As Seen On
Del Toro the Mexican director best known for "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006) and "Hellboy" (2004) is teaming up with "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer David Eick to create a live-action version of "The Incredible Hulk" for ABC the first live-action Marvel Comics series since the late '70s, early '80s show of the same name. Don't worry: Lou Ferrigno isn't planning on reprising his famous role.
According to Deadline.com, Marvel will depart from the entirely computer-generated Hulk of the movies. Del Toro plans on blending CGI with classic prosthetics and puppetry to create the green monster. The character's design will be inspired by the original television series, past comic book manifestations and a few new takes on the fan-boy favorite. Look for Bruce Banner, the Hulk's alter ego, to be a bright-eyed, energetic twenty-something.
While the very thought of prosthetics and puppets may sound unappealing to those raised on CGI and expensive special effects, del Toro has a history of crafting beautiful and fantastic creatures using old-school Hollywood techniques. His dark, Spanish fairy tale "Pan's Labyrinth," for instance, won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Best Makeup for its extraordinary visuals.
Bringing comics from the page to the screen has been a popular theme throughout del Toro's career. According to Deadline, creating a film adaptation of the Hulk had been a high priority of the filmmaker for several years.
Despite the promising early buzz surrounding this project, I can't help but feel pessimistic about the viability of any live-action comic book series. While the last "Hulk" series lasted 82 episodes over five seasons, the show is now more famous for its green spray-painted Ferrigno than for its compelling storyline. Frankly put: The old "Hulk" series looks ridiculous. Let's not even mention "The Amazing Spider-Man" series of the same era.
Although superhero movies have come into vogue lately, I'm skeptical that the success of this trend can translate to the small screen. Most attempts at superhero-themed TV shows in the past few years, such as NBC's "Heroes," indicate that maintaining a devoted audience will be difficult.
Part of the reason for the explosive growth of superhero movies is the development of special effects technology with the ability to capture the spectacular powers of our favorite heroes. Further, the development of these impressive special effects has likely been pushed forward by the rapidly expanding budgets of many Hollywood movies. Can a live-action TV show with fewer special effects and a much lower budget capture the same attention as a multimillion-dollar movie like the recent "Spider-Man" series? Then again, perhaps the producer's decision to incorporate old-school prosthetics and puppets will help free the series from such high expectations.
Despite the odds, production of the series continues. "The Incredible Hulk" isn't expected to hit the airwaves until fall 2012, a possible follow up to the highly anticipated superhero slugfest, "The Avengers." Until then, you will find me pressing my purple shorts in anticipation of the day. Would you really expect me to miss any program featuring the Hulk?