Inspired choice to direct THE INCREDIBLE HULK

To bring this new chapter in the saga of Bruce Banner and his green-skinned alter ego to the big screen, the producers began their search for a director who shared their vision for a new path for the franchise. The search quickly ended after they met with French filmmaker Louis Leterrier, best known for the action-packed films that launched the career of international action star Jason Statham, Transporter and Transporter 2, as well as the critically acclaimed martial-arts film Unleashed, starring Jet Li, Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman. It was apparent from the first meeting with the inexhaustible Leterrier that he was an invigorating, inspired choice to direct THE INCREDIBLE HULK. “From the beginning, we all agreed that Louis was a natural fit,” says Hurd. “It was obvious from his previous films that he had a great sense for tremendous action and stylish camera work, but when we met him, we realized that he shared our passion for the genre. He really, really loved these characters.”

“Louis has the unbridled enthusiasm you want in a filmmaker to get the tone of the fun, exciting, heroic action that The Hulk is all about,” states Feige. “He came to us with a vision for how he wanted the film to look. His ideas and what he brought forth to us in storyboards and concept designs just blew us away. He is a superb visualist who understands the importance of combining a well-developed character storyline with incredible action and fun. Where The Hulk goes, action and chaos follow, and Louis completely gets ‘Hulk Smash.’”

Adds producer Avi Arad, “Louis really understands the depth of the character of The Hulk, as well as the tradition the character is steeped in. And being French, he claims the love story comes naturally to him.”

Leterrier, who grew up in Paris where Marvel Comics were not readily available, tells that his love of The Hulk stems from the ’70s television series. “Being French, I was not so exposed as a young kid to comic books, basically because we had only the French and Belgian comics,” he says. “But the TV show was huge in France, and that shaped my strongest memories of The Hulk.”

Like all fans, Leterrier loved the energy and the action of the series, but it was Bill Bixby’s take on a man with deep internal conflict and the dilemmas his power posed that struck home. The director notes: “Bixby’s portrayal of this character was so emotional and lovable as he tried to befriend people and re-create a new life every episode. Every time he was creating the foundation of a new life, the foundation was broken when The Hulk appeared.”

For the same reason he was drawn to his other films, Leterrier admits he loves protagonists who don’t fit a stock mold: “Bruce Banner is an antihero. He doesn’t want this power, but he knows he can’t give it up, because if he gives it to someone else they would harvest it to create evil. That’s the whole journey of this character; it’s a journey of acceptance. Every one of us has anger built inside. Some control it better than others. Banner understands that anger can easily be transformed into courage.”

As the origin story had already been told on screen, Leterrier was ready to enter Banner’s story mid-action, not at the point at which the physicist is irradiated and discovers his powers. He was also eager to make use of recent technological achievements to help him tell the story. Adds the filmmaker: “It’s an amazing thing to be given the opportunity to tell this story with all the technology we have today. The Hulk has such a rich tradition for me to draw on. We’ve got a great story, and we’ve got the action, the excitement and the rush that people associate with The Hulk. Our Hulk is definitely a hero, and our Hulk smashes!”

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