07AM on 05/27/2008

Where?

How about "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"? Where were you when this went down?
How about "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"? Where were you when this went down?
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9:34AM on 05/27/2008
I just hope people go to this! I've got a good feeling this is gonna do the Hulk justice this time.

What's happening with Ed Norton on this film, has he bailed on all promotional work? Shame if he [link] he's perfect for Banner!
I just hope people go to this! I've got a good feeling this is gonna do the Hulk justice this time.

What's happening with Ed Norton on this film, has he bailed on all promotional work? Shame if he [link] he's perfect for Banner!
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9:31AM on 05/27/2008

Your Making Me very angry I wouldnt do that if I were you

Sorry but stop telling everybody whats goin to happen in the movie
Sorry but stop telling everybody whats goin to happen in the movie
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7:59AM on 05/27/2008

3rd Most Anticipated

Awesome to see this piece. Since seeing the 1st teaser, i've been getting cautiously excited for this movie. While it's a new Hulk Movie, Bringing in Edward Norton = PROFIT. I'v liked Liv Tyler for awhile so it's pleasing to see her as Betty and William Hurt and Tim Roth especially, are great choices too.

After TDK and Indy 4, Hulk is my Mot anticipated movie this summer and it looks as if my hopes may just be worth the excitement.
Awesome to see this piece. Since seeing the 1st teaser, i've been getting cautiously excited for this movie. While it's a new Hulk Movie, Bringing in Edward Norton = PROFIT. I'v liked Liv Tyler for awhile so it's pleasing to see her as Betty and William Hurt and Tim Roth especially, are great choices too.

After TDK and Indy 4, Hulk is my Mot anticipated movie this summer and it looks as if my hopes may just be worth the excitement.
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7:09AM on 05/27/2008
I actually quite liked Ang Lee's Hulk but can see why alot of people didn't, this will be infinitely better and I'm pretty freakin' pumped to see it
I actually quite liked Ang Lee's Hulk but can see why alot of people didn't, this will be infinitely better and I'm pretty freakin' pumped to see it
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