Wizard interviews Louis Leterrier

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http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/006880907.cfm

2008 PREVIEW: THE ‘INCREDIBLE HULK’ MOVIE
Director Louis Leterrier gets mean and green with Ed Norton, the Abomination and tons of fanboy Easter eggs
By Danny Spiegel

Posted December 27, 2007 5:00 PM

Don’t make director Louis Leterrier angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

Although, to be honest, we have no idea what he’s like when he’s angry, because when we spoke with him recently about helming “The Incredible Hulk”—hitting theaters June 13—he was perfectly nice and charming (the French accent also helped). Since this is a total relaunch for the character, we thought we might irritate him slightly with questions about Ang Lee’s 2003 film about the green goliath, but, really, everything was fine.

“I just came back from Brazil,” says Leterrier, “so I’m a little frazzled by the whole shooting experience. It’s a big movie. We got everything we wanted and more. We didn’t cheap out.”

Leterrier, best known for the action-packed “Transporter” films, is truly excited about his new Bruce Banner (Edward Norton, who also co-wrote the screenplay), Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), and of course his new villain, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), the Abomination-to-be.

WIZARD: Next year’s “The Incredible Hulk,” with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, is a total relaunch for the franchise, but are there any elements from the 2003 film?

LETERRIER: No, not at all, but that being said, I have huge respect for Ang Lee and his movies, so I didn’t want to offend people that loved the first movie. We don’t go against anything that the first one established, but it’s brand new, a fresh start.

Will we see any of the Hulk’s origin retold here?

LETERRIER: No, but you’ll understand through memories and flashbacks.

What’s the story of this film?

LETERRIER: It’s the story of a more weathered and savvy Bruce Banner [and] his drive is to find a cure. [And] it’s a manhunt. General Ross is the villain, but the Abomination—Emil Blonsky—was who Marvel wanted to put in this chapter of our new saga because he’s an enemy that can actually threaten the Hulk. I didn’t feel in Ang Lee’s “Hulk,” for example, that there was any threat. He was invincible. So with Abomination there’s a monster that can actually kill him when he’s in the Hulk form.
How are you handling the Abomination’s origin?

LETERRIER: Emil Blonsky, when he first came about, was very much a Cold War-painted Russian spy. We couldn’t do this. We created a plot having Emil Blonsky as a soldier realizing that he was at the end of his career, physically, and meeting the Hulk and seeing the power that Bruce Banner had and deciding to ask if he could go one-on-one against him because he had nowhere to go. That’s why we decided to cast Tim Roth, because he’s got that vicious, smart way about him.

Does Emil subject himself to gamma exposure, or is Emil a guinea pig?

LETERRIER: He subjects himself. It’s gamma-based. It’s very important that both monsters are the same thing. Both men are opposite sides of the same coin. Bruce Banner doesn’t like this power within, and the other man, Emil Blonsky, wants this power but cannot get it and eventually will meet somebody that can give it to him.

Will the Abomination have those crazy ears like in the comic?

LETERRIER: Yeah, we are keeping the ears. We’re making them a little different [though]. Actually, when I was hired, I came to Marvel with my own take, a more modern take, on the monster. There was something reptilian about the original Abomination that didn’t make sense. There was no reptile mix in his origin, so I just changed it and made it like the “über-human.” It’s a human that was injected in the wrong places with something, and these places are growing differently. It still has the general shape of the Abomination, but there’s something realistic that I wanted to put in it.

Can we be secure, though, that he is still disgustingly ugly?,/B>

LETERRIER: [Laughs] Oh, yeah. Actually, this morning we were doing visual effects, [and] we were like, “Ooh, a little bit too ugly, actually.” We are taking it back.

Tim Roth is a very committed actor. In that spirit, is he stomping around the set yelling at people?

LETERRIER: [Laughs] No, not at all. Actually, Tim had a blast. It was a nice change because he’s used to very serious and hard roles, and for him it was a vacation. He’s the one who wanted to do more of his own stunts and have more fun because he said, “I want my kids to see that.” He had so much fun.

Will the character of Samuel Sterns be appearing as the Leader, or will he be set up for a possible sequel?

LETERRIER: He’s being set up. He’s the Wizard of Oz of our whole story.

Is he creating Abomination?

LETERRIER: Uh, possibly…the Abomination is a creation of many things gone wrong at the same time.

But Sterns doesn’t get exposed to gamma rays in this movie?

LETERRIER: No, we set him up for the sequel. But it’s like [Doc] Samson, same thing. We set him up for the sequel. I didn’t want to put too many villains [in the film]. But I wanted Bruce Banner to cross their path to introduce them for future episodes.

