Billy Crudup As Ang Lee's HULK? See The Concept Art!

Conceptual illustrator, Benton Jew, had the privilege of working on not one, not two, but three live-action Hulk films: Jonathan Hensleigh's defunct Hulk film (1997), Ang Lee's 2003 film, and Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk (2008). Come see concept art and storyboards.

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By nailbiter111 - 4/5/2013
The Hulk’s realism rivaled that of even Gollum. © 2003 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. Credit: ILM.


Let's start in chronological order, shall we? First up, Jonathan Hensleigh's Hulk film. Back in the early 90's producers Avi Arad ("Spider-Man") and Gale Anne Hurd ("The Walking Dead") began work on a live-action Hulk film. At that time Universal owned the rights, and wanted to make a film involving the Green Goliath fighting terrorists. Why bother using the source material when you can come up generic plots like that, right? Ugh, such dumbasses. So anyways, many writers come in and pitch their ideas and write scripts, but of course nothing is ever right so they go back and rewrite some more. During this period Joe Johnston even signs on to direct, but of course he drops out. Who replaces him? Gale Anne Hurd's husband, Jonathan Hensleigh. Genius move, since it would've been his directorial debut, and you always want to start your directing career with a big budget blockbuster, right? But Jonathan wasn't just gonna direct, he was also going to pitch in on the script.

"Hensleigh rewrote from scratch, coming up with a brand new storyline. In August 1997 Hensleigh completed his script, featuring Bruce Banner, who prior to the accident which will turn him into The Hulk, performs experiments with gamma-irradiated insect DNA on three convicts. This transforms the convicts into "insect men" that cause havoc." - wikipedia

Insect DNA convicts!? Wait, is it too late to use those terrorists?

As luck would have it, the wonderful and very talented Benton Jew worked on this film and has some art and insight that he shared on his blog.

"The first version I did was a bid that ILM was doing to get work on a 1997 version of the Hulk. This one was to be directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and feature The Absorbing Man amongst other monster types as the bad guys. We did quite a few pencil sketches to get an idea of what he might look like." - Benton Jew



"I did an "expression chart" as well as a photoshop comp to give an idea of what the green guy might look like." - Benton Jew


Thankfully, that film was never made. After that episode Universal would turn to Ang Lee, who brought an unexpected art house look to the 2003 Hulk film. It explored a much deeper backstory to Bruce Banner with a heavy emphasis on an abusive father who killed Bruce's mother. The late great Roger Ebert would celebrate Lee's bold approach to a comic book movie, "Ang Lee is trying to actually deal with the issues in the story of the Hulk, instead of simply cutting to brainless visual effects."

Now comes the fun fact. Did you know that Billy Crudup ("Almost Famous") was actually Ang Lee's first choice to play Banner, not Eric Bana?

"I also did a photoshop version with Billy Crudup as the Hulk. Early on, Crudup was slated to play Banner before changing his mind and dropping out of the project." - Benton Jew



There are two more pieces from that project that Benton shared. One is of Hulk in the desert chased by helicopters. By the way, he did that before he saw the script, not knowing that it would be in the film.


He also explored a neanderthal version of the Hulk, as he puts it, "my idea here being that Hulk should be to Banner, what a kitten is to a lion." Change is scary to fanboys, so countdown 3, 2, 1... freakout!


And last but certainly not least, is Benton's storyboards for Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk (2008), that starred Edward Norton as Banner.

"In 2007, I went to Toronto to work on Louis Leterrier's version. I wasn't involved in the design of the Hulk, but worked as a storyboard artist. Oddly, most of the sequences I worked on ( mainly the favela sequence ) involved Bruce Banner and not the Hulk. Below was a sequence I worked on that did have the Hulk." - Benton Jew


Source: Benton Jew
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43 Comments
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GUNSMITH - 4/5/2013, 2:36 AM
LOL NEANDERTHAL MAN
Slak - 4/5/2013, 2:37 AM
Monkey?
spidey1994 - 4/5/2013, 2:40 AM
Damn, Billy Crudup would have made an awesome Bruce Bannner!
LordOfTheZegaRealm - 4/5/2013, 2:40 AM
That one picture look like an ape going hulk.
DarthVenom - 4/5/2013, 2:40 AM
Ape man :p
GUNSMITH - 4/5/2013, 2:43 AM
CRUDUP DODGES THE BULLET....

jimoakley666 - 4/5/2013, 2:47 AM
Ha ha. We all know how highly explosive those forklifts can be.
Cass808 - 4/5/2013, 2:52 AM
Oh good lord, that Hulk ape is just offensive.

although saying that we dont know if it even came close to actually being used. for all we know everyone on production could have taken one look at it and just recoiled in horror.
NeoBaggins - 4/5/2013, 3:00 AM
This muther[frick]er looks like he's about to order some french fried pertaters.

TheHitchhikingGhost - 4/5/2013, 3:14 AM
LOL @ Neobaggins
AlexDeLarge87 - 4/5/2013, 3:16 AM
Crudup would have been cool.

