For the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex:
‘The Avengers’ and the Hulk: Kevin Feige explains a new approach
The Hulk will appear in his third feature film next year when Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo gets green in Joss Whedon’s ”The Avengers.” On Sunday, at the final day of Comic-Con International, fans got their first sense of the character’s new visage thanks to a Marvel promotional poster that depicts both the angry giant as well as Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, shown in sad silhouette. I caught up with Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and producer of “The Avengers,” to talk about the new green movement.
GB: Will we see anything substantially different in the visual realization of the Hulk?
KF: Well, I don’t know about substantially different. It will be as different as ”The Incredible Hulk” was from Ang Lee’s “Hulk” in terms of its look and design, but it is Hulk. The image we released on the last day of Comic-Con — which got a tremendous amount of attention and I was very pleased about — is a very good representation of what he’s going to look like. Hulk is Hulk. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel.
GB: How big will he be? That’s been a major variable through the years in the comics and the two films as well.
KF: He’ll be about the same size he was in “The Incredible Hulk” [which was about 9 feet tall] or maybe a little bit smaller. His muscles won’t be quite as cut. We figure he’s been the Hulk now for a few years and [his physique is changing]. He’s not as cut or as ripped as he was in “The Incredible Hulk.” The most important thing is that face. As you can already see in that concept painting, it is — more than any Hulk that’s ever been done in live action — a Hulk that let’s you see the actor in there. You will be able to see Ruffalo in there. That was a big revelation for us. It’s just a concept painting, but in that you can see the [influence of Marvel Comics pioneer and original Hulk artist Jack] Kirby, as people have already pointed out, but also, and equally important in this case, Ruffalo’s eyes and his cheek structure. It is him.
GB: That sounds like a very different philosophy than the approach you took on Louis Letterrier’s movie.
KF: It is. It was something we actively avoided before. Hulk was Hulk, he’s not any one actor and Hulk should look like Hulk. It was like Iron Man’s armor, in a way, it wouldn’t change depending on the actor wearing it. But we’ve taken a different approach because Hulk is Banner and, frankly, we came to question our approach. Why are we not doing it this way? So we did a few designs that put Ruffalo into it, and we immediately saw how much more you feel for the creature. When you keep that connection going between Banner and the Hulk and you have characters around him trying to reach Banner inside — “Bruce, calm down,” and all of that classic Hulk stuff — it means more if you see the same actor throughout. I think before it was something we thought might look silly. We were nervous about getting it good enough [via visual effects] to work. Frankly, it was the same way we were nervous early on about making Steve Rogers skinny for “Captain America.” Is this going to look disturbing? Is this going to look silly? In the end, we got that one right. We’re going to get this one right.
– Geoff Boucher