Incredible Hulk director says William Hurt screamed at him on set

Hurt played General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross across five MCU movies

Tom Murray
Friday 10 November 2023 01:02 GMT
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The Incredible Hulk director Louis Letterier has recalled clashing with William Hurt on the set of the 2008 Marvel movie starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.

The film was the second in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is still the franchise’s lowest-grossing movie after it earned $263m (£215m) worldwide.

Hurt, who died in March 2022 aged 71, played General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the movie and went on to reprise the role in four other films.

“William Hurt didn’t want the moustache to act him out. The size of the moustache was a discussion,” Leterrier told Josh Horowitz on his new Happy Sad Confused spin-off series, Watchalong.

“But sometimes he and I clashed. You have two 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. They feed off that. That’s how he worked.

“One day he was screaming at me, ‘You don’t know anything about actors!’” the director continued. “Too bad for him he was in the giant helicopter at the end and I was at the control. He was like, ‘You have to find the button to the nuclear plant…’ I took the joystick and shook him and he fell and looked at me and was like, ‘I like you!’ That was it. He just wanted to have a little bit of a fight.”

Liv Tyler and William Hurt in ‘The Incredible Hulk’
Liv Tyler and William Hurt in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (Marvel Enterprises/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Hurt was best known for his Oscar-winning performance as gay prisoner Luis Molina in 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, and his Oscar-nominated work in the hit 1987 comedy Broadcast News, intense 2005 drama A History of Violence and 1986 romance Children of a Lesser God.

He was accused of physical and verbal abuse by his ex-partner Sandra Jennings in 1989 and of the same by Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, his girlfriend in the mid-1980s, in her 2010 memoir I’ll Scream Later.

Letterier also spoke about Norton’s disagreements with Marvel on the film’s tone, which ultimately led to him being replaced by Mark Ruffalo for future Hulk movies and appearances.

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“The whole way, everybody was in lock step. It just got tense at the end,” the director remembered. “The end, it was very tense about the tone and the level of humor. Although Edward is very funny, all his friends are comedians and he is an extremely funny guy, he was very right in defending the seriousness of the movie. You have to remember, the mid-2010s…’The Dark Knight’ had such an impact on superhero movies.”

Thaddeus Ross is returning to the MCU in the forthcoming Captain America: Brave New World and will be played by Harrison Ford.

The film, directed by Julius Onah, is currently scheduled for release in the summer of 2024.

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