"Come Spring, Berkeley Lab May Spawn Mutant 'Incredible Hulk' in New Film"

by Rong-Gong Lin II, The Daily Californian, 30 January 2002

Parts of a new movie based on the "Incredible Hulk" are set to be filmed in Berkeley this spring if a deal between the studio, the city and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can be reached.

"The Hulk" is being directed by Ang Lee and co-written by UC Berkeley alumnus James Schamus, who are both known for their work in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

A new adaptation of "The Incredible Hulk" comic book series, the film involves a research scientist whose radiation experiment goes awry, causing him to mutate into a green-skinned, powerful monster. The army later attempts to capture the Hulk.

Universal Studios is considering using the Berkeley lab as the setting for the scientist's transformation into the Hulk. The studio is interested in using the lab's distinctive dome-shaped Advanced Light Source building in the Berkeley Hills, said Ron Kolb, a spokesperson for the UC-run lab.

"They like the looks of it from the inside. It's pretty fantastic," Kolb said. "They're looking at us as a prospective place, (but) we haven't made the commitment yet."

The studio has contacted the Berkeley Film Office to apply for permits to film in residential areas in April, said Barbara Hillman, the city's film commissioner in charge of coordinating film permits.

The studio is also looking at other Bay Area cities in which to shoot portions of the movie, while the rest will be filmed in a southern California studio.

The film is scheduled to be released in June 2003. The movie will also involve the "near destruction of San Francisco," according to the Coming Attractions Web site.

Eric Bana, who played a role in "Black Hawk Down," is set to star as the Hulk. Jennifer Connelly of "A Beautiful Mind" and Nick Nolte are expected to have prominent roles.

There are still no details on the length of the shoot or if the studio will need extras in Berkeley.

The studio has not yet asked UC Berkeley for permission to film on campus, said Barb Evans, the campus's filming coordinator.

Shooting a major film here is a potential boon for local businesses, such as hotels, hardware stores and dry cleaners, Hillman said.

Lab spokesperson Kolb said that filming at the Berkeley lab is a way to make the national facility better-known.

But as part of the filming agreement, Kolb said the studios would need to film when the lab's facilities are not being used by scientists. About 2,000 researchers use the Advanced Light Source every year.

"One of the stipulations if we were to agree to this commitment is that none of the research could be negatively impacted," Kolb said, which may limit filming to weekends or evenings.

But the Advanced Light Source is scheduled to be completely shut down for routine maintenance in the spring, which would be the "window of opportunity" to film there, Kolb said.

The Advanced Light Source houses the synchrotron, used to emit light, like X-rays, for uses such as examining the structures of atoms and molecules. The building is one of the original laboratories constructed in the 1940s.

An agreement to film at the lab would also require official review of the script, to make sure it "does not reflect badly or misrepresent the laboratory or the university," Kolb said.

He added that the details of a permit agreement should be outlined in the next few weeks.

Both the city and lab would be reimbursed for additional costs involved with filming, such as additional security or electricians. But neither would make a profit.

©2002 The Daily Californian

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