Hulk (2003) Poster



The house used by Betty Ross was also used in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
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Creating the Hulk in CGI was one of the most complex tasks Industrial Light & Magic had ever undertaken at that time. The computer model used 12996 texture maps, and required 1165 muscle movements and 100 layers of skin. It took the combined work and efforts of about 180 ILM technicians (69 technical artists, 41 animators, 35 compositors, 10 muscle action animators, 9 CG modellers, 8 supervisors, 6 skin painters and 5 motion-capture wranglers), over 2.5 million hours and one and a half years for him to be effectively created and portrayed in the film. With all that work, some of the public complained that the Hulk looked too fake, comparing him with Shrek (2001).
According to the animators at Industrial Light & Magic, the Hulk weighs 3452 lbs, and can exert 14 tons of pressure/inch2. His skin is 10 times as strong as Kevlar. His chest measures 208 inches, his waist 130 inches, his foot 51 inches and his neck 81 inches. If he wore shoes, they would be size 87. He can move at a top speed of 300 mph and cross 3-4 miles in a single jump.
Edward Norton was approached to play Bruce Banner, but turned it down. He later accepted the role in The Incredible Hulk (2008).
A lot of the microbiology work we see onscreen is real and is the work of Ang Lee's wife.
Nick Nolte had his hair grown wildly for this movie when he was arrested on drunk driving charges and photographed for his now infamous mug shot.
Jennifer Connelly was attracted to the role of Betty Ross, since she found Ang Lee's vision of the Hulk interesting: "He wasn't talking about a glossy fun-filled kids' movie about a green guy running around in tights. He was talking along the lines of tragedy and psychodrama, the green monster of rage, greed, jealousy and fear in all of us."
Ang Lee employed the split-screen technique to cinematically mimic the panels of a comic-book page. This required many takes of one scene, which was draining for Eric Bana: it took him four takes to film Banner's first Hulk-out, and by the time of its completion he was on the verge of collapse.
In this film, the madder the Hulk gets, the larger he becomes. The first time he appears, he is 9 feet tall, the second time he is 12 feet and the third time he is 15 feet tall. His skin would also be coloured grayish-green in his first appearance, and afterwards remain greenish. The ILM animators thus had to create three distinctly different Hulks.
This film holds the record for largest second weekend box office drop for a film that opened at #1, with a -69.7% drop.
The amount of CGI involved in the scene where Hulk battles the three mutant dogs was one of the hardest, most complicated scenes ILM had ever done. Ultimately what ended up on screen was only a third of what was originally storyboarded. To have filmed all of it would have been simply too expensive.
During production in San Francisco, filming had to be stopped for about two hours because some college students from UC Berkeley were playing a prank and systematically urinating in porta-potties, creating very loud peeing sounds that distracted the actors on set. It took about two hours to round up all of the students.
It was a deliberate decision to withhold showing Hulk in daylight until much later into the film, giving the audience the chance to get used to seeing him.
Eric Bana commented that the mood during shooting was "ridiculously serious and morbid." Ang Lee explained to him that he was shooting a sort of superhero tragedy and he would be making a whole other movie about the Hulk at the Industrial Light and Magic studios. Ironically, the film was criticised as being an overly serious superhero film.
Ang Lee took Eric Bana to watch a bare-knuckled boxing match to prepare him for the brutality of his role.
Bruce's dreams are primarily colored green and purple, the distinctive colors of the Hulk, who has green skin and wears purple pants.
The film was in development for 12 years, sufficient time for CGI to become sophisticated enough to render the special effects needed.
When General Ross heads towards San Francisco to intercept the Hulk his helicopter is code-named "T-Bolt." This is a homage to Ross's nickname "Thunderbolt" (for his explosive temper) in the comics.
Sam Elliot accepted the role of General Ross without reading the script, being simply excited to work with Ang Lee.
During Banner's first transformation as the Hulk, he destroys most of the laboratory that he works in. When he lifts the gamma sphere onto his back/shoulders, the Hulk poses for a brief moment like the Greek mythological figure Atlas; who holds the sphere of the earth on his back/shoulders. This is a nod towards the name of the location of the actual gamma sphere, which exists in real life, in ATLAS (Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator) at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois.
Ang Lee turned down Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) to direct this film.
When the project was in the works in the mid-1990s Johnny Depp was orignally the top choice to play Bruce Banner. Later on, Billy Crudup was Ang Lee's first choice to play Banner, but the actor declined the offer. Then Tom Cruise was offered the role of Bruce Banner, and then Steve Buscemi, David Duchovny and Jeff Goldblum were tested for the role before finally Eric Bana was cast.
Ang Lee performed the Hulk himself using motion capture technology.
According to director Ang Lee, the film's screenplay drew influences from monster tales like King Kong (1933) and Frankenstein (1931); fantasies like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Beauty & the Beast and Faust; and most particularly Greek mythological tragedies.
When the first Hulk-out (transformation of Banner into Hulk) occurs the color of the Hulk is either gray or greenish-gray. This is in homage to the first appearance of Hulk when he was actually gray in his debut comic (May 1962). The publisher couldn't do gray very well so Stan Lee changed the color to green, simply because green hadn't been used much by other characters. From the second Hulk-out he maintains his prominent emerald hue.
