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May 1, 2007

Zak Penn on the Incredible Hulk

The following was originally posted on Cinematical.com:

As far as Hulk goes, Penn went into a lot of detail regarding his vision, and the way he approached the script. He squashed those gray Hulk rumors, saying Avi Arad "must have been mis-quoted," and there will not be a gray Hulk. And when I brought up further casting announcements, Penn said that we should be hearing some big news within the next few days.

For the complete article, click here.

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May 3, 2007

Abomination won't be called Abomination

The following was originally posted on IGN.com:

Penn says Abomination won't be called Abomination

May 3, 2007 - Writer-director Zak Penn is at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this week to promote his new movie The Grand, but during his visit the man who helped write such films as X2 and X3 also proved willing to talk a bit about his various upcoming superhero movies. First off, he acknowledged today that rumors placing the Abomination as the villain in the next Hulk film are true… sort of.

"On The Hulk, one of the big discussions has been -- God, I hope I don't get in trouble for this -- the villain is going to be this character from the comics, the Abomination, who will not be called the Abomination out loud in the film because it's a silly, silly name," laughs Penn, who wrote the film. "It just is; it's so hard to work in. 'Hey, what should we call that guy?' 'He's an abomination!'"

In classic Marvel Comics continuity, the character was an Eastern Bloc spy who, like the Hulk, was transformed into a green-skinned, ultra-strong monster after getting a blast of radiation. Penn is fairly tightlipped about details regarding the film version of the character, but he does reveal a bit about the film's technical approach to him.

"It's definitely not all CGI," he says of the character. "Marvel will release casting when it happens. I don't even actually know right now. I'm sure it will come out soon. … But one of the things we talked about with the effects people, who had done X3 as well, is that when this guy transforms, he's not used to having these properties. Like he's much heavier, and we talked about how when he walks down the sidewalk, his weight destroys the sidewalk and he's tripping. [It's all about] the humanization of these kinds of superhero characters, showing the effects physics may actually have on [them]."

Penn says that he just finished his third draft of the script a couple of weeks ago for director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) and star Edward Norton and that the production end of things is more or less "off and running." And as for comparisons to Ang Lee's Hulk film from 2003? Penn seems fairly frank on that matter.

"I think that Ang Lee is a fantastic director and there's incredible, incredible stuff in the first movie, but I don't think that it captured the things that are interesting about the Hulk," says Penn. "One of the things that appealed to me as kid about reading The Hulk is in no way is the Hulk a superhero story. It is simply not. Spider-Man is a superhero. He puts on a costume and he fights crime. The Hulk is a Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein horror comic. That's what it is, period. He's a man cursed with turning into his repressed id, that's it. And to me, that's a very powerful idea. Cronenberg's The Fly is one of my favorite movies ever made, literally I think it's a fantastic film. And to me, that [Hulk] film was not made -- the first Hulk was not that film. It was not about the torment of being a person who cannot afford to feel anxiety in modern culture, which is to me the strength and power of The Hulk movie. Other things were done, they did some cool s--t, whatever, great in its own way. But we didn't make that movie and Marvel wanted to make that movie and they still want to make that movie and now we are."

The casting of Norton as Banner has Penn as excited as many fans, apparently.

"Ed Norton playing that role," laughs Penn. "Fight Club is kind of about a guy who's a lot like Bruce Banner. So I think that's the goal, to go back and make that Hulk movie that didn't get made. And as to why now as opposed to later … it has more to do with Marvel as a company and the fact that they started their own studio, etc., etc. I think if they had made that movie and failed, we wouldn't be making the sequel."

I for one think that this is great news. You'll remember that in 2003's "Hulk", the Hulk is only referred to as "The Hulk" once, when Bruce and Betty are in the cabin after the fight with the gamma dogs. Bruce says:

"He wanted me to change, he wanted me to change into that mindless Hulk"

For the rest of the film the Hulk is mostly referred to mostly as "Angry Man". I thought that it made for a more realistic portrayal. So as far as the Abomination goes, as long as he remains Emil Blonsky, I think that it's a good idea. Although it would be nice to throw in a "I've become...an Abomination" somewhere in there as a nod to the character.

Bruno

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Green light for Tyler as 'Hulk' flame

The following was originally posted on HollywoodReporter.com:

Liv Tyler will star opposite Ed Norton in Marvel Studios' "The Incredible Hulk," signing on to play Betty Ross, the longtime love interest of Dr. Bruce Banner/the Hulk. Louis Leterrier is directing the movie, which is being produced by Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd and Kevin Feige.

