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Lee Goes From Tiger to Hulk

Director Ang Lee, who has critical and box office success with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is in talks with producers Gale Anne Hurd (Terminator, Aliens) and Marvel Studios president Avi Arad to direct the feature film version of The Incredible Hulk for Universal Pictures. The latest version of the script has been written by David Hayter (X-Men) based on previous drafts by Michael Tolkin (The Player, Deep Impact) and Mike France (Cliffhanger). 

The Hulk is the story of research scientist Bruce Banner, who is caught in a radiation accident and thereafter when under stress transforms into the Hulk, a heavily muscled, super strong, green-skinned embodiment of his repressed rage. Banner is then pursued by the military for a crime he did not commit. 

Lee's version, to be set in Berkeley, Calif., will be a big-budgeted, heavy special effects film set for release in 2003. No cast has been hired yet. 

"We are really thrilled," said Hurd in a press statement. "Ang will bring the characters and the drama to the foreground, and in addition to his visual storytelling ability, I can't think of anyone today who is operating at a higher level across the board."

Lee is expected to refocus the film from the destructive chase scenes in past scripts to the relationship between Banner and his inner self as the Hulk. The story has been compared to a modern Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, though the Hulk is pure rage and emotion, not evil like Edward Hyde.

Hiring Lee is a definite step in the right direction for the long-discussed project, though it will still require an extensive pre-production period to work on the logistics of the action scenes and special effects. No start date has been chosen for filming.