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April 2007 Archives

April 5, 2007

Rhythm & Hues Bulks up 'Hulk'

The following was originally posted on TheHollywoodReporter.com:

The Hulk is getting a makeover.

Rhythm & Hues Studios said that it has been named the lead visual effects house on "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel Studios, which is scheduled to start production in June in Toronto.

Louis Leterrier will direct from a script by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Zak Penn. Lee also will serve as an executive producer.

This project will give the Hulk a new look, as the Ang Lee-directed 2003 "Hulk" featured a CG character and lead visual effects from Industrial Light + Magic.

Rhythm & Hues was selected after several months of R&D that included the creation of a CG Hulk.

The company is well known for its character animation. For "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the studio's work included the film's well-received CG lion Aslan. Earlier character work included "Babe," which won an Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.

Pointing to the company's history with creating animals, Rhythm & Hues film division president Lee Berger sees "Hulk" as a great next project. "It's the first time Rhythm & Hues has been able to take a human-like character to its full exposition," he said. "There's great enthusiasm for this project (at the company)."

The casting of Bruce Banner/Hulk has not yet been announced. Eric Bana played the lead role in the 2003 film.

Upcoming visual effects productions from Rhythm & Hues include New Line Cinema's "The Golden Compass," Fox 2000 Pictures and 20th Century Fox Animation's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and Universal Pictures' "Evan Almighty."

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April 12, 2007

Incredible Hulk Casting Call

The following was originally posted on ChicagoActor.com:

The Incredible Hulk
Marvel Studios - Featured Film

Casting Director: Laray Mayfield

Have your Agent submit Electronically to:
Laray Mayfield

Thin Body Movement Actor
6'4, Male, All Ethnicity, Lanky Build.

Medium Body Movement Actor
5'10" - 6", Male, All Ethnicity, Medium Build.

Stocky Body Movement Actor
6'2" - 6'4"< Male, All Ethnicity, Football Type Build.

Start Date: June 2007
Location: Toronto

Hmm.... All ethnicity leads me to believe that they are casting these roles for motion capture? Any thoughts?

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Executive Producer Jim Van Wyck Talks Hulk

The following was originally posted on TFTO:

Toronto Film & Television Office Goes GREEN!

Jim Van Wyck, the Executive Producer of “The Incredible Hulk” met with Rhonda
Silverstone and the staff of the TFTO to discuss locations for his upcoming feature film.

He showed staff the storyboards and everyone had the opportunity to suggest locations
and ask questions.

Jim commented on his great experience in Toronto while working on “16 Blocks” and
stated he looks forward to working here again.

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April 15, 2007

Edward Norton Cast as Bruce Banner

The following was originally posted on Variety.com:

Edward Norton has been set by Marvel Studios to play Bruce Banner in "The Incredible Hulk."

The Louis Leterrier-directed drama will be distributed by Universal Pictures, with an opening set for June 13, 2008.

It is a decided return to the mainstream for Norton, who recently has starred in such indies as "Down in the Valley," "The Painted Veil," and "The Illusionist." Pic will shoot this summer in Toronto.

Norton takes over a role played in the Ang Lee-directed "Hulk" by Eric Bana. Though that film opened strongly, it didn’t fare as well as other Marvel efforts, including "Spider-Man," "X-Men," "Fantastic Four" and, most recently, "Ghost Rider."

Marvel Studios, which has a $525 million credit facility obtained through Merrill Lynch, made "The Incredible Hulk" its second film under that arrangement, and seeks to make a sequel that is less self-serious and more in line with the comic series and TV show. Leterrier directed the action-filled "Transporter 2," and "Unleashed."

The new pic begins with Banner on the run, trying to avoid capture long enough to cure the condition that turns him into a misunderstood green menace.

"Edward Norton is a rare talent and one of the most versatile actors in the business," Marvel Studios production president Kevin Feige said in a statement. "His ability to transform into a particular role makes him the ideal choice to take on the character of Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Edward is perfectly suited to bring one of the most popular and important Marvel icons to the bigscreen in a new and exciting way."

The script for "The Incredible Hulk" was written by Zak Penn, who had a hand in crafting two "X-Men" films, "Fantastic Four" and "Elektra" for Marvel.

"The Incredible Hulk" is being produced by Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd and Marvel’s Feige. Jim Van Wyck, David Maisel, Ari Arad and Stan Lee are exec producing.

Norton, who will next be seen starring with Colin Farrell in the Gavin O’Connor-directed New Line drama "Pride and Glory," is repped by Endeavor.