Ross, a classic "Hulk" character from the comic book's beginning in 1962, is Banner's fellow scientist and an ally in his quest to rid him of his lurking monster deep inside. The movie will unfold with Ross estranged from Banner (Norton), but with the pursuit of the Hulk heating up and Banner on the run trying to cure his condition, Ross finds herself swept back into his life.

Jennifer Connelly played the character in the 2003 movie "Hulk," directed by Ang Lee.

Filming on the new "Hulk" is slated to begin in the summer in Toronto. Universal Pictures is distributing.

The film is being executive produced by Jim Van Wyck, David Maisel, Arad and Stan Lee.

Tyler, who gained international recognition as Arwen in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, was most recently seen in Mike Binder's "Reign Over Me," with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. Her upcoming films include the indie comedy "Smother" and the horror thriller "The Strangers."

Tyler is repped by UTA and the Schiff Co.

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May 4, 2007

More Zak Penn On Hulk

The following was originally posted on Cinematical.com:

Cinematical: Now, next up for you is The Incredible Hulk. How do you feel about the casting of Edward Norton?

ZP: Great. I think he's the perfect choice for the part. I think he was the perfect choice for the part to begin with. Ya know, it's weird for me being back here, because I had an office in Tribeca about 10, 11 years ago when I first wrote a version of The Hulk. That version got thrown out immediately. I wrote a draft that's very similar to the one they're doing now, because I said lets go back more to the feel of The Fugitive -- make it a little bit more like an action-thriller. All that originally got thrown out. And back then, I thought Ed Norton would be the perfect person. So, I don't think you could pick a better actor to be in that role, honestly. I'm as thrilled about that casting than anything I've ever been involved with.

Cinematical: So how's it different from the last film? What's your version like?

ZP: Well I felt that there's shit in the first movie that I thought was extraordinary. I watched the movie a bunch of times now, and I'll admit that the first time I watched it, I didn't love it. But the more I watched it, I thought it was a very interesting movie. The action scenes are spectacular. That said, as a Hulk fan there are parts of it I just don't like. I don't like how there's a poodle that he fights. That bothers me. I don't like the stuff they did with his father. Ya know, I think Nick Nolte is a great actor -- and I don't even think he's bad in the movie -- I just don't like the way they changed his origin. To me, there's something so perfect about the origin of the Hulk -- making it so that his father is to blame for what he's become just drives me nuts. So I had a bunch of quibbles with the first movie, which I said I want to get away from those things. I read the beginning of the Bruce Jones comic book. I don't know if you know much about the comic book, but there's this guy Bruce Jones who wrote a bunch of issues and apparently a lot of people don't like the later issues he wrote -- which, I dunno, I read a graphic novel of the first ten issues that he wrote which was just fantastic. It had a great tone, really stripped down -- Banner on the run, having to keep his secret, etc ... And that inspired me. And I realized it was the same thing I liked about the TV show. It's the essential idea that a guy who cannot afford to get anxious, who cannot afford to feel anxiety, who is stuck in the modern world and he's on the run having to protect his identity from anyone he meets -- and also tremendously worried about what he'll do to anyone who's around him. To me, that's the center of the movie. That's what the movie has to be organized around; all the other details have to operate around that. So that's kind of where I started from and that's the movie I think you're going to get.

For the complete article, click here.

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The Incredible Hulk To Start Filming In Toronto On June 25th

The following was originally posted on ComicsContinuum.com:

Here's how Marvel describes Tyler's part in the film's story:

"As Betty Ross, Tyler will take on the lead female role. Ross is a scientist and has been Bruce Banner's key ally in the quest to rid him of the Hulk. Bruce's condition has immensely complicated their longtime romance, and has finally forced Betty to try to put the past behind her. The new movie's 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. This chase is something that Betty cannot ignore - sweeping her right back into Bruce's life and the heart-pounding action that follows."

Tyler, 29, has been in more than a dozen films. Her credits include Armageddon and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"Liv is not only a classic Hollywood beauty, but an undeniable talent. Her roles in such blockbusters as The Lord of the Rings and indie favorites like Stealing Beauty have helped her develop a unique blend of dramatic and action-adventure experience that are perfectly suited for taking on Betty Ross," said Kevin Feige, president of production, Marvel Studios. "We believe the chemistry between her and Edward Norton will explode on screen, adding another compelling dimension to the film."

Filming on The Incredible Hulk is scheduled to begin in Toronto on June 25.

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May 9, 2007

Roth Cast as 'Hulk' Villain the Abomination

The following was originally posted on Variety.com:

Actor to play Abomination

"The Incredible Hulk" will be matched against the oversized adversary Abomination, and Tim Roth will play the villain's alter ego, Emil Blonsky.

