Comic-Con Live: Marvel Panel - Incredible Hulk and Iron Man!
by Alex Billington
July 28, 2007
It's Saturday here at Comic-Con, the last big day, and the biggest panel of all of Comic-Con is just about ready to begin. The Marvel films panel, featuring looks at two of next year's most highly anticipated films: The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, is filling up Hall H to capacity quickly. Read onwards for all of the news and exciting coverage live from San Diego!
3:45PM - Heading back down to Hall H after a break to get ready to cover the most exciting panel of Comic-Con 07! Stay tuned…
4:01 - Back inside Hall H. It is way crowded, this is the panel to be at this year - stay tuned for our live coverage starting at 4:15!
4:20 - Eric Morro from IGN is up on stage to introduce the creative talent for Incredible Hulk: producers Gale Anne Hurd, Avi Arad, Marvel president of production Kevin Feige, director Louis Leterrier, Liv Tyler and Ed Norton. Unfortunately no footage because it's only been in production for 2 weeks.
The Incredible Hulk:
4:24 - Where does this fit in the established Hulk movie mythology? Feige: This is a part I, this is a beginning of a whole new Hulk saga. What's excited us most is launching into a new saga.
4:25 - Why another big screen Hulk? "Because he's the Hulk!" Gale: We have a Hulk who's not going to be 3 different sizes in this movie, I think everyone will be happy bout that. Louis just wrapped at 7AM this morning in Toronto and hopped down and therefore they don't have any footage.
4:26 - Concept art of the face of Hulk, a much darker green and gritty color, black hair, small yellow eyes, and a very mean and grungy look on his face, much different than the 2003 film.
4:27 - Asks Ed Norton about what more he is contributing? Ed Norton wrote the screenplay for the film! "I was a Marvel kid, I had subscriptions to a lot of the Marvel comics." Talking about his inspiration and interest in the original TV series. Statements:
It comes out of the tradition almost like Greek mythology, the notion of surpression of your inner demon. The whole idea of starting from scratch and reconceiving the story as a mythic saga was really appealing to me. I think lots of stories get retold, we made The Painted Veil last year, and that was the fourth film made of that novella, so something that's had as many incarnations as the Hulk has and as rich of a story as the Hulk has almost has limitless potential to reconceive it. I thought it was really an amazing opportunity to put our hands [on this]…
4:31 - For Liv, Betty Ross, what's your take on that character? She hasn't started filming yet but was a huge fan of the TV show when she was little. Like Edward was saying, there was so much humanity to it and something being said about what he [the Hulk] is going through. In this story we're basically looking for a cure for him.
4:32 - How are you going to push the envelope? Gale: We have a great story to tell. We have the technology now to have Hulk come to life.
4:33 - Open to public Q&A: for Edward, what differences or challenges have you come across so far with Hulk? Making an effects driven movie is a different thing for me. I've made a lot of low-fi tough characters, but not a lot of… I haven't done something that involves the interface between acting and effects that this does. I think one of the things that sold me on it kind of early was… one of the first questions I asked [at Marvel] was once the Hulk pops out, once this other half of this character emerges, does that take me out of the picture as an actor? As Gale was implying, there are a whole new set of technologies that change completely the degree in which an actor can integrate with the animation. That was really interesting to me because the notion of not having these two characters be split by me and a technologically created character and getting to play both halfs of it was a big part of me deciding to take part it in.
4:35 - How does it feel to play the Hulk? It's an honor, and it's kind of hilarious, and exciting. I will say, you make a choice to do something and you kind of have that feeling like 'you're going to have to run it by your friends eventually…' I was shocked at how excited people in my life who had no idea that I liked the Hulk were.
4:37 - Is there anyone else in Hollywood you would like the opportunity to work with? Ed: Liv was the last one, I'm done.
4:37 - Cute girl with an Arwyn costume and Liv was commenting saying "you look amazing." Question: do you take anything from your old roles when putting together Betty Ross? Answer: No, I'm always growing and learning from every experience…
4:38 - Captain America dressed guy asks if it will be an origin story, and origin story based off of the TV show or comic book? Ed: I don't like the word origin story, because that sometimes implies you start at the very beginning. I think that the art of telling a story well is answering those questions, explaining those histories, not necessarily by front-loading all of it. I don't always just want them to race through that origin and get onto the story because it seems like obligatory, like you're hussling through it. So one of the first things we talked about was let's grapple with what our own version of the history in this story is, but spool it out and artful way throughout the story. I certainly wouldn't say this film is certainly rooted in the television show at all. The fun in this was not to remake anything, but to just "spin our own sort of fantasy" between the interface of all these things. Many characters have nothing to do with the television show but are deeply rooted in the comics like Leonard Sampson…
4:41 - Louis: It was really for me a mix of the TV show, the comic books, the old and new. I don't think that you guys want to see a film version of the comic books, so Edward [worked] very hard to come up with an original story. Our story has 350 scenes, so we really have a lot of understanding of who this character is, and what he's been through and where he is.
Ed: Part of the fun of this for me is… like the super soldier sereum in the Captain America series and part of it was referencing other things in the Hulk universe.
4:43 - Last question: Will there be a dedication to Bill Bicksbee (from the TV show) after the credits? There definitely will be a respect for him. Look for lots of easter eggs and homages. Homages are French for stealing ideas from American films and not getting sued for it.
4:44 - That's all for now, time for Iron Man!
4:45 - Bringing out the creative team: director Jon Favreau, who introduces the cast. "He can't wait to play War Machine if this franchise goes on…" - Terrence Howard, as well as Gwenyth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr!
4:47 - Everyone's first Comic-Con… except Robert Downey Jr, who was making jokes.
4:47 - Asks to show the footage again, saying no one has seen it because Jon has been screaming at them for 75 days, and showing the footage that was cut together specifically for Comic-Con. It's 4 minutes long, too much to explain each scene, so I will have my feedback after seeing it again for the third time.
4:52 - Absolutely amazing! This definitely looks like it will be INCREDIBLE! The footage really shows that there is going to be a lot visual excellence to it, purely because most of what they showed did not have any digital effects added. Besides the flying scenes where Iron Man is flying in the Mark III armor with two fighter jets behind him, all of the fighting scenes (in the Mark I armor and with Iron Monger) are all practical effects. I really think this could be the next big franchise and could be the Transformers of Summer 2008.
4:53 - Where are things at with the production? We've finished, wrapped photography, fortunately because we use so many practicaly effects… The suit was designed by our team, they built the suits, except for the flying shots, is all practical photography. We're now pulling it together and working to pull the CGI stuff together.
4:54 - What was it like the first time you put the suit on? I said I want to do it as many times as possible until I saw the stuntman… The whole experience was great and being able to work under Jon's direction and the whole team was fantastic.
4:55 - What was it about Pepper Potts that attracted you to her? Gwyneth: I love the dynamic between Pepper and Tony and the fact that Robert was playing Tony I thought was so incredible and he's always been one of my favorite actors and somebody I've wanted to work with. And when I understood the dynamic and realized it was a chance to have fun and be in a movie like this, I was incredibly honored to join and be a part of it.
4:56 - For Terrence, talk about working in a comic book movie? Jokes "you mean a movie with a budget? That ain't funny…" Every script is a comic book, you've got to remember that, every act is a play. It was the most fun I've ever had on a film. That one person that's able to be themselves no matter who is around is great, so as an actor I'm learning from these two (Robert and Gwyneth). I went in to this film with a lot more respect and trepidation than any other film.
4:58 - Kevin Feige: He's one of our best characters, and he is a well known character and certainly will be next summer.
Avi Arad: I thought Iron Man was incredibly well known, and it doesn't sound like they were coming in to make an unknown character. It used to be a very difficult movie to make and we had to wait for the right time for the right technology, the right cast.
4:59 - Open to public Q&A: For Robert, has the kind of past that you have had been difficult for you to get these roles like Iron Man? Answer: I think there's a destiny to everything, and if I'm not mistaken, I think Terrence was the first one cast and he was a big component in me getting this part and I'd like to thank everyone on this panel as well.
Jon: Because of the genre of the film and because it's Marvel's first film (basically it's really a big independent movie), they've shown that it could be succesful at the box office without having a big name drive it. Being allowed to cast the movie as an independent film as a filmmaker I was able to cast the movie no matter whether it was independent or a big budget movie. Jon just wants to make the best movie possible, that's why they have this cast.
5:01 - Are there any other bands that you've signed for the soundtrack? They're not to that point, but Jon thinks about the heavy metal in the animated movie, "and I think you'd need some heavy guitars, and Iron Man is rock n roll when you get down to business." There are couple of ideas, but we still have about 10 months to go.
5:02 - What kind of background research did they do? Robert says Gwyneth was his personal assistant. "What do you got Paltrow?" She says she sits and listens to music and studies the script and "nerds out."
5:05 - Jon introduces the one-and-only Stan Lee who has a "small part" and asks if we don't mind if he sits in.
5:06 - Stan's explaining how he got on the stage and saying this is great and he's working with the top people in the movie business to make Iron Man and "wow!"
5:06 - Back to the Q&A: For Robert - how many of the original comic books did you read, and did you read current stuff or originals that Stan wrote? Answer: I didn't have any fear about filling this character's shoes, so I just posted up at the production office and sponged up as much as I could. Robert talking about taking Stan Lee to lunch.
Stan: Says he is the "biggest name dropped in the business." Talking about how he was at lunch with him and when he made the reservations with Robert Downey Jr and the "booth they gave us" when he said his name. "I told you when I met you, I don't like to be topped."
5:09 - Q&A: There's so much history with Iron Man… Jon Favreau interjects: How far could you push a person in a direction and still make him empathetic to the public, that's Iron Man.
Stan: If we had a writer like Jon Favreau at Marvel years ago, it wouldn't have taken us as long to overcome DC, it would've been done faster. Audience "oooohs." He understands the characters, he understands the medium… I mean, we can't miss.
5:11 - Asking about a movie with all the Marvel superheroes like the Avengers? Kevin asks if they would want to see that? Audience cheers. "That's the plan…" It's in the work, eventually.
5:12 - Audience wants to see the trailer yet again, cheers, they show it again one last time!
5:17 - Finishing the Paramount panel, awesome footage yet again - looks fantastic, should be incredible!