Lou Ferrigno, star of television’s The Incredible Hulk, blames actor Mark Ruffalo and Disney for a “disappointing” portrayal of the Hulk in Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame. There a five-year time jump revealed Bruce Banner successfully merged his brain with the Other Guy’s brawn after an 18-month stint in a gamma lab, creating an amalgamation of the two informally referred to as “Smart Hulk.” This blended form of Hulk, inspired by the “Professor Hulk” incarnation from the classic Marvel comics, subsequently appeared more refined and more human. But a bulkier, green-skinned Ruffalo and a lack of separation between Banner and his anger-fueled alter-ego meant Endgame lacked the “beauty” of the 1978 series that also starred Bill Bixby, according to Ferrigno.
“What’s happening is that the first two Hulk movies, the CGI was improving, but the last one, Endgame, I was disappointed. Because the Hulk needs to be hideous, he needs to be a creature,” Ferrigno said at Canada’s Hamilton Comic Con. “You see in Endgame, Mark Ruffalo — I think it has a lot to do with him and Disney — I didn’t like the way it portrayed [Hulk]. It took away that beauty, that quality of the Hulk. That’s why a lot of people liked the series.”
Ferrigno then said “too much” of Endgame was “extreme with the spaceships, the shooting, the outer space.”
“We need good stories. Good elements, good messages about life,” Ferrigno continued. “Because when you see the series, even like The Twilight Zone, the original Twilight Zone, you learn something from every episode. The CGI, I mean, it’s all different. People like it that way because it’s bigger entertainment on the screen.”
The famed bodybuilder donned green paint when portraying the alter-ego of Bixby’s David Banner in the CBS series that ran for 80 episodes across five seasons.
Ferrigno later voiced the computer-generated Hulk in Marvel Studios’ Edward Norton-led The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers, Ruffalo’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and again in 2015 sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character has since been fully performed by Ruffalo.
Ferrigno admits providing dialogue for the primitive talk strained his voice, but making Hulk articulate in Endgame “spoiled it.”
“Doing voiceover is very hard, because when you’re doing voice work, I can’t do a scene with [another actor], I have to improvise. So when I did the voice for the film, they had me in a dark room. They only told me about the scene, so I had to improvise,” Ferrigno said. “I couldn’t talk for two days afterwards, because [the voice] comes from inside the chest, the strong bellow when the Hulk roars. It’s a challenge, it’s work. But I had to almost yell and talk like the Hulk thinks and feels. And now in this new film, the Hulk is having dialogue conversations, I think it basically just spoiled it.”5comments
During another convention appearance in Canada over the summer, Ferrigno said Ruffalo was a “wonderful actor” but admitted he disagrees with what he called a less-serious spin on the character.
“Mark is a wonderful actor. But we’ve had three different actors — we’ve had Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo. I like Bill Bixby the best, I like Edward Norton. But Ruffalo — I think he’s a wonderful actor, he blends in with the Marvel aspect of the Avengers — but I can’t take him seriously enough,” Ferrigno said at Montreal Comiccon. “Bill has that intensity, and you knew that when he was in danger, you could feel that intensity. But because of Marvel and Disney, they’ve taken a different direction. You can’t take it as seriously as the original series.”