Louis Leterrier wanted Mark Ruffalo for the role of Bruce Banner, but Marvel insisted on Edward Norton. Ironically, Ruffalo would go on to replace Norton as Banner in future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
Although cut from the theatrical run, Captain America can be seen in the alternate beginning on the DVD and Blu-Ray. When the last piece of ice breaks up toward the screen, hit the pause button. There, frozen in the ice, lies Cap with his shield.
Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the first reappearance of William Hurt as General Thaddeus Ross since this film, an eight-year absence for his character. The Russo brothers, directing that film, wanted to incorporate Ross, as they felt that character had been forgotten a bit since this film.
(at around 1h 4 mins) After the Hulk appears at Culver University, two students are interviewed in the news, named Jack McGee and Jim Wilson. Jack McGee was a tabloid reporter who attempted to track down the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (1978) television series, and in the comics, Jim Wilson was a young orphan who befriended the Hulk.
(at around 4 mins) Near the beginning of the movie, when Banner is flipping channels on the television, one of the shows he stops on is The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969), which starred Bill Bixby, Bixby is seen on the screen for several seconds. Bixby played Dr. Banner in The Incredible Hulk (1978) television series.
(at around 1h 4 mins) Betty Ross buys Bruce some purple pants. In the comics, the Hulk is almost always seen wearing purple pants.
According to Tim Roth, Edward Norton re-wrote scenes every day. Norton and Liv Tyler also spent hours discussing their characters' lives (especially before the Hulk appeared).
In a deleted scene, Blonsky (Tim Roth) describes the Hulk to General Greller (Peter Mensah): "Eight foot, fifteen hundred pounds easy, and green. Or gray, sir. Greenish gray.. It was very dark, I couldn't tell." This is a reference to the Hulk being gray in his first comic appearance. Problems with the gray coloring in the first issue led to his skin color being changed to green.
Paul Soles, who portrays "Stanley", the owner of the pizza shop, provided the voice for Dr. Bruce Banner in the Hulk (1966) animated series. The character's name may also be another tribute to Hulk co-creator Stan Lee.
Originally, Abomination was going to return as a supporting antagonist in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), but he was cut.
Edward Norton, who had previously re-written films he starred in, wrote a draft of the script, which Louis Leterrier and Marvel Studios found satisfactory in establishing the film as a reboot of Hulk (2003). As Norton explained, "I don't think that in great literature and films, explaining the story's roots means it comes in the beginning. Audiences know the story, so we're dealing with it artfully." Norton's re-write added the character of Doc Samson, and mentioned references to other Marvel Comics characters. He also wanted to put in "revelations about what set the whole thing in motion" that would be explained in future installments.
(at around 7 mins) It took the visual effects artists over a year to construct a shot where Dr. Banner's gamma-irradiated blood falls through three factory stories into a bottle.
This is the only Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One film in which Nick Fury does not appear. However, his name appears in the opening credit montage at the 2:46 mark (on a S.H.I.E.L.D. page, with the text Nick Fury, Shield Command, Code RED, New York, NY 060564).
Edward Norton was cast as Bruce Banner on the recommendation of Lou Ferrigno, who had starred in The Incredible Hulk (1978). Ferrigno stated that Edward Norton reminded him of the late Bill Bixby, who acted beside him as Dr. David Bruce Banner. Norton, who is a big fan of the series, had also portrayed a similar character in Fight Club (1999).
Louis Leterrier insisted that Tim Roth, of whom he is a big fan, be cast as the film's main antagonist, even though Marvel Studios and Edward Norton were initially unsure of Roth as a supervillain. Leterrier later said, "It's great watching a normal Cockney boy become a superhero!"
Sam Elliott wanted to reprise his role as General Ross from Hulk (2003), but it was taken by William Hurt.
Stylistically, the filmmakers chose a darker shade of green from Hulk (2003), and decided to not make him as large. His size does not increase as he becomes further enraged, staying at a consistent height.
There are moments foreshadowing Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). First, there is a portrait of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, in General Ross' office. Next, a label can be seen on the storage tank reading: "Dr. Reinstein", the doctor who developed the Super-Soldier serum that made Rogers into the Captain (along with a radiation symbol and the words "vita-rays", hinting that the serum shouldn't be used without them). Louis Leterrier shot a scene where Banner encounters the Captain in the Arctic, but it was cut out of the main film. It is on the special features options of some DVD editions, however.
Edward Norton and Tim Roth filmed their Hulk-Abomination fights on a stage, using motion capture, and thirty-seven digital cameras. Roth enjoyed using the motion capture technique, because it reminded him of fringe theater.
The only film in Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One not to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, as Universal has had the rights to "The Incredible Hulk" since the television series, The Incredible Hulk (1978).
Norton wrote a part specifically for Michael Kenneth Williams, because he is a big fan of Williams' work on The Wire (2002).
