Hoping to recapture the magic of the original CBS series, Louis Leterrier, director of the new Incredible Hulk movie, invited the original Mr. Incredible, Lou Ferrigno, 56, to voice the big green machine and appear as a security guard alongside the new Hulk, Ed Norton. Ferrigno returns to the big screen in February playing himself in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel comedy I Love You, Man.
Q: What scenes in the film left you most nostalgic about your series?
A: The opening sequence with Ed in the (gamma ray) chair took me back 30 years. They have him say the famous, ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.’ And when I saw Ed watching Bill (Bixby) in (Bixby’s 1969-72 sitcom) The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
Q: Bill passed away in 1993 of prostate cancer at age 59. When was the last time you saw him?
A: He really didn’t want to see anybody. He was introverted then after his boy (6-year-old Christopher) died (in 1981) of an infection on a ski trip during the last season of The Hulk, and then his (first) wife (actress Brenda Benet) blew her brains out a year later. He was never the same. He came back to direct three Hulk TV movies, but the exciting part of him was gone.
Q: You provide the sounds for the Hulk in the movie. Did you speak on the series?
A: No, the growl was done by Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch on The Addams Family. I just recorded the voice for the film 2 1/2 months ago.
Q: The film gives another nod to the series by showing a gravestone marked Bruce David Banner. Why was the traditional Marvel Comics name Bruce changed to David for the series?
A: CBS felt that the name Bruce sounded too gayish, and they wanted David. I thought it was the most absurd, ridiculous thing I’d ever heard.
Q: Your Hulk fell from a plane to his death in the 1990 TV movie The Death of the Incredible Hulk. Did you and Bill Bixby discuss reviving your Hulk for the big screen?
A: No, but we were going to come back with The Revenge of the Hulk for TV before Bill got sick. The idea was that a scientist would find a blood cell that would bring him back to life as a super-intelligent being.
Q: How did you and Ed Norton get along?
A: I met him in his trailer. He was reading all these books about The Hulk. He reminds me a lot of Bill. They have the same intensity and connection to the character. We did our scene in about eight or nine takes. It was beautiful, like one Hulk to another.
Q: How does Ed’s Bruce Banner/Hulk differ from Eric Bana, who played the character in the 2003 film?
A: Eric Bana looks like he could put up a good fight, whereas Ed fits the weakish look of the character.
Q: Do you have any Hulk souvenirs?
A: I have the largest collection of Hulk memorabilia in the world — everything from toilet paper, wallpaper, bicycles — all boxed up at my house in Northern California. I’ve had it for so long I think it might be time to sell it.
Q: How long did it take to transform you into the Hulk?
A: Three hours, and I was forced to stay in a refrigerated motor home so I wouldn’t sweat. The hard contact lenses had to come out every 15 minutes. And the green wig was made of dyed yak hair.
Q: What do you think of Marvel’s plan to unite Iron Man, Hulk and other classic heroes on screen in The Avengers?
A: It’s great. I fought Thor in The Incredible Hulk Returns and Daredevil in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk . The Hulk, of course, won, and then they eventually teamed up. (From USA Today)