JOSH LUCAS: Slimy Bad Guy of Hulk Movie

In "Hulk" Josh Lucas plays Glen Talbot, an amb

In "Hulk" Josh Lucas plays Glen Talbot, an ambitious and ruthless military scientist working for the U.S. military who torments Dr. Bruce Banner over his scientific discovery of a new process that could generate super soldiers.

Lucas recently sat down with the press to talk about his work playing Talbot in the movie. At the roundtable interview, members of the press took turns asking questions about the development of the film. Comics2Film/CBR News is pleased to present this edited transcript of that interview.


Q: Josh, we look at you in this movie and you are such a revolting, slimy character...

Josh Lucas (JL): ...a bad guy...

Q: ...and I wonder if this is a smart movie for a guy who just played the romantic lead opposite Reese Witherspoon in "Sweet Home Alabama." Will people ever be able to see you as a nice guy again?

JL: I had to dissipate that idea immediately; I guess is what it was.

Look. I mean the simple answer is this: I would have been an extra in this movie. I would have been somebody running away from the Hulk in San Francisco you know, going, "AAAHHH," trying to get a glance at Ang.

To me, I would have done anything and I was so incredibly excited to work with Ang, that's really what it came down to.

But at the same time, to then go do a movie which is literally the absolute opposite of the performance I had just given, which is the thing that interests me most. The thing that fascinates me most about great actors and particularly great directors, in working with someone like Ang, is that they are always completely trying to shift from what they've done, from the last thing they've done, into either a new genre, a new style, to push themselves.

For me it was something I've never done, never been a part of. And it was a comic book too and it was a sense of, I did want him from the moment you see...Ang and I talked about this...from the moment you see him you want him to be someone, the audience is like, "ew."

That's literally, I think, is the exact opposite of Jake.

Q: What did you like about Talbot? What did you not like about him?

JL: Not much I liked about him.

I think that's OK. Actors always say you have to love your characters or whatever. I think there are people I met in life that I don't like and that I don't necessarily think like themselves.

What's interesting in this case about Talbot is that I think Talbot loves himself. Here's a man who wakes up and spends forty-five minutes blow-drying his hair even though he's got a demolished body. That takes a very specific kind of spirit.

So what I like about him is the playing and the discovery of what kind of human being that would be to literally believe at any given moment, to justify his horrific behavior for the fact that he's going to save humanity with enhanced G.I.s. He's ludicrous, the ego and the ambition that goes inside of someone like that.

So I like the discovery of that, in terms of who he is. I don't have a single moment in relationship to him. He's a military science that he's somehow subverted into this ugly, ugly sense of ego and ambition.

Q: Did you read the comics as a kid? Were you a comic book guy?

JL: I wasn't. I didn't know it. I didn't ever have a comic book growing up. We didn't have a TV growing up so I wasn't into the TV series.

Q: Was it because you were too poor? Or did your parents feel it was a bad influence?

JL: They were really anti-TV, is what it comes down to. They just genuinely believe that TV was destructive.

Q: You weren't allowed to read comic books?

JL: Not that I wasn't allowed. No. Comic books certainly would have been allowed; it's just that I was never introduced to them. Probably if any of them I would have liked it probably would have been "The Hulk."

I heard Stan Lee talking on National Public Radio about why, particularly, teenage boys relate so much to The Hulk. The mythology that you have this incredible, repressed rage particularly as the hormones are streaming through your body at that age, and you wish, desperately, and I remember breaking my hand as a fourteen year old boy, and really wishing that I could change and transform and I wouldn't have to worry about any of the destruction that I was about to wreak and I think that's why people relate to Hulk so much differently than a Spider-Man or a Batman.

Q: Why did you break your hand?

JL: It's just the thing of being a teenage boy and being filled with so much hormones and rage. I don't even know what I was so upset with my parents about. I remember pounding downstairs, jumping into this silly water bed that I had spent months buying myself, turning around. It had this huge headboard and going, "BAM" and just "CRACK."

And then having walked back upstairs with my tail between my legs and saying, "I think we have to go to the hospital."

Q: What did your mom say?

JL: They laughed.

But if I was The Hulk I could have destroyed the entire house and turned back into myself and like, "I don't know what happened. I'm really sorry."

Q: Are your parents mortified that you've become an actor in this medium where you could end up on TV?

JL: No. They loved film. When we grew up, my parents were fascinated particularly by Pauline Kale. So my whole film education is based on my parents' extraordinary, intellectual love of cinema, particularly world cinema.

So I haven't had a huge fascination with Hollywood and that's been the amazing thing about being part of something like this which is Hollywood, I think, at its most exalted, most art-oriented form, because of Ang, entirely.

So if anything, quite the opposite. You know, at the beginning of my career, I was actually doing television and that was very uncomfortable for me and not by any means something my parents felt particularly proud of.

Q: Where did you grow up and what did your folks do?

JL: Activists. My parents were political activists, particularly anti-nuclear. We live all over the south.

Q: Could they support themselves as anti-nuclear activists?

JL: We were poor. We were totally poor. They're both doctors now, but we were living on welfare.

Q: How did they become doctors then?

JL: They stopped when they had my brothers and sisters they went to medical school.

Q: How many siblings do you have?

JL: Three younger.

Q: Are your parents still activists?

JL: How do I put this? I think they felt that they did a profound amount of work towards the causes they believed in for a l
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