Taking Hulk to the audiovisual field is not as simple as it seems. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created this character, they wanted to combine the fragility and Doctor Banner’s mind with him muscular and irrational monster of his alter ego. When taking that concept to the big screen (or a simple television series), do the casting perfect is key to making the Hulk work. Today we will review all actors who have played the Hulk from its origins to the present day.
Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno
The Hulk’s first audiovisual appearance It was in 1977 in a television series called The Incredible Hulk. Unlike now, when the same actor is usually used to play both characters, at this time it was decided to use two different actors. On the one hand, we had Bill bixby, who played Doctor David Bruce Banner (he was called Dr. David Banner at this time) and on the other hand, Lou ferrigno took control when Banner transformed into the Hulk.
Bixby had gained great popularity and fame due to various performances it had previously performed on other television series. On the other hand, Ferrigno was a bodybuilder who carried several trophies behind him, as well as a victory in Mister America and Mister Universe. He was almost six feet tall, and once characterized as the Hulk, he was able to convey the character’s monstrous animal instinct with great ease.
The duo of Bixby and Ferrigno extended during more than a decade. The two worked together on several television movies that grew out of the series, as well as new episodes of it. Unfortunately, Bixby became seriously ill in the early 1990s when he was going to reprise the role of Banner on the television series. The actor also had to paralyze the deal he had made with ABC for the production of the fifth Hulk film – which we suspect had something to do with the one we would end up seeing in 2003 -. Bill Bixby was forced to leave the world of acting in 1992, and would pass away a year later from his illness.
In 2003, the Hulk, directed by Ang Lee, hit the big screen. The movie had very mixed reviews, and although they had little to do with Bana’s performance, since what was lacking in this installment was probably a script issue. The film did good numbers at the box office, and although Bana’s Hulk would eventually be dwarfed by Norton’s just five years later, both feature films grossed about the same.
This version of Hulk stood out for being the first time it would be done use of CGI technique for the interpretation of the green mutant. Quite a few special effects were used, although the criticism was primed in the lack of action From the movie, that too much introspection was done on Banner and a bit sidelined to his transformation.
Despite the criticism of the film’s script, the most surprising thing is that work began as early as 1990, which shows that the role is not that it was little worked, but that the dramatic vision With which the character was approached, he did not finish convincing the entire public.
Norton was commissioned to play Bruce Banner in The incredible Hulk, released in 2008. Marvel, now Marvel Studios, had once again taken over the rights to the green character. The criticism this time was good to Norton. The movie was entertaining, Edward played a great role, very at the height of his quality as an actor and the film was raised correctly. It was a reboot, in such a way that it became a clean slate, completely leaving the plot developed in the 2003 film in a no-man’s-land.
The intention of Marvel Studios was keep Edward Norton as Hulk for the later films of The Avengers. However, after the film’s release, several producers complained about Norton’s attitude. The actor apparently got too involved in the character, invading the territory of producers and screenwriters. He even insisted on rewriting the script himself. The friction reached such a point that Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, would end up announcing that the project would continue, but without Norton.
The decision was controversial, since Feige in his statement wanted to remove iron from the matter by stating that they needed an actor to collaborate more with the team and other members of the cast. Norton, for his part, said that his vision of the hulk (of which I was a big fan since I was little) it was dark, very similar to what Nolan had done with Batman. In the words of the actor, his disputes, along with the salary he asked for re-embodying Mass they were more than enough for Marvel to give him the folder. Despite this, Feige has always said that they did not do without Norton because of a mere financial decision. What is clear is that did not feel comfortable working with him.
The relief of Norton would take Mark Ruffalo, and no one would imagine that he would adapt so well to the character. His first performance was in The Avengers, in 2012. Currently, Ruffalo has played the Hulk a total of 5 times, even though he still has not had a film In solitary. The closest thing to this that we could see was in Thor: Ragnarok, where his role is vital and the character shines for the first time since 2008.
For many, Mark Ruffalo is the perfect actor for this character, as he manages to convey both the brilliance of Bruce Banner and the clumsiness of the Hulk. His interpretation of the green mutant also matches the brightest time of his professional career, as it overlaps with two Oscar nominations, three Emmy nominations (of which he would end up taking two awards) and three BAFTA nominations.
The entry All the actors who have given life to the Hulk was first published in The Output.