Hulk Goes to Rhythm & Hues

Marvel Studios has tapped vfx house Rhythm & Hues Studios to create the CG-animated star of its upcoming feature film The Incredible Hulk, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s still unclear whether the film will be a sequel to Universal’s tepidly received 2003 Ang Lee film or a complete do-over, though recasting on both the acting and vfx sides suggests the latter. Rhythm & Hues has reportedly done a complete re-design of the Hulk character, which Industrial Light & Magic brought to life for the first film.

Having brought Scooby-Doo and the The Chronicles of Narnia‘s Aslan to the big screen, Rhythm & Hues is adept at creating both cartoonish and photo-realistic character animtion. Given the comic-book origins of the big green guy, the Hulk gig could call for a mix of the two, especially if the anger-fueled superhero is going to be leaping miles into the air like he did in his last cinematic outing. The studio will continue to straddle that line with other upcoming projects, New Line Cinema’s His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass and the Fox 2000 Pictures/ Fox Animation’s live-action/CG movie based on the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon series.

Like the upcoming Iron Man movie, The Incredible Hulk is being independently produced by Marvel Studios through its $525 million, non-recourse film finance facility and will be distributed domestically and in several international territories by Universal Pictures. The pic is being directed by action specialist Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, Unleashed) from a script by Zak Penn (X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand).

Based on the Marvel comic-book series created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the movie is scheduled to start production in Toronto in June for a June 27, 2008 release. No casting decisions have been announced but internet rumors have had Oscar winner Adrian Brody topping the list of actors likely to take over the role of Bruce Banner, first played by the late Bill Bixby on television and by Eric Bana on the big screen. The Incredible Hulk will hit theaters just weeks after the May 2 bow of director Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges.