Lucas Talks About The Beast

Thursday, September 26 2002

Posted on IGN/FilmForce

The following interview originally appeared on IGN/FilmForce:

Beyond the comedy of Sweet Home Alabama, Lucas admits he's more inclined to choose dramatic roles, and cites two particularly "amazing" experiences: working on A Beautiful Mind and The Hulk, which he completed earlier this year. Two films in which he worked with his friend Jennifer Connelly. "Jennifer and I had quite a profound experience making A Beautiful Mind, and again, another very profound experience making The Hulk.

We then ask if he wouldn't mind talking about The Hulk, and the man bringing it to the big screen, director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

"The Hulk, that was the experience of my life, so far," says Lucas. "Ang Lee is totally brilliant; a wonderful, beautiful man. It was like working with a Buddhist, Zen, Yoda master. This guy is sublime, and just incredible. He's got this quiet, incredible energy, and remains perfectly calm in the face of this $160 million, 700 crew member chaos. He leads it with this extraordinary discipline and general energy that he never lets a single moment get by that isn't perfect in his mind. He challenges you in this very quiet way to play within his creative zone. That movie is going to be totally different that anything ever done in terms of comic books."

For his part in The Hulk, in which he plays Major Glen Talbot, Lucas didn't refer at length to the TV show or the comic book. In fact, he was almost entirely unfamiliar with the storyline, and this, it appears, was one of Ang Lee's prerequisites. "I didn't research my character because Ang wanted everyone's versions of their characters to be as truly fresh as possible. So, in a way, I think he was honestly looking for people who didn't know much about it. I don't think Jennifer knew anything about The Hulk. Eric didn't know. I don't know about Nolte, but Sam Elliott, I think it was the same thing – he didn't know. I think it was about five actors who were so fresh with their ideas because they weren't burdened by being in love the TV show, or being in love with the comic. Ang was specific about trying to keep people fresh that way, to keep the ideas fresh when you're making something this unique, in and of itself."

Says Lucas about his character, "Glen Talbot, in the comic was," he takes a deep breath, "sometimes young, sometimes old, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes he's got a mustache, and sometimes," he pauses, "in general he was like all over the place. That allowed Ang the freedom to be like: who is this character? And no one can get upset with me because this is not the version that they know. So, my character has had a relationship with Betty, played by Jennifer Connelly. That relationship has failed. Jennifer Connelly's father is my boss. So, Eric Bana, or, Bruce Banner and I have this incredible competition based on Betty, and based on all the different things that are going on inside the dynamic of the story. But also, in terms of the interpersonal relationships – Bruce fell in love with her, and she was [in love] with me. My job, basically, is to piss Bruce off so that he becomes The Hulk, and then I try to take pieces of him."

What of the design of the new Hulk? Lucas has seen the production sketches and models. And for what he calls "the beast" he says, "If it works, and I can't imagine that it won't because of Ang Lee, it will be revolutionary. It is revolutionary."

Lucas explains, "What you have here is a being that ranges in size, that will be in a room, involved in a space like this, where you see – computer-generated – that he has emotions. That his eyes are alive. He's got feelings. He's got terror. It's the technology of Jurassic Park times twenty. It's the same people who did that. But rather than that, here we have a real beast. You have a real being. And the way that they're doing it is incorporating emotions. They're actually now able to take the emotions of a human being, incorporate them into a computer, and incorporate them into the Hulk's eyes; into the character of the beast. The beast becomes someone who has veins and blood and all those different things are real. It's not like [other films]. As great as Spider-Man is, it's not Spider-Man. It's a different genesis. Ang has waited for years; waited ten years to make this movie; three years of pre-production to get it to a point where Ang was satisfied that the life in the eyes of the computer-generated Hulk was enough that you weren't distracted, tuned out."

I then inquired about Lucas' effects work on The Hulk, in which the actors were able to work, for the most part, without the use of blue-screens.

"It's a brand new technology, and for the first time they're no longer having to do the same blue screen work," says Lucas. "What they can now do is take a room, like this, and put The Hulk in it. Even though there's nothing there – just me acting with something and seeing nothing. But, The Hulk will be there." He adds that for an actor, "We're able to use real space a little bit better. [With blue screens], when it's something you see, you have to create the whole space visually. Now you don't have to do that anymore. It makes it a little bit easier for the actor. It's still amazing what they're doing.

For the complete interview, go to IGN/FilmForce.

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