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SYFY WIRE David Fincher

Louis Leterrier Explains How David Fincher’s Se7en Influenced Look of The Incredible Hulk

Normally, the wanton destruction of the Hulk has nothing in common with the surgical precision of a serial killer.

By Josh Weiss
A split featuring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman on the set of Se7en (1995) and The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) screaming in The Incredible Hulk (2008).

Normally, the wanton destruction wrought by the Hulk wouldn't have anything in common with the surgical precision of a deranged serial killer, but there's a first time for everything, right?

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe became the multi-billion dollar juggernaut we now know it to be, filmmakers like Jon Favreau and Louis Leterrier were given the creative freedom to place their own filmmaker fingerprints on the lives of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Edward Norton). During a recent rewatch of The Incredible Hulk (now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment), for example, Leterrier explained to MTV's Josh Horowitz how his 2008 take on the big green rage monster was partly inspired by the films of David Fincher, particularly the gritty and seedy atmosphere of Se7en.

How David Fincher's Se7en helped inspire the look of The Incredible Hulk

As "a huge fan of Fincher," the French director — who would go on to helm other blockbusters like Clash of the Titans and Fast X (streaming exclusively on Peacock) — said he wanted the movie to feel "a little dirty, used," as well as "tactile and timeless." Hoping to capture the cinematic spirit of Fincher's seminal neo-noir, Leterrier worked hard to keep a majority of the shoot grounded in reality.

RELATED: How The Incredible Hulk’s Final Battle With Abomination Pays Homage to Iconic Hulk Hands Toy

"It was just the beginning of digital, but we shot 35[mm]," he recalled. "I used an old Panavision anamorphic series [of lenses]. Anamorphic, so you get the flares, the colors are really beautiful. And we tried to do as much practically as possible. Obviously, the Hulk we couldn't do practically, but everything he moved — a lot of the car stuff. Also shooting on location, really going to the places, traveling the world with all our crew, was very useful. I had a great combination of studios, Marvel and Universal, great, filmmaker-friendly places."

And while the titular gamma-created Avenger is a being of pure science fiction fancy, the ultimate design seen in the film was "really Uber-human," Leterrier states in a making-of documentary. "I wanted to feel the texture, I wanted to feel skin, I wanted to feel veins."

The future of Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner (and his son, Skaar) remains unknown, but it has been confirmed that several Incredible Hulk characters — Thaddeus Ross (Harrison Ford replacing William Hurt), Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), and Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) — are all returning for Captain America: Brave New World.

The Incredible Hulk is now available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Leterrier's most recent blockbuster for Universal — Fast X (the fifth-highest grossing movie of the year) — can be found exclusively on Peacock.