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Photos courtesy Universal Studios Home Entertainment
By Jim Beard
Few actors become as associated with a part as to create a long-standing legacy with fans and admirers. Lou Ferrigno represents one of those rare individuals.
Bill Bixby as David
Banner and Lou
Ferrigno as the Hulk
First breathing life into the character of the Hulk in the classic 1970s TV series "The Incredible Hulk," Ferrigno overcame adversity in his personal life to become a model of strength and tenacity. Winner of the prestigious Mr. Universe bodybuilding title for two consecutive years, he went on to score the role of everyone's favorite gamma-spawned goliath and will be forever more thought of in that role.
Ferrigno was more than proud to join the cast of this summer's blockbuster "The Incredible Hulk" feature film, finally giving voice to the creature— something he had not achieved during the run of his TV series.
Today we celebrate Lou and check in with him in advance of the October 21 DVD release of "The Incredible Hulk."
Marvel: Lou, take us through the process of how you became involved in this summer's "The Incredible Hulk."
Lou Ferrigno as
Well I ran into the director [Louis Leterrier] two years ago at Comic-Con and he expressed interest to me about him directing the film. And I told him, you know, I'd love to be involved with the film. And he wanted me to be involved, so a year later we joined forces.
Marvel: What was your initial reaction when they said they wanted you to be the voice of the Hulk in the film?
Well, I was on a [convention] panel in New York, and the director asked me to do the voice of the Hulk, which I did, and the audience went crazy, so, they asked me to come aboard. I was very impressed. I was very happy, because you know, nobody knows the character better than I. And that's like icing on the cake.
Marvel: We would imagine so! What would he have done if you had said no? He would have been in quite a spot…
I would never say no.
Marvel: When you went in to record the voice, what sort of direction were you given as far as how to deliver the lines? Did they just let you run with it?
as the Hulk
They let me run with it. What I worked with Lou the director on mainly was getting the projection out there. Because when you do a voice, especially with that screaming, yelling, I mean you want to sound like you're connected to the character.
It took two or three hours over and over. They liked the way I did it—just made sure that the timing was right with the character.
Marvel: And how did you feel when you first heard it back? Did you first hear it when you went to see the film, or did they give you a sneak preview?
Hulk's really just
a big softie
It's played back to you during the other taping and I was very impressed [with how it sounded].
Marvel: Any experiences to relate of meeting the cast during the filming?
I met William Hurt and Edward Norton, because when I arrived on the set, it was a closed set. And they kept it quiet because they didn't want to have crowds of people coming down to the set. So I flew to Canada and briefly I met Edward Norton and William Hurt. I was very excited, because Edward Norton was really into the film. He cared about the characters, so it gave me a chance to share with him some of my stories and I had a really great time working with him, because he's such a fine actor.
Marvel: Was it important to you that he thought so highly of the character, and wanted to, you know, bring a lot to it?
Yeah, it's not about a paycheck. It's not about another movie. Edward Norton, I think he was really fitted for the part.
Marvel: It's said of this film that the producers and the director really wanted to grab onto the mood of your Hulk TV series. Why do you think that is?
"Hulk help lady!"
They decided to go with the TV series, because it had the magic formula. And they continued that, because this movie they thought you're more connected with the Hulk. The first movie I thought the Hulk looked great, but there was not enough connection, and you didn't even know who he was.
Marvel: What one thing about this film emulated the TV series the most? What aspect of it?
Me being in the film, and also showing the Hulk being more sensitive. That was very important.
Marvel: The Hulk is essentially Bruce Banner's aggressions and anger personified. Why do you think then that the character is looked upon as a hero to many fans?
Hulk on the rampage
Because kids love power. The way he was built, the way I portrayed the TV series, they believed the monster was real, the character was real and he was a heroic figure. And he was about crime and evil, and it's about him being the good guy, saving people's lives. And the most important thing of all, the sensitivity and the power behind the character that I can portray.
Marvel: You've been associated with the Hulk for over 30 years now. What are your thoughts regarding being so closely related with such an iconic character?
Well, I've been the Hulk my whole life. What I created on the TV series, that electricity continued for 30 years because of the sensitivity and the connection with the character. And the way I portrayed it, it was it was embraced by the public. It was like it was an overnight sensation.
Marvel: That association with the Hulk covers film, television, animation and conventions. Which of those do you feel has made the greatest impact on you as a person and how?
The series. And I was able to keep the legacy going up for 30 years, because you know doing "The King of Queens," doing different films, and people identify me with my personal life and the character. But I kept the character alive and strong all these years. That's been the greatest impact.
Marvel: What do you think the late Bill Bixby would have thought about this continuing popularity and the way the fans have embraced and held onto your TV series?
Bill would have been happy [with it]. Because he had passed on, that's why I fought very hard to continue, continue the legacy, because we wanted to continue for at least another ten years or more, keep making those movies of the week with Bill directing it.
But I feel that this latest film, the new film, is taking us back in that direction. And I think Bill, if he were alive today, would have definitely been involved in the film as well. Also, I remember Ed Norton, when I met him, I told him how much he reminded me of Bill.
Marvel: We're sure that meant a lot to him.
Well when you're working with Ed Norton, you're working with one of the greatest actors of our generation. I mean, doing a scene with him, him doing it different every time. I've learned so much in just a short time. I really admire the guy because of his talent.
Marvel: Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
You know, I hope the legacy continues. I really believe they'll make another Hulk film, especially with what they're doing with the Avengers. I'll still be involved with it.
"The Incredible Hulk" DVD and Blu-ray on sale Tuesday, Oct. 21. Pre-order the "Incredible Hulk" DVD now in a three-disc special edition, a single-disc edition or an two-disc Blu-ray edition. And be sure to head over to the official "Incredible Hulk" movie site.
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