Friday, June 13, 2008

The Incredible Hulk, Rio de Janeiro, and the Illusion of Reality

As you may or may not know, The Incredible Hulk, Part 2, opens today worldwide. Including in Brazil, where many of the scenes were filmed. The director of the movie, who is French, "fell in love with the amazing slums of Rio" when he saw a picture of Rocinha, one of the biggest in South America, at about 300,000. So he decided to take his Hollywood stars, Edward Norton, William Hurt, and Liv Tyler, down there to film...the exterior shots. He did not film anything beside some chase scenes and a few sces in a "factory" where Bruce Banner works and hides out.

But here's the catch: the director, in love with Brazil and its "amazing" favelas, was not interested in using any Brazilian actors, except for one woman who works in the factory with Bruce, and the Jiu-Jitsu star, Rickson Gracie, who plays his fighting instructor. Louis Leterrier, in his attempt to make the Hulk frachise a success after the total failure of Ang Lee's attempt at it, used only Canadian actors, who spoke, or tried to speak Portuguese.

As Leterrier explains, when interviewed by a journalist for Jornal da Cidade, Bauru's local paper: "I wanted to use more Brazilian actors, but it was too expensive to take them to canada, where we spent three months filming the interior (of the shacks and the factory). I understand, because I don't like it when American productions film in France and only use half a dozen french actors. I can only apologize."

The movie also shows Edward Norton hiding out in Rocinha, which is also not the case. The drug traffickers of Rocinha did not give permission to film, so the actual exterior shots are filmed in oone of the few favelas has no drug trade, Tavares Bastos. And when Bruce goes to 'Guatemala' in the movie, he is actually in the forest preserve of Tijuca, in Rio.

The reality is that he could have worked with the government of Rio de Janeiro to actually film interiors in Brazil. With real Brazilians, speaking actual Portuguese. But that didn't happen. Movies are about suspending disbelief, but the excuse that you had to film the interiors in Canada, and couldn't bring along Brazilians, does not hold water.

So, if you take the time and want to waste, I mean, spend your money on this new version of the failed Hulk movie, just realize that you are not watching what you think you are watching, and I don't mean a green monster.

An amazing country to film in, but not really. That is Brazil, it seems, for Hollywood. Great shots, but work with the actual people there...forget it.


la francaise said...

interesting post daddydan!

i was quite surprised to see ed norton in this computer generated blockbuster for the masses...

i visited rochina while in brazil on my rotary exchange program...

what an illusion, you are right!

Anonymous said...

So many reasons to hate this stupid movie, this is just another one. Reminds you of the reasoning the Bushies use for not putting Iraqis to work on rebuilding their own country. Pathetic.