Although I liked Eric Bana in the first film, Norton is a great choice for Banner. I remember calling my brother after seeing Fight Club and telling him I just saw the Incredible Hulk on film! Now here is Norton's chance to really do it!


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April 16, 2007

Zak Penn on Norton as Hulk

The following was originally posted on SuperHeroHype.com:

When it comes to bringing Marvel Comics characters into the movies, you can't get much more knowledgeable than Zak Penn, who's written or been involved with the last two "X-Men" movies, both "Hulk" movies, Elektra and a bunch of the Marvel movie-related video games. In two weeks, Penn's second movie as a director, the poker comedy The Grand, will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, and by pure chance, ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! had a chance to talk to the writer less than 24 hours after the casting announcement that Edward Norton would be starring in the upcoming The Incredible Hulk. Of course, we had to ask him for a few words about the news.

"I couldn't be happier about Ed Norton," he told us. "I worked on the first 'Hulk' movie and I remember talking about how awesome it would be if we got Ed Norton to play this part. He really was up for it the first time. I think Ed Norton's one of the best actors working, and even I was pretty shocked that he wanted to do it. It's one of those rare things where it turned out better than I [expected]. Look, there's a lot of really good actors who wanted to do it even before I wrote my script. I'm not just saying this, but I cannot think of a better person to play Bruce Banner. In this case, Ed Norton would have been at the top of my list.

"To me, the thing about Bruce is that he's a physicist, he's a super-smart guy who has a lot of repressed anger. To me, that is the essential thing you need to know about him. He could be tall or short, but you have to believe that he's a physicist, you have to believe that life is frustrating for him physically. Ed went to Yale. He's a really smart guy. He has an intelligence that you can see on-screen, which a lot of people who are great actors don't project that. He projects the guy that is smarter than you, and he also projects anger in a lot of his movies, 'Fight Club' being the most obvious example. If you think about 'Fight Club,' he has a lot of similarities to the Hulk as a character. Tyler Durden is his Hulk."

We also asked Penn to describe his take on the movie in terms of whether it's a sequel, a revamp or something different. "It's not going to be a sequel, but it's hard to describe," he admitted. "The best description I would say is something like 'Batman Begins' where it's not necessarily out of continuity with the other movies, though that was more of an origin story. It's much more of a reboot, the way that 'Aliens' is a sequel to 'Alien,' but the kinds of movie are different. It keeps the mythology of the worlds, but it's a totally different structure. It's more of an action movie than the first one was. This one is much more of a thriller, I would say. I don't think it's unfair to say like a 'Bourne Identity' type feeling to it. Certainly I've mentioned that the Bruce Jones comic book run were very influential or the TV series. It definitely harkens back much more to that, emphasizing a guy on the run with a secret, who cannot feel emotion and cannot risk having any close relationships with people for fear what it's going to do to them."

"The first movie is not about Bruce Banner dealing with the repercussions of being the Hulk, it's much more about him becoming the Hulk," he continued. "He gets taken to a base and put under observation pretty quickly. This movie is about Bruce Banner on the run and what life is like. There's stuff that I didn't want to deal with that was in the first movie. You're not going to see anything about his father or his experiments or anything, because to me, as a fan, that was the part that I found most frustrating and nooooooo dogs. I liked the fight, but I didn't like the poodle."

"There's a lot of skepticism towards this project, particularly online, despite the first movie, it's not just that," Penn opined to us, realizing the hurdles the second movie has to face. "Every time I go online and I read these people talking about 'X-Men 3.' I mean some of the vitriol I hear about that, which I think is just crazy and out of proportion to what they're watching. It makes it hard on me sometimes, because I'm the only one in the process who really goes online and reads all that sh*t. I grew up as a comic book geek, so it's kind of hard for me not to stay interested in what the fans are interested in. I love the Hulk. I think it's a great character. I've always loved the comic book and I loved the TV series. There was things about the first movie that disappointed me, too, or confused me or frustrated me, and there's some sh*t that I thought was awesome in it, too. But why give up on the franchise? If there's a weird issue of the Hulk, I don't stop writing it. I understand people's skepticism, that makes for a good story or a good post online, but I always believed in the idea, and I'm really psyched to see someone like Ed Norton [doing this]. To me, that's very validating in my belief in the project."

