When Ang Lee's "Hulk" came out in 2003, fans pegged it as too ambitious in the wrong areas and too cerebral to be a comic book classic. One thing director Louis Leterrier promises of his new "Incredible Hulk" reboot is that it will have much more action, much more fighting and, yes, much more opportunity for the big green guy to SMASH.
One thing he doesn't promise is that it will have any less intelligence.
"You couldn't do a Hulk movie without making it a little bit brainy in a way," Leterrier told MTV News from high above the convention floor at New York Comic Con. "It's a story of people having power and wanting to get rid of it, and other people like [Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky] wanting to harness the power and take it for themselves. There are some real deep themes in it."
As we saw from the first trailer, a lot of those deep themes have to do with issues of control, particularly in regards to the obvious challenge facing Bruce Banner as he aims to wrestle agency away from the monster within.
But for his main enemy, a super-soldier turned literal Abomination, the dangerous themes of control apply only superficially, said Roth. This is not a case of an enemy — like Batman's Joker, for instance — who causes fear by being the mirror image of the hero, but of an enemy whose greatest fear is looking into a mirror.
Old age has many victims. It's about to claim half of New York, Roth revealed.
"He's a guy who's a fighter. He probably grew up in the military or something, I don't know. That's what he loves to do. He's active, he's in the field, and he's very, very good at it, but he's coming to the end of his career," the veteran actor said of the motivations behind Blonsky's desire to harness the gamma radiation and become the Abomination. "He's coming to the full stop, really. And he doesn't want a situation of sitting behind a desk."
The Abomination, then, offers not just seemingly unlimited power (which, of course, it does), but some sort of prolonged youthfulness and vitality.
"He gets a glimpse of something that is beyond his imagination — but a possibility," Roth said. "Once he finds out what it is, there's a possibility of taking himself in a completely new direction. It's a fascinating character."
Perhaps as fascinating for Roth was the way they mapped some of his features onto the fully formed Abomination, whose look changed drastically from page to screen.
"You can see me in it, to a certain extent. That's a good thing, isn't it?" Roth teased.
"There were some little things. Obviously we couldn't export some of Tim's features onto the monster because we had to make him look actually scary, and Tim is not that scary," Leterrier laughed. "You know what I mean. But he's got Tim's smile — that million-dollar smile."
It's a smile that proves he's ready for his close-up — and just in time, considering the detail that went into rendering him for the big screen. No longer does the villain have a reptilian, scaly look, for instance, but a much more sinewy, humanoid appearance. And just like a badass soldier would, this Abomination has some serious ink, Leterrier confessed.
"Abomination has [Tim's] tattoos," the director proudly revealed.
In fact, the only thing given more ink than the Abomination, it seems, is the supposed rift between star Edward Norton and Marvel Studios over the cut of the film. The spat has been rumored to be divisive and irreconcilable.
"It's really a stupid story," Leterrier said. "When you don't have stories in Hollywood, you make stories. You get in a fight with your girlfriend about the frying pan not being in the place it was yesterday. And then you're fighting and fighting, and after 10 minutes, you're like, 'What were we fighting about?' And that's pretty much what happened. I think 15 minutes afterward, the fight was over."
"The Incredible Hulk" begins to SMASH open movie theaters when it's released June 13.
Check out everything we've got on "The Incredible Hulk."
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