Marvel’s popular character The Incredible Hulk has traveled a rocky road when it comes to his big-screen career. Sure, audiences loved the green goliath in last summer’s The Avengers, but his stand-alone films (one made by Oscar-winner Ang Lee, the other featuring Ed Norton in the titular role) haven’t been nearly as well received. This is to say nothing of the various Hulk projects over the years that never got past the development stage…
We’re not sure why studios have had such a hard time transitioning one of Marvel’s most beloved characters from the page to the screen (sure, Hulk is sort of one dimensional, but that one dimension – get angry and destroy everything in sight – is pretty awesome, and seems like it should be right in Hollywood’s wheelhouse), but we do hope they take another crack at it with Mark Ruffalo in the role.
One man has been intimately involved with three separate Hulk projects over the years – concept artist Benton Jew. Jew first contributed to the Hulk’s cinematic legacy by working on bids to do design work for Jonathan Hensleigh’s 1997 Hulk film (which never got made). This film's failure to escape development hell is probably for the best, since the screenplay featured the Hulk squaring off against terrorists, Brian Banner, the military and giant insects in its various drafts. Check out the sketch of Hulk battling giant bugs above.
Jew and ILM next bid to work on Ang Lee’s much-maligned film Hulk. Originally, Billy Crudup was attached as the lead, so Jew made a concept piece showing Crudup and his take on what a Hulk-Crudup would look like. He also offered up a different image of the character, where he has some very pronounced primate facial features. It was a good call to pass on that look, too.
Jew finally got his big chance to work on a Hulk film with Louis Leterrier’s reboot – although, oddly enough, he did storyboards for scenes that didn’t actually involve the Hulk. That had to be a little frustrating, we think.
Check out some of the art below, and be sure to swing by Jew’s blog for even more Marvel goodies.