With the second piece of casting in place for Marvel Films, they theoretically have actors to play two of the heroes who might end up being part of an Avengers movie, which conveniently enough, Penn has also been assigned to write. We asked Penn what he thought about having the actors now cast to play Iron Man and the Hulk appearing in Marvel's first team-up movie. "The truth is that would be ideal. The original plan when I talked to Kevin Feige [Marvel Film's President of Production] was that when we make an 'Avengers' movie, it should be the first time that the characters cross-over. It's what every fan has always wanted to see, is where you're watching the movie and there's Robert Downey Jr. and the Hulk intersects with the story. To be totally honest with you, I'm not even going to get started on that for a while. We've talked about it, but there's no point in dealing with it until after these movies even come out. What's great is that with Marvel, they own all the properties, so they can do it if they want to. I think a lot of it will depend on how 'Iron Man' and the 'Hulk' do. I've written a lot of comic book movies, and I need to take a little bit of a break first before I start writing that one."

"I've seen a lot of the 'Iron Man' stuff and that movie is going to kick ass," Penn raved about Jon Favreau's Iron Man movie, which is scheduled to come out a month before Penn's movie. "I'm not like someone who would tell you that if I didn't think it, but I was pretty impressed with what I saw down there and Favreau seems to be really on top of his sh*t. I think the cast of that movie is amazing."

"Marvel has done an incredible job of casting their first two movies so far, and I hope fans see that, too," Penn concluded. "To me, as a comic book fan, that is tremendously good news. Marvel's success would be an incredibly good thing for fans of comic books and sci-fi, because it would be good in terms of how much of the canon would continue to get turned into films, which to me, is exciting."

Check ComingSoon.net in the next couple weeks for a full interview with Penn talking about his new movie The Grand, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, which should do for poker tournaments what Best in Show did for dog shows. Iron Man is scheduled to open May 2, 2008 while The Incredible Hulk is scheduled to open a month later on June 13, 2008.

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April 17, 2007

The Incredible Hulk Plot/Synopsis

The following was originally posted on Marvel.com as part of the press release announcing the casting of Edward Norton as Bruce Banner:

The story unfolds when the pursuit for The Hulk – the world's most misunderstood, primal force of fury – heats up, finding Bruce Banner on the run attempting to cure his condition before his pursuers capture him.

I really like the acknowledgment of The Hulk as "the world's most misunderstood, primal force of fury". This has me excited for the possibilities of this film and relieved that this film does not appear to be shaping up to be the "Hulk-lite" film that was mentioned before. How can it when the main protagonist is described as "a Primal Force of Fury", the director himself has referred to the Hulk as "Frankenstein meets Doctor Jekyll with a little bit of Edward Scissorhands" and the main lead has starred in serious roles ranging from Fight Club to American History X? Hulk fans should be pleased with this news.


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April 18, 2007

Marvel And Sega Partner To Create New Hulk Video Game

The following was originally posted on Businesswire.com:

Marvel Entertainment and SEGA Partner to Create Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Thor Video Games

Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL), SEGA® Europe Ltd and SEGA® of America, Inc. have expanded their relationship to include the rights to develop and distribute games inspired by Marvel’s Hall-of-Fame franchises -- Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Thor. Through the exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement, SEGA will create titles for console, handheld and PC platforms based upon both the classic comic books and planned feature film adaptations of these world-renowned Super Heroes. The deal follows Marvel and SEGA’s announcement to create titles based on Super Hero favorite Iron Man, with both game and film slated to be released in May 2008.

Under the expanded agreement, SEGA will develop a title to be based on Marvel Studios' highly-anticipated The Incredible Hulk feature film. Hitting theaters June 13, 2008, the film will return the larger-than-life Super Hero to the roots of the long-running comic series and television show with an all-new action-packed storyline directed by Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, Unleashed). The Incredible Hulk video game will be released in the same timeframe as the film. Games based on Captain America and Thor will follow, though the timing of those feature film projects, currently in development, has not yet been determined.

For the complete article, click here.

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More On Sega/Marvel Partnership

The following was originally posted on Hollywoodreporter.com:

Video game publisher Sega has expanded its relationship with Marvel Entertainment, adding superheroes Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Thor to its stable with exclusive multiyear deals.

Sega has a developer at work on the "Hulk" game, which is expected to ship in conjunction with the June 2008 release of the Universal Pictures film starring Edward Norton as David Banner.

Vivendi Universal Games came out with a "Hulk" game in 2003 based on the Ang Lee film.

Simon Jeffery, president and COO of Sega of America, said all four games will be developed in North America. The "Iron Man" game, which is being developed internally at Sega, is using next-generation technology.

Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel said games are an ideal medium to showcase the appeal and excitement of the superhero franchises.

"These franchises represent three of Marvel's most popular characters and lend themselves to captivating game play," he said. "We have already seen Sega's passion for the Marvel universe through the early development of the 'Iron Man' game, and we look forward to working closely with them over the next few years to maximize the potential of these franchises in the interactive entertainment space."

Jeffery added: "It's a collaborative process. We work closely with Marvel Studios, with ('Iron Man' director) Jon Favreau and with the design and FX teams. It is vital that the game feels like the movie; it is being designed primarily on the next-gen gaming systems."

Part of that collaborative process will include incorporating film cast members into the game with likenesses and voice work. Marvel has worked with Activision to get key members from the 'Spider-Man' and 'X-Men' casts involved with voice acting for the games.

For the complete article, click here.

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April 20, 2007

Grey Hulk?

The following was originally posted on Collider.com:

At the Spiderman 3 junket earlier today I was able to ask Avi Arad some questions about the new Hulk movie and he basically let it slip that the new Hulk will be GREY, not green.

Frosty: With the Hulk coming next year you have to be far along with the script and I'm curious what can you tell us about the story and are you going to incorporate any of the CGI that you developed for the first film or the effects?

Avi: None. No. It's a new Hulk, new direction, new size, new color, new attitude. Anything that was done before is not in this movie. It's a very different kind of Hulk. It's more of a love story; it's more of a heroic Hulk. It's a kind of Hulk we loved in the show, so it's kind of more influenced by the show than anything else. It's very human, very touching, and huge action. Louis Leterrier has a unique filming style that will be great here and it's going to be spectacular.

Frosty: Any truth to a grey Hulk?

(When I asked that question he seemed almost taken aback, like he wasn't ready for it even though he had just said "new color") Then, after a pause, he said, "We'll see, I don't know."

For the complete article, including a link to the audio from the junket, click here.

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Jessica Beil In The Incredible Hulk?

The following was originally posted on Hollywoodgrind.com:

Jessica Biel Signed for The Incredible Hulk

Ed Norton and Jessica Biel are now both signed on to star in the upcoming sequel to The Incredible Hulk. It should be even better now.

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April 23, 2007

The Hulk Isn't Grey After All!

The following was originally posted on EmpireOnline.com:

You know this ‘The Hulk may be grey in the new Incredible Hulk movie’ business that’s been floating around the internet for the last couple of days? Well, as it turns out, he won’t be. Move along, nothing to see here!

How do we know this? Well, just this afternoon we spoke exclusively to Avi Arad, ace comic book movie producer and the guy whose casual mention of a ‘new colour’ at a round table in LA sparked a net-geek frenzy on a scale rarely seen, and he confirmed it. Simple.

“It was a joke!” laughs Arad, in town to talk up Spider-Man 3, which opens on May 4. “Here’s what it was. There were 30 people around a table, and they said ‘is there going to be a grey Hulk?’ And I was thinking about it and I said, ‘who knows?’ It was one of those moments. I had just got back from Japan and I was trying to talk about Spider-Man and this guy was pushing me on The Hulk so I thought I’ll be coy. I don’t know what colour it is, and all of a sudden it’s headline news.”

But Arad did mention a new colour – so will the eponymous star of Louis Letterier’s movie, due out in 2008, still be green? Or orange? Or pink with yellow stripes?

“It’s a different shade of green,” confirms Arad. “But the colour is not like the old Hulk. And no, there’s no grey Hulk.”

Talk of a grey Hulk had led to fevered speculation that this version of Ol’ Green/Greyskin would have some intelligence, and even be able to speak, much like the grey Hulk in the comic books. However, not content with debunking one rumour, Avi swiftly shot down another.

“He’ll be instinctive, like a primal creature. That’s what’s interesting. There’s no smarts. My dog is the gentlest animal out there, but he hates the plumber. He won’t fight with anybody, hates the plumber!”

Of course, The Hulk will be taking on a bigger foe than The Plumber in The Incredible Hulk, namely The Abomination, but Arad is adamant that Marvel and Universal are heading in the right direction with the movie, particularly the casting. Last week’s news that Edward Norton – indie darling and star of resolutely uncommercial films, for the most part – had signed on to play Bruce Banner. Especially when it was further revealed that he had actually turned down the Ang Lee version, in 2003. So, why the change of heart for Norton?

