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Hulk (2003) Poster

(2003)

Trivia

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.
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Jump to: Cameo (2) | Spoilers (1)
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 12,996 texture maps, and required 1,165 muscle movements and one hundred layers of skin. It took the combined work and efforts of about one hundred eighty ILM technicians (sixty-nine technical artists, forty-one animators, thirty-five compositors, ten muscle action animators, nine CG modellers, eight supervisors, six skin painters and five motion-capture wranglers), over two and a half million hours, and one and a half years for him to be effectively created and portrayed in the film. With all of that work, some of the public complained that the Hulk looked too fake, comparing him with Shrek (2001).
A lot of the microbiology work we see on-screen is real, and is the work of Director Ang Lee's wife.
According to the animators at Industrial Light & Magic, the Hulk weighs 3,452 pounds (1,565.8 kilograms), and can exert fourteen tons of pressure per square inch. His skin is ten times as strong as Kevlar. His chest measures seventeen feet and four inches (5.3 meters), his waist twelve feet and ten inches (3.3 meters), his foot four feet and three inches (1.3 meters), and his neck six feet and nine inches (2 meters). If he wore shoes, they would be (U.S.) size eighty-seven. He can move at a top speed of three hundred miles (four hundred eighty-three kilometers) per hour, and cross three to four miles (4.8 to 6.4 kilometers) in a single jump.
Edward Norton was approached to play Bruce Banner, but turned it down, as, despite being a fan of the Hulk, he didn't like the script. He later accepted the role in The Incredible Hulk (2008).
This film holds the record for largest second weekend box-office drop for a film that opened at number one, with a 69.7 percent drop.
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 performed the Hulk using motion-capture technology.
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 transformation, and by the time of its completion, he was on the verge of collapse.
In this movie, the madder the Hulk gets, the larger he becomes. The first time he appears, he is nine feet (2.7 meters) tall, the second time, he is twelve feet (3.6 meters) tall, and the third time, he is fifteen feet (4.5 meters) tall. His skin would also be colored grayish-green in his first appearance, and afterwards remain greenish. The ILM animators thus had to create three distinctly different Hulks.
The amount of CGI involved in the Hulk's battle against the three mutant dogs was one of the hardest, most complicated scenes ILM had ever done. Ultimately, what ended up on-screen was only one third of what was originally storyboarded. To have filmed all of it would have been simply too expensive.
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.
The film was in development for twelve years, sufficient time for CGI to become sophisticated enough to render the visual effects needed.
Eric Bana commented that the mood during shooting was "ridiculously serious and morbid." Director 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 & Magic studios. Ironically, the film was criticized 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.
Sam Elliot accepted the role of General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" 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 in which he works. When he lifts the gamma sphere onto his back and shoulders, the Hulk poses for a brief moment like the Greek mythological figure Atlas; who holds the sphere of the earth on his back and shoulders. This is a nod towards the name of the location of the actual gamma sphere, which exists, in real-life, in A.T.L.A.S. (Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator) at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois.
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.
It was decided to withhold showing the Hulk in daylight until much later into the film, giving the audience the chance to get used to seeing him.
This film was rebooted as The Incredible Hulk (2008) with the intention of the character fitting within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, as Marvel has the production rights to make a film with the Hulk, Universal Pictures still maintains distribution rights to any film starring the character in his own solo film. Thus, The Incredible Hulk was produced by Marvel Studios, but Universal Pictures distributed it.
The house used by Betty Ross was also used in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
Billy Crudup turned down the role of Bruce Banner. Also considered were Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Jeff Goldblum, David Duchovny, and Steve Buscemi.
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 and Mr. Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, and Faust; and most particularly Greek mythological tragedies.
Ang Lee's son designed the "hulk dogs" that attack the Hulk.
When the first transformation of Banner into Hulk occurs, the color of the Hulk is either gray or greenish-gray. This is an homage to the first appearance of the 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 transformation, he maintains his prominent emerald hue.
Bruce's dreams are primarily colored green and purple, the distinctive colors of the Hulk, who has green skin and wears purple pants.
When the project was in the works in the mid 1990s Johnny Depp was originally the top choice to play Bruce Banner. Later on, Billy Crudup was Ang Lee's first choice to play Banner, but he declined the offer. Then Tom Cruise was offered the role of Bruce Banner, and then Steve Buscemi, David Duchovny and Jeff Goldblum were screentested for the role.
During production in San Francisco, California, 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 cast members on-set. It took about two hours to round up all of the students.
