Feature by: Jack Foley
COMIC book superheroes seem to be all the rage at the moment,
thanks to the overwhelming success of movies such as Spider-Man
Already this year, we have had Daredevil,
and the X-Men sequel, and there are plans for both a Superman
and Batman revival, among others, in the near future.
The Hulk, however, marks a different sort of comic book to movie
translation, and cinema-goers expecting a typical Summer blockbuster
may be in for a big surprise.
Directed by Ang Lee, of Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame, the movie represents a bold departure
from the typical big-budget format, in that it functions on a
far more human level, while also presenting a different sort of
"If anything, it's a monster movie," explains Lee,
at a recent London press conference, held at the Dorchester Hotel.
"Hulk doesn't have a good cause, or come out and save the
world, he's not a superhero; he's a monster who comes out and
makes a mess.
"If I was to borrow from any movie genre, it would be a
horror one, such as Frankenstein," he explained. "When
I was proposed to this project, I thought I had a chance to do
a psychodrama, based on how the original story was made."
For Lee, the challenge lay not so much in creating an awe-inspiring
spectacle, but in tapping into the psychology of the piece; turning
Bruce Banner into a sympathetic character, who is forced to wrestle
with his inner beast (as personified by The Hulk).
"That's the kind of Hulk I wanted to touch," he told
me. "But, unfortunately, I had to use CGI methods to visualise
a specific being. But to me, the whole movie explores whether
he has a taste of The Hulk as part of his subconscious. And I
believe that he does."
It is little wonder, then, to find that Lee believes that everyone
has a Hulk inside of them, just waiting to burst out.
"My definition is that it is a survival instinct, or an
alter-ego, as the comic book calls it," he continued. "It's
so scary that we have to cover it up. It doesn't have a logic.
"I also believe that under unusual stress - usually anger,
or some sort of paranoia about something - it could expose itself.
"I only get to experience that through making movies,"
"I'm a naturally shy, nice person; I don't push anybody.
But as a director I will turn nasty if I want to get some results.
"When I was nervous about the outcome, I would go as far
as kicking the set. I lost it a couple of times."
Contrary to what sort of image this throws up, however, Lee has
the respect and admiration of everyone who works with him, as
one of the films stars, Josh Lucas, who plays Banas
love rival and chief tormentor in the film, was keen to point
Indeed, the desire to make a different sort of comic book movie
was one of the main reasons he was so keen to sign up to the project.
"None of us were making a Hollywood movie, or a big Summer
action movie, we were making an Ang Lee movie... 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 result, according to Lucas, makes for a truly remarkable
viewing experience - not least because of the emotion generated
by The Hulk himself, which caught the actor by surprise once he
"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
"But 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... This
is so awesomely, tremendously evolved from anything that's been
done before," he explained.
"For me, the moment 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 - which is exactly
what we 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
Audiences will have the opportunity to judge for themselves when
the movie opens here on July 18.