“I think we have a much better story,” reveals Arad. “I think he likes Louis Leterrier. It’s a very different movie, one of my personal goals was to make another Hulk movie where Hulk is heroic, lovable, the real Frankenstein story. That’s what we set out to do. To me, I was stuck – literally – if it wasn’t Ed Norton. I was sitting, thinking ‘he has to make it happen’.”

Arad also mentioned that the casting of “an amazing” Betty – Banner’s love interest – should be confirmed within the next couple of days. Keep ‘em peeled, people!

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April 25, 2007

Avi Arad on The Incredible Hulk!

The following was originally posted on Movieweb.com:

We recently caught up with Producer Avi Arad at a press junket promoting Spider-Man 3. He discussed a lot of things including details about The Incredible Hulk.

Do you think Edward Norton is a good choice for The Incredible Hulk?

Avi Arad: Edward Norton is a great choice for anything. He's just a great choice period.

Edward Norton is such a bold casting choice. How do you get someone of that caliber to sign on? How did that come about?

Avi Arad: We let him read the script, let him meet the team, let him understand what the character is about, what the journey is about. He actually turned down Hulk 1. So, I guess the second time around was more convincing.

What made him change his mind this time?

Avi Arad: I think he thought he wasn't ready or people have... in all fairness, I think Spider-Man and X-Men... made actors of this caliber really interested in our kind of movies. They realized that they can tell a story in a real special way. The creature still contained the character of the actor. If you look at the kind of choices that were done on Spider-Man 1, 2 and now 3, it gets their attention. People get attracted and they realize, "No, no, it's not about the action, it's about the story."

Robert Downey, Jr., to be in a superhero movie, if you talked about it 10 years ago he would have looked at you like, "Get out of here." This is the time of his life.

When you bring on people to these movies like Edward Norton or Robert Downey, Jr., do you get them to sign on for multiple pictures? Or, is it a balance? You get a big name but they only sign on for one film?

Avi Arad: It's a mixed bag. Some of them sign for multiple pictures. Our experience with these kinds of actors is they had a good experience, they want to stay with the character. Once you've formed the character you can make a movie this size, and that sophisticated, from a relationship standpoint, because Toby, Kirsten and James have that deep within their own characters. You can really take some risks. Acting is character development. So forget what a piece of paper says, if an actor doesn't want to do it, it doesn't matter what the contract says. They have to want to do it. You don't want somebody showing up on set just because they signed up for it. You want them to come in and have a great time.

The Incredible Hulk crashes into the theaters June 13, 2008 from Universal Pictures and Marvel Studios.

For the complete article, click here.

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April 30, 2007

Hulk 2 Begins Shooting June 1st in Toronto

The following was originally posted on Moviesonline.ca:

My man in the know in the TDot AKA Toronto Canada dropped me word that Hulk 2 is in full swing. He also pointed out that he is fully aware that the Toronto Star says its not, and says HE is right, they are wrong. Bold statement, but my insider has never been wrong yet so I am going to trust him on this one. He says that all the pre-production departments are in full swing and shooting begins in the first week of June. I am really excited to see how this one ends up!

We had a chance to catchup with Avi Arad to talk to him about the upcoming Hulk 2 movie.

Q: How did you get to do a Hulk sequel when the first was a bomb?

AA: Well, first I don’t call it a bomb. I think creatively, it was a really interesting movie. And look at the weekends out there, the movie did $132 million domestic. I don’t know if you call it a bomb. Call the studios and make a deal with them. Whatever you put out there…

Q: Wasn’t it perceived as a disappointment?

AA: Yeah, because everything is compared to this one. I have some hair, but next to him I have none, so life is about comparison.

Q: When was the idea to say bring the hulk back and reinvent it?

AA: I always wanted to bring it back. I always said I’m going to bring it back and bring it back in a different way, and I think the movie is going to be spectacular. Not good, spectacular. Different.

Q: Already has a date?

AA: Yeah.

Q: Will it be under $100 million budget?

AA: I don’t know what you can do for under 100 these days.

For the complete article, click here.

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Hulk Not Shooting Until July?

The following was originally posted on Canada.com:

Shinan Govani, National Post
Published: Monday, April 30, 2007


That the start date for the Toronto shoot of The Incredible Hulk-- starring the un-Hulk-like Edward Norton -- has now apparently been moved up to July?

Well that contradicts the last post, but you can be sure that The Incredible Hulk will start filming this summer in Toronto.

For the complete article, click here.

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