A/V Room









The Hulk - Josh Lucas Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How demanding upon you, physically, was the fight sequence, and did you actually get injured?
Josh Lucas:
I think the incredible beauty of working with Ang is that the level of specificity is tremendous, and I was fascinated by that as well. I knew that Ang, if there was any way possible, was going to use me, or any of the actors, in any way. I think that’s something that Crouching Tiger gave him as well, he learned a tremendous amount about the ballet of the wire.
The beauty of the job often comes from the stuff that you learn before you come on to the set, which is where you go and play with the wire, and experiment with different ways of orienting the CGI with Ang’s direction, which was so incredibly specific about what it was going to be, to the point of literally feeling the breath of his nostrils on your hair, and the movement of it.
Then it was about using that wire work and the different stunts that were going down to throw your body and manipulate your body in a way that didn’t look like wires, and didn’t look like you were doing it to yourself, so that later on the CGI was the one actually doing the movement.
We spent a lot of time, it was incredibly specific work, that was recorded on video, and showed to Ang over and over and over, as he coiled it down into something that he felt fed the scene.
So yeah, we got beat up, and that’s all there is to it. But it’s something that I love to do, but it can be hard. It was particularly hard on Eric, because he doesn’t get any retaliation, because the retaliation then comes from a green image that isn’t there - I was sort of doing it to myself. It was tremendously physical, but tremendously playful within that, and fun.
I was constantly getting bashed around and I definitely, at one point, assumed that I had broke my leg, when I hit the couch in a certain way and there was this crack, and everyone went silent for a second, and my whole body went entirely numb, but luckily nothing happened. On a daily basis, however, I think I play really hard and I think that’s something that Ang wanted as well, and there’s moments in making it look as physically violent as we attempted to make it look.

Q. You were saying there was a long time between principal photography and the completion of the film. What was your reaction to the big fight scene you were talking about and to the fully rendered version of The Hulk?
For me, the character I have the most compassion for in this movie is The Hulk. Which I was astonished by, because as an actor, you definitely have this sort of competitive sense, you know, in the fact that you're playing with a CGI element.
I think actors have really negative takes on working with CGI; I think it's really detrimental to go into the process thinking 'I hate this, I have to look at a green X and react to it'.
There's an incredibly specific technical need that go into it, that are very difficult as an actor, but I think that if anything, and I keep comparing it to this, if you are a three-year-old boy lying in your bedroom at night, you believe in your heart that there is a monster under your bed, and that was something that we talked about - creating that same sort of belief.
When I saw it, I was honestly completely stunned by the level of everything that Ang talked to me about. Seeing the blood in his eyes, seeing the texture of his fingernails...
I mean, is the medium, is CGI perfect? No. Maybe a thousand years from now, it will be. But that's the ballet of the way he is moving again. He has got this extraordinary sense of so many details that are going on which, again, is completely what Ang did in terms of building the movement. I mean, if you talk to the CGI guys about what they went through with Ang, pushing them the way that I think he did to come up with the skin moving, when Nolte's hand touches it. This is so awesomely, tremendously evolved from anything that's been done before.
So, for me, when I became completely overwhelmed by how beautiful and sad I thought the character was, was when he was falling from the airplane, and there was something about the flutter in his eyes, and the pain, that I realised he was the character I actually cared about the most in this whole movie, which is exactly what you were looking for. He isn't a hero, and he isn't an anti-hero, he's simply a monster; he's a bear in the wilderness trying to survive from poachers.

Q. What was it like working opposite Eric Bana? And what is your view on Mr Nolte as well?
Nick Nolte was amazing to me, because there is something so brilliant and child-like about him at the same time. The passion that he came to this project with... you know, that's my goal with every project, is to come with a similar level of passion the way Nolte did.
From early on, one of the things I knew about Ang Lee was he gives you a tremendous amount of research to work with, but he didn't here, because he didn't want that level of research here. He took us to Caltec, and to watch Nolte go through the scientific lab and look at everything, and touch everything, and be fascinated by everything, literally like a three-year-old boy, and that's how, every single day, he came to work with that same level of brilliant and yet childlike love for what he was doing. And I think that's my sense of what Nolte brings to everything.
Eric probably had a very difficult time with me, because my performance and job in this movie, basically, is to come and harass him. And be violent with him, and push him around, to constantly try and ask him to burst out of whatever it is he was doing. But then he can't actually burst out of it, they then take him away, so I think it was probably very hard for him and I know he's mentioned that quite a bit.
We didn't have a relationship that was animosity onset, or anything, it was just purely two actors who would meet and begin this sort of beating in a sense, whether they were psychological, or physical. I think he probably wanted to kill me at the end of each day.

Q. Have you a fiery temper? Do you do anything extreme when you're angry?
I don't have a terribly fiery temper. I have a bad breaking point, I'd say, which is quite, quite later, so because of that I'll stay a little bit agitated, or seething, until there's a moment when I'm completely out of control... and that happens very, very, very rarely, and only seems to happen with regard to injustice.
There's something about... my thing is that any time I'm falsely accused, or seeing someone else falsely accused, I don't know why...

Q. So what have you done that's out of control?
I think the thing about the Hulk, particularly, and the comic books and why they relate so much to a certain kind of 15-year-old boy or girl whose got hormones in their body that they don't necessarily understand and, for the first time, there are emotions streaming through them, I think The Hulk is a representation of that, in it's original stage. I know, from myself, that's the first time I ever completely lost control at that age, when I got insanely angry for, I've no idea why, with my parents, and went down and literally shattered the entire nine bones in my hand, smashing something, and then had to walk back up and say, 'I need to go to the hospital now'.
The thing about the genesis of the mythology of these characters, and I think why Hulk is completely different from the rest of them, is because he's so internal and it's so possible to understand him. It's not someone who can crawl up walls. It's someone who actually literally physically transforms, and I think we all feel that way, particularly as a teenager.

Q. With this and A Beautiful Mind, do you kind of secretly hanker to win Jennifer Connelly's heart?
I think all of us with the exact same idea. None of us were making a Hollywood movie, none of us were making a big Summer action movie, we were making an Ang Lee movie. Actually, it became strangely difficult because one of the studios said we don't know about putting the two actors together again. You know, it's sort of strange that way, sometimes, where they think it can be limiting, or bad luck, or whatever, but for all of us, it was genuinely about working with Ang and seeing how he was going to take this genre, that is so completely different from the movies that he makes, and mesh the two. The awesome, awesome experience. I'm a complete film geek, I want to go to work 20 hours a day, and you've got Ang and Frederick Elms, working that way as well. That can be very hard on actors and crews if they don't have that level of complete passion for the project, but pretty much everyone, because of the genesis of his ideas on a daily basis, the unique way that the movie was being put together, I mean if you watch this movie, particularly on second or third viewings, you start to see the background morphing into each other. Stuff that's rather evident on the first take, sure, but then as you start to really sit back and watch it again, it's happening so much more, with so much more incredible detail than you can imagine. What that took for them to have in their minds, on a daily basis, was very difficult to transfer those ideas to the crew, to the film-makers, because it was so complex, because it was so going to happen later. So for Jennifer and Eric who were there for the whole run of the shoot, it was extremely exhausting.

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