In terms of the look and shape of the Hulk, how would you compare the CGI from the 2003 film to yours?

LETERRIER: In the first one, they did a great job [but] there was no weight to him. He was flying around and it was very poetic, but our movie is grittier. When I offered my services to do the job, I said I want everything to be gritty, darker, even a little scarier. Frankenstein, King Kong…these monsters are pretty scary. They’re not smooth-looking, fluorescent-green-looking characters. They’re pretty dark and, still, within, there’s a tenderness and a humanity that you can see through them.

In the first one, the Hulk was sort of an extrapolation of Eric Bana’s face. Is it the same here with Edward Norton?

LETERRIER: We actually didn’t start [from] Edward’s face because we started the Hulk’s design before we got Edward. So once we were comfortable with the overall design, then we added some of Edward’s features in it. Like, for example, in our movie, he has a scar on the cheek and his jaw, and he has a little mole on the right side of his mouth. We added that on. Very subtle things. And his haircut, obviously.

I hear that the Hulk in this version has a mullet. Is that right or is that just a bad rumor?

LETERRIER: A mullet? No, no. [Laughs] I make fun of that. I say sometimes that he has a mullet. No, he doesn’t have a mullet at all. He has longer hair because Bruce Banner is on the run and he doesn’t get his hair cut often. He has very dirty hair, but no mullet at all. You know, it’s funny that you say that because this morning I was saying, “Lengthen the back of the hair but be careful so it doesn’t look like a mullet.”

Were you a comic fan growing up?

LETERRIER: Yeah, I was, but it was more the French or Belgian comic book school, you know, like Blueberry and Tintin.

What was your first exposure to the Hulk?

LETERRIER: Well, we had those comic books, but my real first exposure was the TV show. That’s why it’s so close to my heart. It’s very…human. It’s really about the character, the Bill Bixby/David Banner character.

Any favorite episode?

LETERRIER: When he’s a bouncer at a disco. It’s really funny. [Laughs]

Is there any way you can get that sad “walking away” music from the end of each episode into the film?

LETERRIER: Actually, yeah. We got the rights so that’ll be in the movie. The composer is Joe Harnell. “Dah dah dah…” Let me play it for you. Hold on, I’ve got it. Listen. [Plays sad Hulk music] That’s the one! [Laughs]

That’s awesome. Have you ever had the opportunity to talk with Kenneth Johnson, the executive producer of that series?

LETERRIER: No, but, actually, we have a friend in common so I definitely want to meet him. Now I know Lou Ferrigno pretty well. It was so great to meet Lou Ferrigno. It’s so weird when you get to meet your childhood heroes. It’s, like, “Oh my God …”

So I take it that Lou Ferrigno has a cameo?

LETERRIER: Yeah. It’s a fun cameo. It’s a little bit meatier than what he had in the first one [as a security guard]. He’s just the nicest guy and he was so excited to come on board. It was funny to see Edward Norton and Lou Ferrigno act together. It’s two different techniques: Edward is very thought out—and Lou, it was just, like…him. I loved it.

Is Stan Lee making a cameo?

LETERRIER: Yeah, but Stan Lee is the busiest man alive. He didn’t make the cameo yet but we haven’t finished shooting. I spoke to him the other day and whenever we do [another] shoot, he’ll do a cameo there.

So you haven’t met him in person yet.
I’m very shy and very intimidated by Stan Lee. did the [San Diego] Comic-Con panel and he came on the Iron Man panel [separately] but I was backstage and I could see him. I was like, “It’s Stan Lee—I’m so excited!”

Are there any special Hulk comics that were a particular inspiration for you?

LETERRIER: Hulk: Gray, the Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale one, was a big inspiration for me. It’s so graphic and so perfect in its composition. That’s what got me back into the mood of the Hulk. When my agent called me and said, “Do you want to remake the Hulk?” I went to a comic book store and I picked up Hulk: Gray. That’s what made me hungry to do another Hulk movie. So there will be Hulk: Gray references, but also there will be Bruce Jones, Peter David [references]…It’s chock-full of references


:bh:
 
The new take on the abomination is cool, hope he looks crazy & not stupid... & Yay Joe Harnell's Lonely man theme will be in the film, I can't wait!!
 
I'm so excited they'll be using the piano music from the TV show. But I have a feeling I'm not going to like the look of Abomination though. Something tells me it will be bad CGI along the lines of the Rock's character at the end of Mummy Returns.
 
Great stuff, thanks for posting this, I love the tip of the hat to fans of the show with the "walking away" music, awesome. Abomination sounds cool looking.
 
Whoa, all kinds of juicy info. Somebody's got to update the "what we know" thread!
 
