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Incredible Hulk Producer Jim Van Wyck Interview

The following was originally posted on Intelligencier.ca:

He's big, he's green, and he's coming to CFB Trenton. And while he's there, things are bound to get smashed.

On July 26 and 27, crews filming the new movie The Incredible Hulk will arrive at the air base.

In a telephone interview from Toronto Thursday, executive producer Jim Van Wyck told The Intelligencer this incarnation of the superhero is a "total re-invention" from that seen in 2003's The Hulk.

"The Hulk is unbelievably amazing compared to the Hulk in the first film," Van Wyck said. "He's not the chlorophyll green he was in the first film."

Created by comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Hulk is one of the pillars of the Marvel Comics empire.

Brilliant scientist Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, a powerful, rage-filled behemoth, when his emotions rise. The result is always chaos.

Van Wyck said everything about the new film, which is set for a June 13, 2008 release, is different. He said the new approach is "completely intentional."

"It's a standalone movie with respect to the first movie and respect to the TV series," said Van Wyck, whose credits include work on 16 Blocks, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Free Willy, Swordfish and The Babe.

"It's probably more loyal to the TV series than the first one was, but it is definitely an original."

"We've got an absolutely fantastic group of actors."

The Incredible Hulk stars Edward Norton, who reportedly turned down the role of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, next year's sequel to Batman Begins, to play Banner. He replaces Eric Bana.

Banner's fellow scientist Betty Ross is portrayed by Liv Tyler, who takes over from Jennifer Connelly.

The Hulk's arch-enemy, Betty's father Gen. Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, is played by William Hurt. Tim Roth has been recruited to play Emil Blonsky, also known as the monstrous Abomination.

Hurt and Roth are the only stars expected to be on location in Trenton, Van Wyck said.

"True to the comic books, Gen. Ross's lifelong obsession has become hunting down and capturing the Hulk. And Trenton fills in as his base of operation."

Van Wyck said 15 of the shoot's projected 18 weeks will be shot in Canada, mostly in Toronto and Hamilton. One week is devoted to New York, the other two in Rio de Janeiro.

He said the scenes involving Trenton are set at a secret military base that is never named.

"I think everybody that knows Trenton will recognize Trenton," he said, adding a CC-130 Hercules kept at the base will be a key part of the shooting.

"The folks at 8 Wing have been most gracious," he said. "One of the things I'm actually most excited about is I've asked them to explore the possibility of having the folks who work on the base there work as extras."

However, he said, that possibility is still being discussed.

Base public affairs officer Capt. Nicole Meszaros said staff are "excited" about playing host to the Hulk.

"I've learned a lot in terms of what it takes to put together a major movie like this," Meszaros said, adding base personnel are also glad that about 150 crew members will be staying in local hotels for a few nights.

Van Wyck said some of the required shots involve aircraft.

"We're going to shoot inside the retired C-130, and then we have some exterior scenes to play as well."

A few Huey helicopters will be brought in for the shoot, Van Wyck added.

The Hulk himself won't be seen in Trenton, he said, since the creature is entirely computer-generated by a team working under visual effects supervisor and co-producer Kurt Williams.

The Hollywood veteran said details of the script are top secret.

"All I can tell you is he's still being pursued," he said. "The Hulk is a good soul. He's a defensive creature.

"It's just when he's attacked that he responds ... The response is usually fairly devastating, and that's why he wants to find a cure: to rid himself of this thing that he becomes."

Louis Leterrier is directing the movie, and Van Wyck crew members are looking forward to having the "really talented" Leterrier at the helm.

"We're all excited about that opportunity."

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