'The Incredible Hulk' director Louis Leterrier said some actors simply "like to have these arguments" with directors on set
The Incredible Hulk's director is recalling on-set clashes with late actor William Hurt.
Director Louis Letterier appeared on Josh Horowitz's podcast Watchalong, an extension of the series Happy Sad Confused, to discuss his 2008 Marvel movie, which starred Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk.
Hurt, who died in March 2022 at 71, played Gen. Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross in the film, the first of his five appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On the podcast, Letterier, 50, said he and Hurt "clashed" at times during production, including over whether Hurt's mustache in the role would "act him out."
"The size of the mustache was a discussion,” Leterrier said. “But sometimes he and I clashed, and I think that was — you have two types of actors, three types of actors. You got your partners, your best friends that you have to cajole all day, and then the people who like to have these arguments. ... That’s how he worked.”
Letterier recalled an argument he had with Hurt while working on the movie's climax, claiming that Hurt "was screaming at me [saying], ‘You don’t know anything about actors!' ”
“Too bad for him, he was in the giant helicopter at the end and I was in the control [room]. He was like, ‘You have to find the button to the nuclear plant…’ and I took the joystick and shook him and he fell," the director recalled. "He looked at me and was like, ‘I like you!’ That was it. He just wanted to have a little bit of a fight.”
Hurt went on to appear as Ross in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, 2019's Endgame and 2021's Black Widow. By Infinity War, his character was serving as the U.S. Secretary of State and most often appeared as a minor antagonist to the franchise's heroes.
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Hurt's character is set to return in next year's Captain America: Brave New World, with Harrison Ford stepping in to replace the late actor. That movie will star Anthony Mackie's new Captain America Sam Wilson.
During the Watchalong appearance, Letterier also spoke to his relationship with Norton, 54, during the making of the movie. Though Norton starred in The Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo stepped in to play the character beginning with 2012's The Avengers.
"I think the whole way, everybody was very much in lock-step. It just got tense at the end," the director recalled of the behind-the-scenes atmosphere.
"I think at the end, very much it was tense about the tone and the level of humor — although Edward is very funny, all his friends are comedians, he's an extremely funny guy — I think he was very right in defending the seriousness of the movie."
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