After Ang Lee’s Hulk really disappointed us back in 2003 it seems so odd to think of a brand new franchise centered on the big green guy hitting theaters so quickly, from the same studio, yet completely distancing itself from Lee’s film. On top of that I am still baffled at the fact Ed Norton is playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Norton’s work and am completely excited that he feels so strongly about the character and the film, it just caught me off guard and I am still trying to picture it.
It was eight years in between the release of Batman and Robin and the rejuvinated Batman franchise success Batman Begins with which director Christopher Nolan took the franchise and got rid of the cartoony characteristics that made the final two films so bad and gave it that sense of realism we all love. To hear Norton compare his new Hulk vision to Nolan’s take on Batman is nothing short of exciting.
The Sun quotes an interview Norton did with Total Film Magazine as the actor/screenwriter said, “I think like Chris Nolan and those guys did with Batman, we just said: ‘We’re going to start completely with our own version of this myth or saga.'”
When asked about Ang Lee’s version he said, “First off it’s utterly unrelated to that film… This is in no way a response to it or picking up from it.”
While I will say Lee’s film overall wasn’t all that good, his vision was certainly unique and there is no denying he really went for something with it as he tried to mimic the look of a comic book. Unfortunately his vision failed, but you can’t blame a director for trying.
At Comic Con last year Norton professed his love of the “Hulk” comic, but it wasn’t an instant leap into the project when his phone rang as he said, “When the phone rings and someone says, ‘Hey, would you be interested in the big green guy?” there’s that part of all of us that doesn’t want to look like an idiot… There’s the wince factor or the defensive part of you that recoils at what the bad version of what that would be. And I did that, basically. I said ‘no’ to it a couple of times.”
However, he seems fully committed to the project now as he made it glaringly obvious he sees himself as the Hulk more than once saying, “To me the whole thing was to envision it in multiple parts… We left a lot out on purpose. It’s definitely intended as chapter one.”
My love for Norton in such films as Fight Club, American History X, 25th Hour, Rounders and Primal Fear always keep me interested in his next project, but to see an actor of his caliber so dedicated and excited about a superhero project and speaking of it the way he has simply raises the bar.
The Incredible Hulk is set to hit theaters on June 13th directed by Louis Leterrier from a screenplay co-written by Norton and Zak Penn. Along with Norton the film stars Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt and Tim Blake Nelson.
For a full synopsis and more on the film click here, and if you are a RopeofSilicon Member you can register for updates of your choosing for The Incredible Hulk here