In a wide-ranging new interview, Louis Leterrier discusses his work for Marvel on The Incredible Hulk, and how Kevin Feige offered him Guardians Of The Galaxy to direct…
Marvel Studios is now well into Phase Five of its cinematic universe, but 15 years ago, the mere notion of phases was still in its infancy. Back in 2008, the MCU was just getting started with the $585m-plus success of Iron Man, which would help establish the direction and tone of the Marvel movies for years afterwards.
That same year, however, also saw the release of The Incredible Hulk, a movie that made less than half of what Iron Man earned at the box office, and was quietly set aside by Marvel afterwards (Edward Norton, who repeatedly clashed with the studio, was later replaced by Mark Ruffalo).
Fifteen years on, and that film’s director Louis Leterrier sat down with Josh Horowitz to talk about The Incredible Hulk for the new Happy Sad Confused podcast spin-off, Watchalong. In a wide-ranging and remarkably frank conversation, Leterrier talked about his original plans for the film – including a much more downbeat opening sequence – and his on-set clashes with the late William Hurt. (Incredibly, one of their discussions was about the size of Hurt’s character’s moustache.)
Leterrier also talked about the projects he was offered but refused – two of those were Marvel’s Thor and Guardians Of The Galaxy.
“I passed on Thor,” said Leterrier. “I said, ‘I honestly don’t know how to do that.’ And Guardians [Of The Galaxy]. Avengers, I didn’t make it on the list. But he [Kevin Feige] asked me about Thor.”
When Leterrier heard that Marvel was planning to make a film adaptation of Guardians Of The Galaxy, he recalls looking at the original comics and saying, “What? It’s crazy that they’re doing this.”
While Leterrier said he liked the idea of making a Star Wars-esque space opera, but in the Marvel style, the project never happened – Guardians Of The Galaxy was ultimately brought to the screen by James Gunn, in winningly antic style.
Incredibly, this wasn’t the only high-profile project Leterrier had talked to Disney’s various subsidiaries about. The director also recalls having a meeting with Lucasfilm and pitching a “Star Wars TV show.” He said his concept was loosely based on the iconic Japanese manga series Lone Wolf And Cub, but Lucasfilm’s response was an unenthusiastic, “We’ll get back to you on that.”
The irony being, of course, that Lucasfilm did indeed eventually make a Star Wars TV series loosely based on Lone Wolf And Cub – The Mandalorian, which began in 2019 and is still ongoing.
“I wanted to do the missing part between A New Hope, where Obi Wan takes Luke… but I was also very interested in the Boba Fett movie,” Leterrier said. “But it’s okay. I did other things.”
Leterrier is, we’ve come to realise, extremely good value in interviews – earlier this year, while promoting Fast X, he told us how he helped save Alien: Resurrection back in the 1990s.
You can watch the full Watchalong interview below thanks to the power of YouTube embeds.