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@ THE MOVIES
Stan Lee Pumped Over Return Of 'Incredible Hulk'
Legendary Marvel Comics Creator Has Cameo Turn In Film
POSTED: 11:58 am PDT June 11, 2008
Let's face it: no superhero movie based on a Stan Lee Marvel comic book wouldn't be a smash hit without a cameo appearance of "Stan the Man." Whether it be the playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) calls "Hef" in "Iron Man" or his super-charged turn in "The Incredible Hulk," the appearance of Lee on-screen -- no matter how big or small -- is certain to inspire applause from the audience."I was very upset with (director) Louis Leterrier about it because I only say one syllable -- the only thing I say is 'Wow,'" Lee joked in an @ The Movies interview Tuesday. "I wanted to stretch the role, so when I first said the line, I said, 'Wooowww,' and Louis said, 'No, Stan, a simple 'wow' will suffice.'"At 85, the POW! Entertainment chief is clearly having the time of his life. He's served as executive producer of all (and cameo actor in nearly every one) Marvel-based movies produced since 2000 -- and for the uninitiated, that includes such hits as "Iron Man," the "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" trilogies, "Daredevil," "Fantastic Four" and its sequel "Rise of the Silver Surfer," and the 2003 version of "The Hulk."
The latest "The Incredible Hulk" is unique in that the film is a reboot of the franchise after the disappointing reaction by fans to first film "Hulk," a layered examination of the character's origins. As the second offering from the newly established Marvel Studios after "Iron Man" in May, "The Incredible Hulk," under the fast-paced direction of "The Transporter" director Leterrier, draws inspiration from the "Hulk" comic book stories and classic, 1970s "The Incredible Hulk" television series.With the reboot of franchise comes a whole new slate of actors, too: Edward Norton stars as the Hulk's human persona, Dr. Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler is Banner's ex-love and colleague Betty Ross, William Hurt is Banner's adversary, Gen. Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, and Tim Roth is Special Ops officer Emil Blonsky -- a diehard soldier who goes to extreme lengths to become the Hulk's enemy, The Abomination.The cast wouldn't be complete, however, without the television Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, who appears in a cameo and also voices the computer-generated version of the title character for the new Incredible Hulk.
"He had an even bigger cameo than I did," Lee said with a chuckle. "I think it made him very happy and I'm glad. He's one of the nicest men you'll ever meet. He's a real gentle giant, so I'm glad that the filmmakers saw it fit to give him that nice shot." Ferrigno's cameo appearance, appropriately, came in a scene with Norton, a sort of passing of the torch moment that signaled a new day for the Hulk and Banner, first realized by Bill Bixby. Lee said that he was impressed with Norton's performance in the film, saying that he was relatable to Banner in the same way Bixby was in "The Incredible Hulk" series."I think that Norton made a perfect Banner. The women liked him, the men liked him and I think even the Hulk liked him," Lee said with a laugh.Co-created by Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the Hulk's first appearance came in 1962. Lee said that the Hulk was inspired by the classic big-screen version of Frankenstein's monster, a character perceived largely as bad even though he's really a just creature that is misunderstood.But there's no second-guessing the evil intentions of The Abomination -- a nemesis Lee and artist Gil Kane introduced to Hulk comic book readers in 1967."I had made up so many villains for the Hulk, but most of them were people who had some sort of weapon or trap for him," Lee recalled. "Finally, I figured I needed to get a villain who was more powerful than he is to see what happens. I just thought of the name, 'The Abomination' because I knew nobody had used it before and told the artist, 'Just make him bigger and stronger than the Hulk and we'll have a lot of fun with him.'" Lee said that he still gets a kick out of the re-interpretation of his characters' looks when they hit the big screen, even when they are different than the original comic book concepts like The Abomination -- whose menacing features have evolved to include a protruding spine and rib cage."I thought he looked pretty good, because if you're going to call him 'The Abomination,' he better look pretty abominable," Lee laughed.As for the big-screen upgrade of his mean, green baby, Lee said he "loved it.""They couldn't have done a better job on the Hulk -- he looked real," Lee observed. "He looked like he was flesh and blood -- it's just that he happens to be green flesh and blood and very big."But some things made it into the film that can't be improved upon, like the incredibly cool phrase, "Hulk smash!""It just seemed to me when I wrote it that it would be the right thing to say," Lee said. "I don't think he would have used a big vocabulary, saying something like, 'I think this is the opportune moment to strike back at my foe,' he'd say 'Hulk smash!' It seems like the only thing to say."
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