Stephen Yarish is a life-long fan of the Hulk who recently had the opportunity to attend the Hollywood premiere of "The Incredible Hulk." What follows is his first person account of the experience. By Stephen Yarish Previously in the life of an Incredible Hulk fan… Got a chance to meet Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard, two producers on the "Incredible Hulk" movie, last year. A month or so before the movie, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask if there was any way to go the official Hollywood premiere. You never know until you ask, right? Fired off an e-mail to them asking the huge request. May 28, 2008 On a business trip to Chicago and sitting in the hotel watching bad TV. Checked my home e-mail from the computer and was surprised to see an e-mail from Stephen Broussard. Was surprised and excited to read that I was going to get an invitation to the premiere!! The next e-mail was from a person at Marvel with a copy of the official invitation! Yes!!!! The invitation said to call and RSVP as soon as possible as seating was limited. I think I heard a sonic boom go off by how fast my hand went for the phone. June 4, 2008 Wife told me she would not be able to make it to the premiere with me. Bummer. Well, my friend Bruno lives in L.A. and he is a huge Hulk fan like me so I am sure he would be happy to go see the movie in her place. June 5, 2008 Needless to say, Bruno is psyched to go to the premiere.
June 8, 2008
Got up and got on the plane to make the long voyage from Raleigh, North Carolina to Burbank, California. Bruno picked me up about noon but the pre-premier party did not start until four in the afternoon. Convinced Bruno to get the Sega "Incredible Hulk" game for his Wii and we played that for a couple hours to get into a Hulk mood! The invitation said it was casual dress as there was going to be light food and drink an hour before the screening. Wore a button shirt and dress pants but of course I had a black Hulk t-shirt on underneath. Had to do something to represent.
Made it to Universal Studios, got the two tickets at Will Call and headed to the Gibson Theater. Instead of a red carpet, they had a green carpet. How cool is that! They had the carpet split in half for the movie stars to walk down one side near the photographers and the people like me to walk down the other side. Not one photographer took my picture. Guess they didn't know the world's biggest obsessive/compulsive Hulk fan was walking the carpet. As we started to walk down the carpet, we saw the director Louis Leterrier talking to some reporters and getting his picture taken. Saw some other actors getting their pictures taken further down the carpet and also a little set-up for TV interviews. I imagine that relatively short walk can take a long time for the actors.
Followed the green carpet, went through the metal detector and finally made it to the Gibson Theater. Universal had a really nice set-up with lots of food and drinks outside for everyone. There were sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, chips and huge cookies and plenty of places to sit and just watch all the people there who came to see the movie. Recognized some more actors just walking around, like Seth Green from "Robot Chicken."
Bruno and I walked around trying to see if there was anyone else we recognized when someone called my name. Stephen Broussard was standing right in front of me and he actually recognized me even though I had only met him once a little less than a year ago. Cool! Steve introduced me to his girlfriend and mother and I thanked him again for getting me the invitation. We talked for a few minutes and we walked on, didn't want to take up all of Stephen's time. We ended up running into Kevin Feige who also remembered me (man, maybe I'm funny looking or something). We were talking with Kevin when Zak Penn, the script writer for the movie, walked up and I got introduced to him. It was cool just to be around all these people who helped bring the "Incredible Hulk" movie into existence. Never in my life did I think I would have the opportunity to talk to the producers and the writer of an "Incredible Hulk" movie. It was a little overwhelming, at least for me who doesn't live in L.A. and get to experience things like this.
It was finally time and they announced everyone should take their seats because the movie was going to start soon. Went into the theater and saw some people carrying little bags of popcorn with the Hulk's image on it. Well of course we had to track those down, had to get that for the collection. We went to our seats and watched all the other people making their way in. Recognized more actors from the movie, including Lou Ferrigno, walking around. He still looks pretty much the same as he did 20 years ago on the TV show. Even saw Jon Favreau, the director of "Iron Man," walking down the aisle. Nice to see him showing support for other Marvel movies. Bruno and I, as geeky as it was, high-fived each other, still not believing we were actually here.
The movie finally started (still can not believe I am at the "Incredible Hulk" premiere in Hollywood) and everyone quieted down. Throughout the movie, people were clapping and cheering at scene after scene. Have to admit, I let out some pretty loud hoots when I noticed some Easter eggs that were hidden in the movie. At the end, the whole crowd erupted into clapping. I couldn't help standing up and clapping. As a fan who has read the Incredible Hulk comics for 33 years and has watched the TV show episodes more times than I can count, this is definitely the movie I have been waiting for.
At the end, I saw Stephen and thanked him yet one more time for getting me the invitation to the movie. For him I am sure it was another premiere, but for me, it was the chance of a lifetime. We walked out of the theater into the lobby and saw Louis Leterrier talking to people who were congratulating him on the movie. Given what a great job he did, I went over and thanked him also. He was just a really nice, personable guy. A Universal rep stepped in and told Louis he was supposed to have gone out a different exit out the side with the other actors, probably for more pictures or something. Louis just noted it and then went on talking to some other regular people like me who had gotten in to see the movie. It was pretty obvious that Louis was really happy just talking to the people he made the movie for, the fans like Bruno and myself. Have to say I was pretty impressed with that.
Bruno dropped me off at the airport and I took the red eye back home to North Carolina (have to work on Monday, what can you do). I don't know how many people I talked to about the event and how fun it was. As a huge Hulk fan, this goes down as one of the coolest things I have ever done. I kept the ticket from the premiere and put it proudly on a shelf with some other Hulk memorabilia I have. That ticket is going to bring back a lot of memories for a long time to come.
Need to catch up on your Hulk reading? Looking for the perfect stories starring the Jade Giant? Check out our list of the 10 Collections marked as required reading by any Hulk fan! Read classic Hulk stories in Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Take pictures with a life-size Hulk statue at select theaters nationwide! Visit the official "The Incredible Hulk" movie site! Go see "The Incredible Hulk" at a theater near you now!