To prepare for his role as General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" 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.
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.
When General Ross heads towards San Francisco to intercept the Hulk, his helicopter is code-named "T-Bolt". This is an homage to Ross' nickname "Thunderbolt" (for his explosive temper) in the comics.
The Hulk doesn't show up in his full form until around forty-two minutes into the movie.
One of the rules that the Costume Design team were set was "no lab coats".
In the scene where Betty goes to David Banner's house to inquire about Bruce, there is a brief shot of a reptile in an aquarium, a gila monster. This is a nod towards The Incredible Hulk (1978) season one, episode nine, "The Incredible Shrinking Hulk", in which a laboratory accident shrinks Bruce down to a minute size. He then transforms into the Hulk and ventures across the desert, where he encounters and does battle with a gila monster that, compared to his miniature size, is gigantic.
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.
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 gamma sphere in the film actually exists, located in A.T.L.A.S. (Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator) at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois. However, it has no gamma-generating capabilities.
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.
Nick Nolte was always the producers' first choice to play David Banner.
Eric Bana was cast on the strength of his vicious performance in Chopper (2000).
Danny Elfman's musical score pays homage to Composer Bernard Herrmann's work with suspense Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
A rollercoaster at Universal Studios theme park is based on this movie. This is especially noticeable when entering the cars of the ride. The platform is designed to look like the interior of the underground labs where Bruce Banner is taken to after being drugged. In the movie, after Talbot is killed, the Hulk escapes to a control room that he begins to destroy. General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross instructs one of the soldiers to light the tunnel to "Show him the way out". This control room and tunnel are the same design used on the rollercoaster, with the tunnel being the accelerating climb that begins the ride.
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). Johnston directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
Eric Bana was not a fan of the Hulk comics, on which this film is based, but he was a big fan of The Incredible Hulk (1978), on which The Incredible Hulk (2008) was based.
This movie was released ten years after the death of Bill Bixby. He was mostly remember for his portrayal of Doctor David Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk (1978), which ran from 1978 to 1982 (five seasons and three television movies). The character's name is actually Robert Bruce Banner, but was changed to one of his aliases for television.
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To show the cast where Hulk would be standing (after being added by CGI), a cardboard cut-out was used. The cut-out was nicknamed "Elvis Presley on a stick" by the cast and crew.
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.
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 U.S. Military. The RAH-66 program has subsequently been scrapped (on February 23, 2004), with no helicopters ever entering active service.
Nick Nolte compared his character to King Lear, who felt betrayed by the world.
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Eric Bana said that working with Nick Nolte was the best part of being in the film: "He was quite literally one of my favorite actors of all time."
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The graphic map of the military complex took three months to perfect.
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 unit patch on General Ross' (Sam Elliott's) uniform is that of the 7th Cavalry Division. This the same unit to which his character, Sergeant Major Basil Plumley, was assigned in We Were Soldiers (2002).
Ang Lee credits the film for preparing him for the computer graphics in Life of Pi (2012).
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The frog is fake. The crew pumped air into it to make it look like it was breathing.
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Sam Elliott was in another Marvel film, Ghost Rider (2007).
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Betty Ross was played in this film by Jennifer Connelly. In The Incredible Hulk (2008), she was replaced by Liv Tyler, who played her on-screen sister in Inventing the Abbotts (1997).
Mychael Danna was originally hired to write the musical score, but later replaced by Danny Elfman.
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Nick Nolte lost his voice while filming his showdown scene. They had to stop shooting so he could recover.
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Nick Nolte agreed to be in the film after Ang Lee said he wanted it be like a Greek tragedy.
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One of the scenes deleted from the final cut was a cameo by then-Mayor Willie Brown, of San Francisco, playing himself and talking to General Ross on the phone.
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According to Michael France, he wrote the film's screenplay three times.
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The first production to be filmed in the Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest within the Sequoia National Forest, outside of Springville, California.
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Eric Bana (Bruce Banner) and Sam Elliott (General Ross) share a birthday of August 9.