We don’t go against anything that the first one established, but it’s brand new, a fresh start. GOOD!

It’s gamma-based. It’s very important that both monsters are the same thing. Both men are opposite sides of the same coin. GOOD!

Yeah, we are keeping the ears GOOD!

I didn’t want to put too many villains [in the film]. GOOD!

We got the rights so that’ll be in the movie
GOOD!

we haven’t finished shooting. BAD!

he has a scar on the cheek and his jaw
REALLY BAD!
 
I have absolutely no confidence in this director.

Still, the cast is great and if the script is good then they might be able to make it work. I'm more excited about this than any other Marvel film in recent years, though.


Oh and I hope that "sad walking away music" thing wasn't a joke!
 
Sod Bruce Jones, his run was awful...but they should definitely put in some nod to Bill Mantlo: He and Sal Buscema defined the Hulk for a generation, and given what happened to him the man deserves some small tribute.
 
Sod Bruce Jones, his run was awful...but they should definitely put in some nod to Bill Mantlo: He and Sal Buscema defined the Hulk for a generation, and given what happened to him the man deserves some small tribute.

Absolutely
 
has Ed Norton visible scars on his face?

I don't know if Norton has one for real but in this official film shot you can make out a small scar on his left cheek. It's in pretty much the same place as the the Hulk concept art, but a good deal more subtle.


713buci.jpg


theincrediblehulkxt9.jpg
 
I certainly don't want to start any type of discussion like I see in other places around here over things like "perma-white" and such, but I do find it odd that the Hulk will have a scar he can't heal. I'm more than willing to overlook it though, as long as this movie gets things right. I, like others, have no real trust in Leterrier at all, but on the flipside, Norton is such a brilliant actor and when I look at him, he IS Bruce Banner. No film before has ever had me this excited and worried at the same time. '08 has a lot of huge movies, let's hope this is one of them...
 
Oh and I hope that "sad walking away music" thing wasn't a joke!

For the record, the "sad walking away music" was called "The Lonely Man" and was written by Joe Harnell.

And only the hardest of hardcore Hulk fans has the disco version:

[YT]LGuh45ovOeg[/YT]
 
The lonely Man theme in the movie? Lots of references from the comic books? Grittier and darker? IM EFFIN' IN!!!!!!
 
The scars are way too noticeable. I don't understand why they're not using the original Hulk CGI model. It's really under appreciated.




EDIT: Wait... I just realized why... New toys...

Damn Hollywood.
 
The scars are way too noticeable. I don't understand why they're not using the original Hulk CGI model. It's really under appreciated.




EDIT: Wait... I just realized why... New toys...

Damn Hollywood.

also different company, i doubt ILM would give R&H their model or even if they could, Marvel dont want anything to do with the first one.
 
so is the inclusion of the SSS in the origin still in the film?
 
The scars are way too noticeable. I don't understand why they're not using the original Hulk CGI model. It's really under appreciated.




EDIT: Wait... I just realized why... New toys...

Damn Hollywood.
Yeah, **** reboots. :woot:

Though I'm not sure about some of the criticism directed towards the scarring. I posted this in another thread, but this section of the forum doesn't get as much traffic as others:

Is it ever explicitly stated that "not-scarring" is one of the Hulk's powers? I understand he heals very quickly, but I don't see how that alone would prohibit the formation of scar tissue, which is, after all, a normal byproduct of the healing process (for all but the tiniest, most insignificant wounds).

If anything, based on the major damage Hulk consistently takes from artillery and supervillains and whatnot, I would expect him to be covered in scars - the only difference being that they would show up much quicker for him than for a normal person.

Now, I don't have any personal preference in the matter, though, insofar as aesthetic concerns (really, the most important type of concerns in a matter this trivial) go, they'd probably be better served toning down the scarring, or even omitting it altogether, lest his entire body become an unruly mass of deformed skin. But really, it doesn't seem like a huge deal to me for some of the Hulk's gnarlier wounds (maybe the Abomination rips one of his ears off, or something) to be visually remembered with some scar tissue.

Though, in a corollary, would such scarring carry over to Banner's normal body, once the Hulk entity had subsided?

And I agree with you about the model used in Hulk. I had almost zero problems with that aspect of the film, and I still can't abide, at all, the unflinching derision of the special effects and CGI. I was blown away by the realism at the time (barring a few shots early in the film), and I still think it looks great.

And, finally, I hear the lack of confidence in this director. Ang could have made some great films here.
 
So if Abomination isn't gonna look reptilian(scales),does that mean he won't be green either,is he gonna look like Mr.Hyde from "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"?
 
Cool Interview! He says it'll be darker, grittier, and even a bit scary!... I like that!:)
 

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