During Denver Comic Con I had a chance to sit down and chat with the original Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. Ferrigno still poses an impressive figure. Despite being 62 years old he’s in phenomenal shape and at 6’5″, he can be quite imposing. Despite his size he was kind, had a good sense of humor and had the softest hands I can remember shaking in a long time. I know that sounds odd but I figured someone who lifts as many weights as Lou does would have a sandpaper grip. Not the case at all. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
Gazette: Many people have played The Hulk but you’re easily the person most associated with the character. What is it like being known for one particular character? Is it a blessing, a curse, a little bit of both?
Lou Ferrigno: When I did “The Hulk” I was typecast of course but now I’ve done over 40 films. I don’t mind being known as The Hulk for the rest of my life because people embrace that character. They always remember me as The Hulk. There are many actors who’ve had TV series that have been forgotten but I’m fortunate that I’m one of the few from the 70s that people remember.
It’s also great because it (being The Hulk) has given me a lot of opportunities. I took The Hulk from the series and developed it into a big persona. Someone that had to do with fitness, someone that is a worldwide motivation speaker and I get to go to comic conventions and make films.
Gazette: How do you feel about a CGI Hulk versus a real person playing The Hulk?
Ferrigno: CGI is never going to be like a human Hulk from the TV series because the character I played had vulnerability. But now you see CGI because it’s on the big screen with special effects. Unfortunately the CGI Hulk can’t sign autographs like I can.
Gazette: Aside from yourself who have been your favorite Hulks? Out of Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo whom do you like best?
Ferrigno: All three are very good actors. I kind of like Edward Norton because he is very much like Bill Bixby. He has that look and he has an intensity about him that Bixby had. I enjoyed doing a scene with him (ed note: Ferrigno played a security guard who Edward Norton bribes with a pizza in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.”). I’ve never met Mark Ruffalo but he’s a wonderful actor. I just hope they don’t keep changing Bruce Banner. We’ve had three different ones now and you want to stay with the same guy so I hope they stay with Mark Ruffalo.
Gazette: You’re at a comic event because of your close association with The Hulk. Do you read any of the comics or get into any of The Hulk cartoons?
Ferrigno: I did the voice over for the animated Hulk cartoon years ago and I also used to read a lot of Hulk comics when I was a kid because I was a real life Walter Mitty. In my imagination I always wanted to be like The Hulk because he was the only superhero where you could see his muscles. I related to him because I was The Hulk my whole life.
Gazette: There are a number of TV shows that are superhero based. Do you think a Hulk TV show would be successful?
Ferrigno: They’ll probably do a Hulk TV show but they’ll probably use CGI. I don’t think you’ll ever see a human Hulk again. It would be very hard. But it depends on how the Hulk does. He saved the day in “The Avengers” and I know some day they’ll do another solo Hulk movie. The Hulk is a big franchise that’s been around for 40 years now.
Gazette: You’ve done cameos in other Hulk movies before, do you have any other cameos coming up?
Ferrigno: Not unless they approach me. I think it’s kind of stupid that they don’t utilize me more because I made The Hulk what it is today. Even Stan Lee agrees with me that they should use me more. Look at William Shatner, Captain Kirk, no matter how many Star Trek movies they make he’s still Captain Kirk and people still identify with him. They use him in new movies. Hopefully they’ll use me more if there’s another Hulk movie.
Gazette: There’s a lot of superheroes out there nowadays. Are there any besides The Hulk that you can relate to or find interesting?
Ferrigno: I kind of like Wolverine. He deals with a lot of rejection, he’s very silly and he’s a fighter and survivor.
Gazette: You’ve had a number of small parts in comedies like “I Love You Man” and “King of Queens.” Is comedy where you’d like to focus your career?
Ferrigno: Yes. Someday I’d love to have my own sitcom on a regular basis. I enjoy doing sitcoms. I did a movie called “The Godson” with Rodney Dangerfield then got invited to be on “King of Queens.” Then John Hamburg wrote a part for me for “I Love You Man.” People just loved it because I kind of play myself and people like that. So I’d like to do a comedy because I enjoy doing comedy and making people laugh.
Gazette: In “I Love You Man” one of the things that gets on your nerves is being called “Hulk.” When people do that in real life does it bother you?
Ferrigno: It doesn’t because I take it as a compliment. They just recognize me. But how they say it in the movie is in a ridiculing way and it makes me mad in the film. In the movie you can see that I just want to be respected. But in real life I don’t mind because everybody loves The Hulk.
Gazette: Tell me about what you’re working on next.
Ferrigno: I have my own competition coming up called FerrignoLegacy.com, it’s a body building competition and a beauty competition. I have “Scorpion King 4” coming out in September and I just finished a movie two weeks ago with Warner Bros. called “The Bandit Hound.” It’s with Judd Nelson and Paul Sorvino, it’s a comedy. It’s a very funny movie and PG so it’s family friendly.