In that facial expressions picture Hulk looks like Kurtwood Smith and John Saxon.
HULK2099 - 4/5/2013, 3:43 AM
Interesting, he deff would be a good banner
TheFascinatingMan - 4/5/2013, 3:45 AM
Good stuff
novaprime - 4/5/2013, 4:14 AM
Cool Marvel Needs to Hurry and Move on with The Sequal.. i want an incredible Hulk 2 Now!!! Or a hulk movie retelling the origin of rafullos hulk in the past and having him fight later in the present!!! Thatll be awsome
CRUSH - 4/5/2013, 5:29 AM
Billy Crudup looks good in green, he should be The Leader in the next Hulk movie, and not just because he has a big head.
BackwardGalaxy - 4/5/2013, 5:31 AM
Ya know, having gotten some distance from the release of Ang Lee's HULK, it wasn't as bad as I remembered it. Had he the sense to realize that his comic book styled art direction wasn't working, changed the ending to make it less ambiguous, and shaved about 25 minutes of people staring at each other from the final cut, I think it could have been a decent sized hit.
jessepostal - 4/5/2013, 5:33 AM
@jimoakly, actually they are, so much so that they make explosion proof fork lifts now. Google it, I'm serious.
OptimusPrimeTime - 4/5/2013, 5:36 AM
Lmao @@neo baggins!!

That was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw that. I was trying to think of a funny way of expressing it and you captured it perfectly. Bravo! That gave me a good laugh.
Mysterion - 4/5/2013, 5:37 AM
WOW....OMG
SmellofDuty - 4/5/2013, 5:39 AM
Hahahahahaha NeoBaggins!!!!!
Mysterion - 4/5/2013, 5:41 AM
I think I remember hearing news about the first Hulk movie attempt back in the 90s on the old cinescape mag. Im not 100% sure but I think I remember hear Johnny Depps name thrown around to play Banner.
SpectacularJoShFest - 4/5/2013, 6:25 AM
He DOES make a good Banner...but I [frick]ing hate him.
imnotwearinghockeypants - 4/5/2013, 6:34 AM
Some seriously goofy shit right there.
Niklander - 4/5/2013, 6:37 AM
Really terrorist groups so what the hell did they except Hulk doing the American Way!?!? Gimme a [frick]ing break
Dusk - 4/5/2013, 6:42 AM
@jimoakley forklifts usually have a propane cylinder on them for fuel.
ElDarkside - 4/5/2013, 6:43 AM
At first I thought I was gonna hate billy crudup in watchmen, because his voice was so common because of the stupid master card commercials, but the visuals just blew me away and I loved the sort-of-monotone way he spoke. It really suited the character perfectly...

And thank god we didn't get bastardized versions of the hulk. I liked ang lees hulk originally but watching it again there's just so much blah in that movie. Incredible Hulk was much better movie all around. Except general Ross in hulk was better than tih. IMO
HellsHammer - 4/5/2013, 6:49 AM
LMAO
Krypto999 - 4/5/2013, 7:27 AM
WTF did i just look at!!
Fogs - 4/5/2013, 7:34 AM
I like that desert scene, hulk vs tanks and choppers. Too bad they went with the crappy cheap psychological in this movie and had the shitty absorbing man (as it was made) as the villain.

Well, on a second thought maybe it wasn't bad, otherwise maybe we wouldn't have Hulk in the Avengers.
Fogs - 4/5/2013, 7:37 AM
And dude....




no. I understand the Avengers Hulk has a more crude face (just like the original comicbook version) and this was clearly an attempt to reach that, but man that's a failed one!
EarOne - 4/5/2013, 9:08 AM
Crudup actually woulda been a better choice, BUT, with ang lee's treatment of the whole thing...it's still gonna be a lousy and boring Hulk flick.

i love Lee's other works, but his Hulk just truly SUCKS.
nld3 - 4/5/2013, 9:20 AM
I would have preferred the Jonathan Hensleigh version over the Ang Lee version. At least we would have gotten enhanced villains & maybe the real Absorbing Man.
DioFoRio - 4/5/2013, 10:11 AM
glad the one they did was ang lees...or marvel wouldnt have gotten it back
Optimus83 - 4/5/2013, 10:38 AM
¡¡¡Good Concept Arts!!!. ...
Nivekian - 4/5/2013, 11:08 AM
Yup, Marvel has made a lot of expensive screwing around decisions when it comes to studio freedom with characters. The Hulk being 15 feet tall and inflating when angry was bad enough, this looks pretty dull.
RetroFit - 4/5/2013, 12:41 PM
LOL Neo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahaha

And yeah, that is just about the WORST conceptual art I've seen since Nic Cage donned the shiny latex Superman suit.

Jimdlux - 4/6/2013, 8:43 AM
So many levels of bad...
GnomeSauce - 4/6/2013, 3:45 PM
The Hulk from the 90s looked like a green gorilla.
mauricem - 4/8/2013, 8:53 PM
It's interesting to see the "Insect Men" from the Hensleigh script in Benton's work. You can get a better look at them from Kerry Gammill's site. http://gammillustrations.bizland.com/monsterart/hulk.htm
thunderforce - 4/9/2013, 8:45 AM
Hummmm a choice between hulk dogs and hulk insects seems like a draw to me , wtf were these guys thinking .
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