Taking a stroll down memory lane, the first live action Hulk was the late great Lou Ferrigno. And after the turn of the century and a plethora of Marvel movies popping up on the big screen, Ang Lee tried his hand with Hulk, with Eric Bana starring as Bruce Banner/Hulk. The film was a flop in 2003 but since then Eric has never returned to a comic book movie, and he explained the reason behind it all.
Today, Hulk and Mark Ruffalo are synonymous with one another. But before MCU rehabilitated the character and turned the green monster into everyone's favorite angry giant, Hulk had the reputation of being the only Marvel property with two "flops" in the same decade. Ang Lee's Hulk is stuff of nightmare for thousands of MCU fans, and the 2008 The Incredible Hulk has been erased from everyone's memory.
But no matter what those two Hulk movies exists, for better or for worse, and Eric Bana is not ashamed about starring in the film. In 2003, comic books movies were only recently started to make steady profits, so Ang Lee's Hulk always felt rushed. Still, Eric is a great actor and in the current MCU he would be given a character that would better suit the actor. Despite that Eric has not been back in superhero movie realm, and the actor explained why he keep away from it all.
Eric Bana Explains His Disappearance from Superhero Movies After Hulk 2003
Flops are a small part of doing business in Hollywood, unless you are Taylor Kitsch, and actors learn to live with having flops. So, Eric Bana’s Hulk not doing great at the box office is not the reason for the actor to never appear in another comic book movie. He has probably been offered different roles in DC and Marvel movies, but Bruce Banner was the last time we saw the actor as a superhero.
The Troy actor explained it was not a lack of roles or even the flop that made him walk away from a cash cow. Superhero movies have turned actors into multi millionaires, pushing their net worth close to nine figures. Robert Downey Jr. was paid $75 million just for appear in Captain America: Civil War, it wasn’t even his movie. So, the pay is great but that alone was not enough entice the actor to retread the same road.
As he explained, the idea of building franchises or multiple sequels was not in his mind. The time he comes from was a period where X-Men was just getting going and he never thought a solo was going to get a sequel. He explained that going into the film he had a clear intention of doing Hulk one time and it was over. The idea was a one and done thing for Eric Bana and never looked behind and thought what could’ve been.
"The universe as you know it didn't exist back then. You certainly didn't go into a film like that thinking you were going to do more than one. That just wasn't in play. The expectations were not the way they are now. I approached it as a one-off. It's why I haven't re-dabbled in that area. They're not the kind of movie that I race out and see myself so that conversation is something I have with myself if I want to be a part of it," Eric Bana said on WTF with Marc Maron.
Well, we cannot say, "superhero movies are not for everyone," instead we will say this, superhero movies are not for a select few and Eric Bana falls in that group. He would not jump to go and see the movie so that is the reason he has not been back in the same sandbox again. Eric did his thing in Ang Lee's Hulk and he had his fill of superhero movies for his lifetime. It is understandable the actor does not want to be back.
No harm done as Edward Norton and Eric Bana's loss is Mark Ruffalo's gain. Mark definitely looks comfortable being replaced by a CGi monster while also making his mark on the fanbase. In the MCU there is no one more beloved than Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland. So, Eric Bana not playing Hulk beyond 2003 was the right decision for everyone.
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