Gale Ann Hurd Interview

Wednesday, September 4 2002

Posted on Zap2it

'Markone' sent me the the following interview from Zap2it:

HOLLYWOOD ( - "We just finished shooting a month ago," says Gale Anne Hurd. "It was a real joy."

Hurd, whose producing career includes "Clockstoppers," "Armageddon," both "Terminator" films, "The Abyss" and "Alien Nation," is one of the producers of Universal's "The Hulk," currently in post-production for a June 20, 2003, premiere date.

"We've got a lot to go," Hurd says, "in terms of animating The Hulk digitally at ILM."

Directed by Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), the Marvel Comics adaptation stars Australian Eric Bana ("Black Hawk Down") as arrogant scientist Bruce Banner. After a catastrophic accident with a cell-altering machine, Banner periodically loses control of his emotions and transforms into a huge, green manifestation of his inner demons - The Hulk.

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, "The Hulk" first appeared in comic form in 1962 and was later adapted into a TV series called "The Incredible Hulk" in the late 1970s, starring Bill Bixby as Banner (called "David" in the series) and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk.

"We've updated it for the new millennium," Hurd says, "but we've kept very true to the comic books, rather than to the television show."

"I certainly hope we'll satisfy everyone. The most important thing is we've got a terrific director who is passionate about giving The Hulk and Bruce Banner a lot of emotional depth. With all these movies, you've got to care about the characters. We're getting spoiled with visual effects, so I don't think you can just show a lot of terrific visual effects and have people satisfied."

"That's why we're so thrilled that we've got an indie sensibility that Ang Lee brings, a character-oriented sensibility. At the same time, the action - and this comes from Avi Arad, the head of Marvel - is the biggest action that he's seen from any of his comic-book movies. So we certainly think we'll deliver on that count as well."

Asked about Lee's contribution, Hurd says, "That's what will really surprise people, the depth of humanity. The great thing about the Hulk character to begin with is it's got a Jekyll & Hyde nature. It's not about a guy putting on a costume and having superpowers and saving the world. It's a deeply conflicted character."

"He's afraid of his inner rage. He's not at peace with it. It's not, 'Wow, look at me. Look how powerful and strong I am.' It's, 'Oh my God, have I hurt anybody?'"

Co-starring as scientific genius Betty Ross is Jennifer Connelly, the current Vanity Fair cover subject and a recent Academy Award winner for best supporting actress for her role opposite Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind" (where, coincidentally, he was also playing a genius). According to Hurd, Connelly was cast for "The Hulk" before striking Oscar gold.

"Oh, yes," Hurd says, "and we got Ang Lee before 'Crouching Tiger' came out as well."

Rounding out the cast are Nick Nolte as Bruce Banner's father, David (a nod to the TV series, says Hurd), and Sam Elliott as Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, the commander of a top-secret research facility.

"This guy just gets better with age," Hurd says of Elliott. "That voice, he's so sexy. I swear, he makes gray hair the sexiest thing you've ever seen."

Also for fans of the TV show, Ferrigno makes a cameo appearance as a head of security. "And by the way," Hurd says, "one of the sweetest human beings I've ever met. He would stand around for hours and sign autographs for fans and really, really care. It was wonderful, having him on the set."

Asked whether she thinks this take on "The Hulk" will satisfy hard-core comic-book fans, Hurd says, "It's so funny when people say, 'Are you being true to the comic books?' The comic book differ so greatly among themselves that there is no one Hulk.

"In some early 'Hulks' it was very werewolf-vampirish, because rather than anger and rage turning Bruce Banner into The Hulk, he turned into The Hulk at night, which is something people have forgotten."

"There have been intelligent Hulks, who could speak perfectly. Then, of course, there were Hulks who could say, 'Puny human,' and only a few choice other words. It depends on who wrote the book at the time."

"So it's funny, because when you say 'satisfy the fans,' it's 'Satisfy which fans of which writer?'"

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