When Betty first meets David Banner, they discuss a man named Benny. Benny was a soldier who appeared in the Hulk graphic novel "The Dogs of War" which introduced the concept of Hulk dogs (which appear in this film). Pictures from the same novel are flipped by the screen when the opening Marvel logo appears.
To prepare for his role as General Ross, Sam Elliot read the Hulk comic books. He had doubts about growing a moustache, since the Army doesn't encourage facial hair, but was convinced by Ang Lee to do so.
The gammasphere in the film actually exists, located in ATLAS (Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator) at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois. However, it has no gamma-generating capabilities.
This film features the only combat missions ever flown (albeit simulated and fictional) by the RAH-66 Comanche stealth helicopter, whose program was canceled a year after the film's premiere with only two copies built.
In the Hulk comics, Bruce Banner's father was named Brian Banner. He was renamed David Banner in this film as a tribute to The Incredible Hulk (1978), where the Hulk was known as David Banner.
Costume designer Marit Allen had to come up with unflattering, nerdy clothes for Bruce Banner to disguise the fact that Eric Bana was actually in perfect shape.
Betty Ross is played in this film by Jennifer Connelly. In The Incredible Hulk (2008), she is replaced by Liv Tyler, who played her on-screen sister in Inventing the Abbotts (1997).
One of the rules that the costume design team were set was "no lab coats".
ILM wanted to study a human performing the actions Hulk does in order to create his movements. Initially they tried this using body-builders but found them to be too cumbersome. Instead they settled for personal trainers.
An early draft of the script, written by Jonathan Hensleigh in August 1997, had Bruce Banner performing experiments with gamma-irradiated insect DNA on convicts, transforming them into insect-men whom the Hulk then battles.
Danny Elfman's musical score pays homage to composer Bernard Herrmann's work with suspense director Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
Ang Lee's son designed the "hulk dogs" that attack the Hulk.
According to Ang Lee's DVD commentary, the dogfight scene in the woods was originally envisioned with the Hulk fighting the monster dogs while naked. However, this was thought to be too difficult for a PG-13 movie, and so the Hulk doesn't appear naked until the very end of the fight.
The helicopters that attack the Hulk in the desert are RAH-66 Comanches. The jets he fights near the Golden Gate Bridge are F/A-22 Raptors. At the time of the film's release, neither aircraft were in active service with any branch of the US military. The RAH-66 program has subsequently been scrapped (on 23 February 2004), with no helicopters ever entering active service.
Eric Bana was cast on the strength of his vicious performance in Chopper (2000).
The unit patch on Sam Elliott's uniform is that of the 1st Cavalry Division. This the same unit to which his character, SGM Basil Plumley, was assigned in 2002's "We Were Soldiers Once".
Nick Nolte was always the producers' first choice to play David Banner.
To show the cast where Hulk would be standing (after being added by CGI), a cardboard cutout was used. The cut-out was nicknamed "Elvis Presley on a stick" by the cast and crew.
Eric Bana was not a fan of the Hulk comics, which this film is based on, but he was a big fan of The Incredible Hulk (1978), which the sequel was based on.
Among the many writers who contributed to the film's screenplay were Michael France, John Turman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Zak Penn, J.J. Abrams, the partnership of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Michael Tolkin, David Hayter, and James Schamus. However, only France, Turman and Schamus received final credit, as their concepts primarily featured in the final film.
The Abrams tanks that confront the Hulk in the desert are in fact former British Army Chieftain tanks that were dressed to represent the Abrams. The mock-ups are very convincing and quite difficult to spot. The Chieftain has six wheels per side, whereas the Abrams has seven.
The graphic map of the military complex took three months to perfect.
One of the scenes deleted from the final cut was a cameo by Willie Brown, at the time the mayor of San Francisco, playing himself and talking to General Ross on the phone.
According to Michael France, he wrote the film's screenplay three times.
Mychael Danna was originally hired to write the musical score, but later replaced by Danny Elfman.
The first production to be filmed in the Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest within the Sequoia National Forest, outside of Springville, CA.
In April 1997 Joe Johnston was going to direct the film, but dropped out of the project in July of that year to film October Sky (1999).


Stan Lee:  the creator of the Hulk (1962) appears as a security guard. Lee ad-libbed his lines.
Lou Ferrigno:  as a security guard. See also The Incredible Hulk (2008).

Director Trademark 

Ang Lee:  [outdoor settings]  The Hulk traveling in the desert.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Throughout the film, there are clues which foreshadow David Banner's climactic descent into villainous insanity:
  • David goes undercover as a janitor in his son's lab, a reference to Samuel Sterns, a janitor who became the Hulk's arch-nemesis The Leader;

  • David bombards himself with gamma radiation and takes on the properties of anything he touches, like the Absorbing Man, another enemy of the Hulk;

  • and David absorbs, and transforms into, a LOT of electrical energy in the film's final sequence, a homage to the classic Hulk villain Zzzax.

The Hulk doesn't show up in his full form until around 42 minutes into the movie.

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