THE BIG ASK

LOU FER­RIGNO

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

EVER SINCE he burst on to TV screens 30 years ago as The In­cred­i­ble Hulk, cham­pion body-builder Lou Fer­rigno’s love af­fair with the jolly green gi­ant has shown no signs of slow­ing down. What brings you to Aus­tralia? I’m com­ing out for the big (pop cul­ture expo) show Su­panova. I’m ex­cited about it be­cause I’ll get a chance to meet the fans. It’s an ex­cit­ing event for Melbourne. Is meet­ing your fans at th­ese types of events some­thing you en­joy? I do the big shows in Europe and the US but I’ve never done one Down Un­der so I’m ex­cited be­cause it gives me a chance to min­gle with them and talk about the Hulk se­ries. It’s a real treat, es­pe­cially for the diehard fans who have been with me for the past 35 or 40 years. Have you been to Aus­tralia be­fore? About 13 years ago. I guest posed in a body-build­ing com­pe­ti­tion. De­spite hav­ing done a lot in your ca­reer, do you find you are still best known as the In­cred­i­ble Hulk? Yes. I’m in­volved with the Hulk movie com­ing out in June. I’m ex­cited be­cause the legacy con­tin­ues. Is bear­ing the man­tle of Hulk a bless­ing or a curse? Ev­ery­body iden­ti­fies with him. I’ve played the Hulk my whole life, so I’m very close to the char­ac­ter. I en­joy it be­cause he’s a good guy and he fights evil. Su­per­heroes at­tract peo­ple to­day be­cause of power, es­pe­cially the Hulk be­cause of the way he looks and with his mus­cles. I had al­ways as­pired to be a body­build­ing cham­pion be­cause my dream since I was 12 was to one day play the Hulk. How did you get the role? It came about when I was train­ing for the Mr Olympia com­pe­ti­tion. There was a big guy be­fore me, more than 213cm tall, named Richard Kiel, who was play­ing the Hulk and they re­alised he wasn’t built like the Hulk.

So they did a na­tion­wide search and had me go down for the screen test and act and look like the Hulk. It was the right time and place and I started work the next day. What do Hulk fans ask you? They want to know about the makeup, how long the process takes, how long the episodes were, did I do all my own stunt work. We still had the old-fash­ioned spe­cial-ef­fects and that’s why it raises ques­tions to­day. Did you do your own stunts? I did 99 per cent— ev­ery­thing apart from jump­ing out of win­dows. That was done by a stunt dou­ble be­cause I’m afraid of heights. Was it fun play­ing the Hulk? It was a fan­tas­tic role. I never liked the make-up, but I loved the char­ac­ter be­cause it gave me a chance to ex­per­i­ment and learn about act­ing. Are you of­ten recog­nised as the Hulk in pub­lic? All the time. Be­cause be­ing a fa­mous body-builder and hav­ing been on TV, ev­ery­body knows me. You’ve worked hard to be taken se­ri­ously as an ac­tor. Has the Hulk made it harder to get other roles? It did type­cast me, but I didn’t mind be­cause it made me fa­mous. A lot of peo­ple who have TV se­ries are forgotten, but it gave me the chance to break out from the char­ac­ter. That’s why I am do­ing com­edy be­cause it is some­thing dif­fer­ent. Some peo­ple get type­cast one way or an­other, but I’m happy to be in­volved with the new Hulk movie be­cause it con­tin­ues the legacy to­day. Do you still work out ev­ery day? I work out for an hour and a half to keep in shape. I’m still 122.5kg, still in great shape like I used to look. I’m also a per­sonal trainer. What was it like to train Michael Jack­son? He came to me be­cause he wanted pri­vacy and wanted to change his eat­ing habits. I’ve seen ev­ery­one.

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