Roth joins Edward Norton and Liv Tyler in the Louis Leterrier-directed drama, which is being financed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures on June 13, 2008.

While Roth's deal is still being negotiated, he becomes the latest piece in a reinvention of a franchise, following the self-serious Ang Lee-directed "Hulk."

Blonsky is a KGB agent who deliberately exposes himself to the gamma rays that caused Bruce Banner to morph into the Hulk. Blonsky has upped the dosage, making him larger and stronger than the Hulk, but unable to change back to human form. He blames Banner for his problem, and makes his best efforts to destroy the Hulk.

"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. Zak Penn wrote the script.

Roth stars this fall in "Youth Without Youth," the Francis Ford Coppola-directed drama for Sony Pictures Classics. He also stars with Naomi Watts in "Funny Games" for Warner Independent Pictures.

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May 15, 2007

New Louis Leterrier Interview: Translated Into English From French

The following was originally posted on the HulkMovie.com message boards by Sarg92. Another message board member, Bursyl, has graciously translated the French text for us. The original French interview appeared on excessif.com.

The Incredible Hulk : Interview/preview from Louis Leterrier.


When we last talked, you mentioned your dream of directing a major science fiction movie. Do you consider your dream achieved now that you’re directing Hulk 2?

Overachieved. I truly realize the great opportunity I have been given. In the actual state of pre-production, I can make the movie I really want.

How is it going between you, Marvel and Avi Arad?

Marvelously. And what’s extraordinary about Marvel, and more since they became independent, is that they are motivated people who want to make a good movie and are always looking for ideas to make it better. That’s the reason Ang Lee and Eric Bana were in the first movie. They are not the kind of people that obviously come to mind for making a production like this but are genuine artists that could elevate Hulk to something more than just a simple action film and, in my opinion, achieved it. Marvel gave them creative freedom, like they did with Sam Raimi on Spider-Man when hiring Tobey Maguire. Don't get me wrong, I would never compare myself to theses guys, that would be out of place, but now I better understand the pleasure they had making these movies the way they wanted.

Have you already selected your actors?

I have some ideas. I can tell you that they are not people you expect to see in these kinds of movies. Marvel and I agree on this and they consider that the movie doesn’t need an action hero like Bruce Willis or Tom Cruise.

What can you tell us about the story?

In fact, it’s the story that convinced me. The first time they contacted me, I was very hesitant. They came back because they loved Unleashed. We met and they told me about the story. I must admit, it took me 30 minutes to say yes. As a moviegoers and a fan of the character, they were handing me something I always dreamed to see on the big screen. It won’t be a sequel to Ang Lee’s film but it won’t be a remake or a re-imagining either. It will be a new adventure with different characters, new intrigue, new monsters. We will quickly get to the heart of the story because I think people know the character and I don’t want to shoot 45 minutes to get to the first Hulk-out or about the reasons that make him a monster. The first movie had a lot of Bruce Banner’s story and a little of Hulk’s. This one will be 50/50.

Rumor has it that you convinced everybody when you showed storyboards of two completely wild scenes that didn’t have anything to do with the original script. Is it true?

It’s Stéphane Levallois who works with me on the artistic direction of the film. Stéphane is an exceptional artist, rare and complete, and this movie needs his eye. As you must expect, I won’t tell you what those scenes are about but if I manage to put them on screen the way I imagined them, they’re going to be quite good. Avi Arad’s reaction was what I hoped for. He and his partners had never seen something like that in a movie and naturally wanted to have it in their own (laughs). And then we come back to the creative freedom we have been given; they changed the script to put those scenes in.

Lastly, what can we expect of the character’s design? Will you use the same as the previous movie?

No, he will be truly different. It’s in Stéphane Levallois’ hands. If you only take the face, it needs to be redesigned for the SFX , on one hand, but also because the first Hulk had a lot of Eric Bana. And if we’re going to have a different actor for Banner, the Hulk must also be different. Also, I don’t want to have a 45 feet tall Hulk that gets bigger when he gets madder. I don’t want to make Godzilla. This Hulk will be 9 feet tall and his height won’t change. I see this character as a tortured soul, prisoner of his superpowers and always on the run by fear of hurting others. If I need to state any references, I’d say mostly Jeckyl and Hyde, Frankenstein and even Edward Scissorhands.

Editor’s note : Obviously, Louis kindly gave us the scoop on some new infos regarding the script and the special effects. But we can’t talk about it right now. We’ll get back to it in time…

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Important New Hulk Details from new Leterrier Interview

Thanks to Sarg92 and Bursly for finding this interview and translating it for us. Check out the full Interview here.