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Since Hulk was all computer graphics, Jennifer Connelly was acting opposite a cardboard head on a stick.
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This is the first Marvel movie that has shown nudity in some manner. The other Marvel movies are Blade: Trinity (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), The Incredible Hulk (2008), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Deadpool (2016), and Logan (2017).
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This was Jennifer Connelly's second comic book movie. The first was The Rocketeer (1991).
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For the dog fight scene, they put a trainer and his dog in motion-capture suits.
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According to Producer and co-Writer James Schamus, Nick Nolte would talk about philosophy for hours on-set.
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Hulk started all of the intense superhero films that continued with Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), Watchmen (2009), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Fantastic Four (2015), Suicide Squad (2016), and Logan (2017). However, this movie did not get enough credit, due to the mixed signals during 2003.
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Nick Nolte and Bill Bixby, star of The Incredible Hulk (1978), appeared in Rich Man, Poor Man (1976).
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Ang Lee turned down Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) to direct this film.
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The storage units and town were built just for this movie in Victorville, California.
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Eric Bana was "anxious and paranoid about doing a good job as Bruce, and I knew that the rest was out of my hands, and I was quite comfortable with that."
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Nick Nolte took this role to "explore the darkness" with Ang Lee.
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Ang Lee was asked to direct after the huge success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
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Ang Lee said that the opening montage is like an overture to an opera.
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Sam Elliott wanted to shave off his mustache, because "four-star Generals don't have mustaches." Ang Lee insisted on keeping it, because General Ross wore one in the comics.
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Eric Bana said that working on the film was tough "because the character undergoes so much soul-searching. That uncertainty is very much part of Bruce Banner's dilemma."
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Eric Bana said that his scenes with Nick Nolte were the most traumatic, but also the most fun.
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The look of Betty's house was inspired by William Morris, a nineteenth century illustrator. Morris helped establish the modern fantasy genre. His work inspired J.R.R. Tolkien.
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The helicopters were made with computer graphics, but based on military designs.
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Hulk's face was modelled after a few different people, including Director Ang Lee, Eric Bana, and Jennifer Connelly.
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Computer animators studied bodybuilders for the look of Hulk's muscles. They created 1,165 different muscles for him.
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The computer graphic of the underground base took three months to make. The bunker was built at Universal Studios, Burbank, California, on the seventh largest soundstage in the world.
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At the time, the "gamma dogs" were some of the most complex creatures Industrial Light & Magic had made. The poodle alone had one and a half million hairs.
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Ang Lee called this his "new Green Destiny". That's the sword in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
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The Hulk was originally supposed to be an animatronic.
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After the Hulk knocks out Talbot and leaps away, the Hulk creates a ripple in a puddle next to Talbot. According to Ang Lee, this was an homage to Jurassic Park (1993), which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Eric Bana (Bruce Banner) worked with Spielberg in Munich (2005).
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Josh Lucas and Jennifer Connelly both starred in the film A Beautiful Mind.
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DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Ang Lee): [outdoor settings]: The Hulk travelling in the desert.
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Sam Elliott felt his performance was similar to his portrayal of Basil L. Plumley in We Were Soldiers (2002).
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Cinematographer Frederick Elmes worked on The Ice Storm (1997) with Ang Lee.
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Cameo 

Lou Ferrigno: (At around twelve minutes) As a security guard.
Stan Lee: (At around twelve minutes) The creator of the Hulk (1962) appeared as a security guard. Lee ad-libbed his lines.

Spoilers 

The trivia item 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 archnemesis, "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; David absorbs, and transforms into, a LOT of electrical energy in the film's final sequence, an homage to the classic Hulk villain Zzzax.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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