Ang Lee on The Hulk

Friday, April 25 2003

Posted on USA Today

The following was originally posted on USA Today:

Ang Lee says he underestimated the importance of a comic-book movie's look until he started designing his hulking green hero. Before accepting the job, his only knowledge of The Hulk was the Bill Bixby TV show of the late 1970s.

"My image of the Hulk was Lou Ferrigno," he says. "I didn't even think about the look of the creature at first, just the story line."

But after reading the comic books and meeting hard-core fans, Lee says, he realized he couldn't shortchange appearances. He opted for an elaborate, computer-generated character that is said to rival Gollum, the CG character from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers .

"Comic books are a true American pulp art form," he says. "I love the idea of finally creating an A-product out of a B-movie. I believe that's why they're so popular now in Hollywood."

The Hulk Director Ang Lee, who dabbled in action with 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , goes full-tilt in the story of Dr. Bruce Banner, belted by gamma rays. The film, based on one of Marvel's most enduring series, hits theaters June 20.

Below is USA Today's synopsis of the film:

The Hulk June 20

Back story: Dr. Bruce Banner, a physicist, is exposed to gamma radiation during a bomb test. When he gets angry, he transforms into the 7-foot, 1,000-pound Hulk. Hulk follows Banner's flight from the military, which wants to harness his power or destroy him.

Comic history: The Hulk made its debut in 1962 in Marvel Comics' The Incredible Hulk No. 1 . It's regularly a top-10 seller.

Secret weapon: Ang Lee. Since the man behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon agreed to direct, comic book fans have been optimistic the green brooder will finally lose his TV stigma. Eric Bana stars as the brooder, Jennifer Connelly as his love, and Sam Elliott as Gen. "Thunderbolt" Ross, who hunts him.

Archnemesis: Persnickety fans. Like Spider-Man, The Hulk has generated heated debate over his movie look. At issue: Should Hulk keep the purple pants of the comic book or storm about in the buff? An unconcerned Lee says he's just sick of green: "Every time I see a tree, I want to throw up."

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