NYCC: Hulk smash!


Featured Guests: Louis Letterier (Director), Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios exec), Gale Anne Hurd (Producer), Tim Roth ("Emil Blonsky"), and Lou Ferrigno ("voice of The Hulk"?!)

The third of Universal's highly successful trio of presentations was THE INCREDIBLE HULK (I'll get to the previous two in a bit), which brought out producer goddess Gale Anne Hurd (if you don't know her name, you're not a proper geek), Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige, and director Louis Letterier (TRANSPORTERs 1 and 2). Quite amusingly, the panel had hardly gotten underway before a surprise guest was brought on: Tim Roth, who plays the villainous super-soldier Emil Blonsky - and eventually, "the kickass villain" (to use Kevin Feige's words) Abomination. Roth was definitely all smiles and gave off a "diggin' it" vibe throughout, which made sense since the audience was in love with the man from the get go... He was not the last "surprise," but first we were treated to some juicy footage.

- In the first scene (actually more of a montage of scenes), we see Roth's Blonsky and William Hurt's General Ross discussing the Hulk serum, which Blonsky clearly wants inside him - and Ross is willing to help. We soon see Blonsky injected in the neck and the spine (ouch!) with some very long needles. In the final shot, his face seizes - the serum's doing its magic...

- The second sequence was much more action-heavy, and thus, drool-worthy for the psyched crowd: Edward Norton as Bruce Banner is trapped in a sort of glass bridge between two buildings in a countryside, as Gen. Ross' men close in, firing smoke grenades into the structure... Ross' daughter, Betty (Liv Tyler), is witness to this, and rushes toward Bruce - but is tackled by a soldier. Well, this isn't a good idea, because Bruce gets angry, and... well, you know... So Banner begins transforming into the Hulk - unfortunately, the CGI was far from done (Letterier introduced the clip by saying "Welcome to the editing room"), so the full force wasn't truly felt... The Hulk smashes through the glass structure, and makes mince-meat out of Ross' troops, crushing advancing vehicles left and right. Again, the FX weren't complete, but the sequence was well-directed and moved swiftly. Blonsky appears and goes one-on-one with the Hulk - and he's not even Abomination yet! He deftly dodges Hulk's blows, using quickness and agility... The fight ceases for a moment, with both enemies squaring off only a few feet from one another. Blonsky taunts: "Is that it? Is that all you've got?" He's promptly kicked in the chest - and the clip ends. (Of course, this will not be the end of HULK'S nemesis.)

The audience went wild, naturally, and Leterrier appeared to be very pleased, and maybe even moved, by the positive reaction. He went on to explain that he grew up not only reading the comics, but watching the t.v. show starring Bill Bixby. Which conveniently led to the other surprise guest: Lou Ferrigno! After another enthusiastic display of affection from the auditorium, it was revealed that Ferrigno has a significant cameo role in the film, and the hint - if I picked up on it correctly - was that he'd be doing The Hulk's voice... It was difficult to tell if the principal players were simply joking around, or if they meant it genuinely. My gut tells me its the latter. Which certainly means we might be hearing "Hulk Smash!" at one point or another...

For his part, Roth admitted he was unfamiliar with The Abomination - but agreed to do the role once his kids discovered he was up for the part. Even though he took the role seriously, his first concern was wondering if his scenes were "cool" enough for his children... No doubt a pretty good way to approach a character such as Blonsky/Abomination.

Finally, they showed a new trailer, which isn't very different from the one currently on the net - BUT - immediately after it, we were treated to a very brief, but very "geektastic" clip: General Ross sits alone in a bar and is approached by a man initially hidden by shadows. This turns out to be Tony "Iron Man" Stark, as played by Robert Downey Jr. The gist of the scene is that Stark is offering to help Ross with his "problem". Is this going to be a major plot point in the film? Is this leading to bigger movie (THE AVENGERS (which Feige mentioned as a possible future project) anyone?). Or is it just a fun little cameo? Time will tell...



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