Willaim Hurt enjoys playing characters that have complicated internal issues, and therefore really enjoyed playing General Ross in The Incredible Hulk. While promoting the new film Vantage Point, the Calgary Herald spoke to Hurt a bit about his character in the new film featuring Marvel's gamma-powered hero.
Hurt maintains that no character is a pure and simple villain, from General Ross to Shakespeare's Richard II, who Hurt played at Winnipeg's Manitoba Theatre Centre. In the case of General Ross, his conflict centers around his hunt for his own son-in-law, Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk.
Hurt accepted the role in part because of his own love for the comic of The Hulk as a child. "I did, I did. I loved it. So I didn't blink -- I jumped at this. And then I find out after I signed up that it's one of my children's favorites."
Describing the conflict within General Ross, Hurt said "He wants Hulk's power, but is humiliated by Hulk's conscience: he actually sees and recognizes that it's more developed than his own, even though he's a patriot and a warrior for his country. He's sacrificed enormously for that purpose, but at the expense at times of his humanity -- which he occasionally recovers."
So, could Hurt ever play a more simple character? "I don't think I could identify with anyone who wasn't questioning himself. You'd have to play a simpleton or a crazy person or an angel . . . a pathologue or a saint."
The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton, William Hurt, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth smashes into theatres on June 13, 2008.