The two stars of The Incredible Hulk (1978) have cameos: Bill Bixby is seen on television, in a clip from The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969), and Lou Ferrigno (who also voices the Hulk) portrays a security guard.
An earlier draft made The Abomination a composite character with Glenn Talbot, a different character from the comics, who was portrayed by Adrian Pasdar in the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), which is also a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Edward Norton, a big Hulk fan, initially turned down the lead, as he had concerns over how the film would turn out. Upon meeting Louis Leterrier and Marvel, and hearing their vision, he signed on.
In Germany, the film was cut for a more commercial "Not under 12" rating. However, these cuts were done so clumsily, that not only movie buffs, but also average movie goers, noticed them, which resulted in lots of complaints to theater owners. To apologize for this, some cinemas gave away free movie tickets to the complaining customers. Additionally, many cinemas, including some of Germany's largest cinema chains, included warning messages on their websites to raise awareness of the issue.
Edward Norton re-wrote the script substantially, and on certain posters, he was credited under the pseudonym of "Edward Harrison". Norton's writing credit was later denied by the WGA, and Zak Penn is the only writer credited.
The Hulk's look was based on comic book artist Dale Keown's drawings, where "The Hulk, being beyond perfect, has zero grams of fat, is all chiselled, and is defined by his muscle and strength, so he's like a tank."
In the comics, the Abomination possesses pointed ears. Louis Leterrier wanted this characteristic to appear in the film, but reasoned that the Hulk would bite them off (a la Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield), which was considered too intense for a PG-13 film.
Composer Craig Armstrong collaborated with Louis Leterrier to create the film's score. Marvel Studios were so pleased with the score, they decided to release it as a two-disc soundtrack.
William Hurt based his performance as General Ross on Captain Ahab, the obsessive captain who endlessly chased Moby Dick.
Producer Gale Anne Hurd called the film a "requel" because it's a bit of a reboot, and a bit of a sequel to Hulk (2003).
The visual effects experts based the Hulk and Abomination's movements on linebackers.
In addition to doing re-writes, Edward Norton directed himself in some of his own scenes too, such as the campus scenes, to save time, when Louis Leterrier was busy working with the Second Unit. This is mentioned on the Director's Commentary of the Blu-ray.
(at around 31 mins) In the market scene in Chiapas, the "Lonely Man" theme from The Incredible Hulk (1978) television series, which played whenever Dr. David Bruce Banner was on the road traveling from one place to another, is heard in the musical score.
Martin Starr has a brief appearance in the film as the Computer Nerd. Nine years later, Starr appears as a teacher in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). One theory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that Starr's character in this film is the younger version of his character in the latter film working on his degree.
Ray Stevenson was considered for the role of Emil Blonsky. He would later play Volstagg in the Thor films. Stevenson is no stranger to having portrayed a Marvel character, having starred as the Punisher in Punisher: War Zone (2008).
Bruce Banner's sidekick Rick Jones was present in early drafts, but ended up being removed, once Edward Norton re-wrote the script.
Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno are the only people that appeared in Hulk (2003) and this film.
Although Louis Leterrier liked Hulk (2003), he concurred with Marvel Studios that to continue the franchise, it would be better to deviate from Ang Lee's cerebral style from the first film, and focus on a more action-filled tone. He also believed that in keeping with Hulk's poetic feel, the visual effects were mostly "A fluorescent-green guy, who was simply flying around. He had no weight, and was too smooth-looking." So he wished to make the film's visual effects grittier and darker "and perhaps even a little scarier!"
(at around 1h 9 mins) When Bruce Banner e-mails Mr. Blue with his data, while Betty purchases the used truck, the e-mail is tracked through the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) database.
The military base, "Fort Johnson", is named after Kenneth Johnson; the writer, director, and producer of The Incredible Hulk (1978) television series.
Is the only one of the three films released in the summer of 2008, based on a comic book, that wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards. The others being The Dark Knight (2008), and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).
Visual effects supervisor Kurt Williams created special computer programs that controlled the inflation of muscles and saturation of skin color for the transformations (since Williams reasoned that skin color was influenced by emotions, like blushing for instance).
(at around 38 mins) Edward Norton's wife Shauna Robertson produced Knocked Up (2007), and he wished to have one of the stars of Knocked Up (2007) appear in a cameo as a computer nerd. The role was offered to Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, and Seth Rogen, before Martin Starr was eventually cast. Starr would later make an appearance as another character in Spider-Man: Homecoming, another Marvel Cinematic Universe film nine years later. Paul Rudd, another actor from Knocked Up (2007) would also later appear in the MCU as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Ant-Man (2015)
The Hulk, as portrayed in this film, was created through a blend of motion capture and key frame animation (by Rhythm & Hues). Hulk (2003)'s visual effects were carried out by Industrial Light & Magic, with Ang Lee providing motion-capture.
According to screenwriter Zak Penn, this film was more similar to comic book writer Bruce Jones's Hulk concepts, and The Incredible Hulk (1978) television series.
In 2003, James Schamus had written a treatment for a direct sequel to Hulk (2003) featuring the Grey Hulk, with The Leader, and The Abomination under consideration as the lead villain. However, Universal, at that time, owned the rights to making the film, and by the time the rights expired at the end of 2005, Marvel owned the movie production rights, with Universal only distributing it.
Louis Leterrier had been interested in directing Iron Man (2008), but when Jon Favreau took that project, Avi Arad offered him a sequel to Hulk (2003).
The Hercules aircraft (337), at the beginning of the movie, is stationed at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. It is a Canadian Air Force plane, flown by Canadian Military pilots. It was painted to resemble the U.S. Air Force planes.
The film joined Toronto's Green-Screen initiative, to help cut carbon emissions and waste created during filming. Hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles were used, with ultra low sulphur diesel as their energy source. For constructing the sets, the production department used a sustainably-harvested locally-sourced yellow pine, instead of the commonly-used lauan, and afterwards, the wood was either recycled, or given to environmental organizations. Paints with no or low volatile organic compounds were used, and paint cans were handed to waste management. A contractor was on-set to remove bins. Environmentally-friendly items used on the set included cloth bags, biodegradable food containers, china, and silverware food utensils, recycled paper, biodegradable soap, and cleaners, rechargeable batteries, and stainless steel mugs (one for each production member). Gale Anne Hurd hoped the film will be a symbol of the drive to encourage less pollution from film productions.
At the beginning of the film, a quick glimpse of Bruce's known associates appears. One of the names shown is that of Rick Jones. In the Incredible Hulk comic, Rick Jones was an orphan who drove out onto the weapons testing site on a dare. Rick was unaware that Bruce's gamma bomb was being tested that day but was saved by Bruce just as the bomb went off. This sacrifice is what caused Bruce to become the Hulk. Rick, wracked by guilt for what happened, has stayed by Bruce's side from then on.
(at around 9 mins) In the bottling plant, when Banner tries to talk to the girl, and the bald-headed goon messes with him, Banner tries to say "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" in Portuguese, but can't remember the word for angry, so he says "hungry". "Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." was a famous line from The Incredible Hulk (1978).
(at around 1h) The grotto scene between Betty and The Hulk was inspired by a scene in Book 5 of "Hulk Gray" by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
When Banner infiltrates the university as a pizza delivery man, he bribes the security guard played by Lou Ferrigno (who played the Hulk in the TV series). At one moment, Banner's eyes flash green.
Liv Tyler took over the role of Betty Ross from Jennifer Connelly. Tyler and Connelly appeared as sisters in Inventing the Abbotts (1997).
(at around 39 mins) The computer Edward Norton is using, when he is disguised as a delivery boy, has the anti-virus program "Norton 360" installed.
The person to whom Bruce Banner is talking on the computer near the beginning of the film, "Mr. Blue", is wearing a blue shirt when they encounter each other later in the film.
When Gen. Ross is retrieving the serum from cold storage, the container not only has the name of Dr. Reinstein (developer of Capt. America's super-serum), but also Crysync (the company name) under which is written Stark Industries.
All throughout the film, green objects can be seen. Bystander clothing, books, liquid in lab glassware, lamps, bottle caps, a tint on Betty Ross' eyeglasses frames, etc.
General Ross (William Hurt) asks Emil Blonsky's (Tim Roth) age. Ross guesses the age of 45. Blonsky states he is 39. Roth was actually 46 at the time of the movie's release.
When Hulk and Abomination begin the 'Harlem' fight, Abomination spits out a tooth after being punched. In Avengers Age of Ultron, a similar scene takes place during the Hulkbuster vs. Hulk South Africa fight.
The opening lab scene contains references from the opening credits of The Incredible Hulk (1978) with the red "Danger" sign, the targeting reticule on Banner's forehead and the x-ray skull images.
For the sake of anonymity, Bruce Banner's computer pen pal is Mr. Blue, while Bruce refers to himself as Mr. Green. Another movie whose characters use the "Mr. Color" convention, for anonymity purposes, is Reservoir Dogs (1992), also starring Tim Roth as Mr. Orange.
The Paramount Pictures logo appears before the Universal logo, even though the film isn't distributed by Paramount.
William Hurt was under consideration for the role of General Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg (1993). Another role, that of General John Buford, ended up being played by Sam Elliot, who played General Ross in Hulk (2003).
Stan Lee: (at around 13 mins) the comic writer who created the Incredible Hulk in 1962 is the man who drinks the soft drink contaminated with Bruce Banner's blood.