So here are the parts that have me excited:

LL: It won’t be a sequel to Ang Lee’s film but it won’t be a remake or a re-imagining either. It will be a new adventure with different characters, new intrigue, new monsters. We will quickly get to the heart of the story because I think people know the character and I don’t want to shoot 45 minutes to get to the first Hulk-out or about the reasons that make him a monster. The first movie had a lot of Bruce Banner’s story and a little of Hulk’s. This one will be 50/50.

So there it is, straight from the horse's mouth. NOT a re-boot, not a re-imagining, simply a new adventure staring the Hulk. I've posted as such numerous times, but it seems many are hell-bent on using the terms re-boot or do-over. It is not. The first film set up Banner's predicament; he's a man who, it times of stress, turns into a monster. That's all you have to know going into this film.

Interviewer: Lastly, what can we expect of the character’s design? Will you use the same as the previous movie?

No, he will be truly different...Also, I don’t want to have a 45 feet tall Hulk that gets bigger when he gets madder. I don’t want to make Godzilla. This Hulk will be 9 feet tall and his height won’t change.

So for those (myself included) that disliked the height of the Hulk from the last film, this is indeed great news!

And finally:

I see this character as a tortured soul, prisoner of his superpowers and always on the run by fear of hurting others. If I need to state any references, I’d say mostly Jeckyl and Hyde, Frankenstein and even Edward Scissorhands.

Haven't seen Edward Scissorhands in years, but "tortured soul, prisoner of his superpowers and always on the run by fear of hurting others" is quite promising. I liked the first film, quite a bit actually. An unpopular statement perhaps, but it is how I really feel. But what the first film lacked was this aspect of Banner's character. That he is a doomed man, a walking WMD. It is what made the television show so great. It wasn't the effects, it wasn't Ferrigno, it wasn't that Banner was a "man on the run"; what makes the show memorable 30 years later is the fact that the audience had a great deal of pathos for Banner and his plight. I sincerely hope that this new film can capture this aspect of the character, and I know that Norton is up to the task.

Bruno Tapia
Online Editor

May 18, 2007

Zak Penn Talks Hulk’s Color And ‘Avengers’ Movie Plans

The following was originally posted on MTV.com:

Don’t make “The Incredible Hulk” screenwriter Zak Penn angry…you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. How can you avoid it? Don’t ask him if his latest incarnation of the classic Marvel superhero will be grey.

“That’s just a mistake, it’s not going to be grey. Of course he’s going to be green,” Penn admonished, responding to rumors circulating about a color change for the iconic mutant. In fact, Penn himself is green with envy over the way the Incredible Hulk was portrayed in the Lou Ferrigno television show, and told MTV that he wants the character to move in the direction of these classic roots. “I always felt about Ferrigno and the makeup was a much more naturalistic version of the Hulk. And that’s what we’re trying to go back to. His skin will appear more real,” Penn divulged. “In the first movie he was so green. He’s not going to be bright green.”

It’s a move towards realism that Penn hopes will permeate the reboot. “It’s not going to have the split screen and all that stuff because it’s more like a real thriller, man on the run, fugitive style movie,” Penn revealed of the flick’s plot. “That’s what I want to see.”

In a few years, the only thing greener than Hulk might be the money the character pulls in. Hulk will most likely also appear in an “Avengers” movie Penn is scripting, the screenwriter confessed.

“‘Avengers’ is definitely going to happen; the idea was always to do a crossover with multiple superheros,” he revealed of the superhero tag team group, Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League. “I’m waiting to let ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Hulk’ come out because those are two characters that could appear in it. I used to think that movie would be impossible to make but now I feel like it’s not.”

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May 27, 2007

The Incredible Hulk Synopsis

The following was originally posted on UniversalPictures.com:

The explosive, action-packed adventure in one of the all-time most popular superhero sagas unfolds with a cure in reach for the world's most primal force of fury: THE INCREDIBLE HULK. We find scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote. But the warmongers who dream of abusing his powers won't leave him alone, nor will his need to be with the only woman he has ever loved, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler).

Upon returning to civilization, our brilliant doctor is ruthlessly pursued by The Abomination (Tim Roth) -- a nightmarish beast of pure adrenaline and aggression whose powers match The Hulk's own. A fight of comic-book proportions ensues as Banner must call upon the hero within to rescue New York City from total destruction. And on June 13, 2008, one scientist must make an agonizing final choice -- accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or the creature he could permanently become: THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

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