Keeping the Pants on 'The Hulk'

"It's a question I always had myself: 'How come his pants always stay on?'" Lee tells "I thought he should be naked."
Director Ang Lee admits something has bothered him from the beginning of "The Hulk" project: Normal man Bruce Banner grows to be a 15-foot giant and splits out of his shirt, shoes and socks, yet his pants remain on.

"It's a question I always had myself: 'How come his pants always stay on?'" Lee tells "I thought he should be naked."

So much so, the director tried shooting it that way, obscuring obvious parts that would take away the film's PG-13 rating, but it soon became like the opening of "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" where a nude Austin is cleverly concealed hidden as he walks through a hotel lobby.

Even though he had abandon going au naturel for all of the movie, Lee does get his way briefly. In a fight with three super-dogs, the Hulk's pants are ripped off.

"It's a visceral fight, and on that last jump he loses his pants and you see his backside." Lee pauses mischievously and muses, "It's an inviting question, if people will see [the Hulk's manhood] what are they going to say?"

The Hulk's film father, in the form of actor Nick Nolte, doesn't think the reaction would be a favorable one.

"I've seen a nude picture of the Hulk. It's not pretty; it can be used as a weapon," says Nolte. "I can't see the Hulk having sex."

Eric Bana, who portrays the naked Bruce Banner that Hulk turn back into after his fight with the canines, says he didn't mind the nudity, except that it was cold in the Sequoia National Forest when they filmed.

"I wasn't particularly uncomfortable about the nudity -- I'm rather European that way -- but I like pants for the Hulk. He should have his pants on. It's one of those issues that will be bubbling around for a long time."

Computer effects supervisor Michael DiComo admits, "We took as many liberties as we could, allowing the pants to stay on as the rest of his clothes get ripped to shreds. In certain scenes he wore those loose purple pants and we allowed that to flap around a bit."

Some might think the more pressing question is what anyone past wearing Grranimals is doing wearing purple trousers, but Josh Lucas, who plays the Hulk's rival, thinks it's more a matter of function rather than style.

"Those pants he's wearing is that elastic one-size-fits-all stuff that comes from Walmart. It stretches real good."

"The Hulk" opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 20.
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