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Speaking with Vulture in a lengthy new interview, the former Hulk now admits he wasn’t really interested in returning for the role, and explained that taking part in Ang Lee’s film was never going to be an easy task.
“You go from Black Hawk Down where you’re shooting mainly daytime, exteriors, natural light. Boom: out in the world. To suddenly, I’m playing a scientist and I’m in a lab or a house, indoors,” Bana said. “There’s this other movie going on with green screen that I have nothing to do with, because that’s the Hulk. It’s the other actors that are playing in that space. So in some ways it felt like a tiny movie because the reality for me was every day was interior, studio, one room, very few big scenes. Lots of dialogue. I don’t like working indoors.”
Bana continued, adding that Bruce Banner was a “frustrating character to play” and that he was “aware it was going to challenge people.”
“The challenge is to convey all that pent-up, repressed energy, emotion,” he said. “It’s one reason why I was excited to do it, but it’s not the most expressive character to portray because that job is for the alter ego; you’re meant to feel euphoric when he finally turns into the Hulk. I convinced myself that I was just part of a family drama and that the green guy was the star, so I tried not to let the pressure get to me.”
The actor—who has also appeared in Troy, Munich, Hanna, The Time Traveler’s Wife and other films—previously told the WTF With Marc Maron Podcast that he wasn’t signed on to a multi-movie deal or anything like that when he was tasked with hulk-smashing. When discussing with Vulture how different his career would be if he signed on for a sequel—which 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was initially intended to be—Bana said that he doesn’t have regrets.
“A friend of mine gave me a really great piece of advice one day. ‘What’s the best possible thing that can come out of this if you say yes? And if the answer is you’re going to keep getting offered things that you don’t want to do, what’s the point,’” Bana said.”