In The Incredible Hulk, long-time character actor Tim Roth leaps onto summer's biggest stage as Emil Blonsky, a soldier brought in by General Ross (William Hurt) to hunt down Bruce Banner and bring him back alive. But when Blonsky learns that Banner isn't "just another fugitive," he begins to want the kind of power Banner has hidden deep within. Yet, with that power comes a very large price -- and if he's not careful enough, Blonsky could end up turning into an abomination. Cinematical managed to snag Roth for a few moments to ask him about the character and what it's like for him to be appearing in such a giant film, as well as whether he'd be down for Hulk sequels and more fun with his pal Quentin Tarantino.
Cinematical: Is it important to start the character in a very realistic fashion given the wild changes he goes through in Act III?
Tim Roth: Yeah, I think what's interesting -- and what was interesting about doing it -- was that there was a real arc to the character. He goes through many different versions of himself before he finally goes over the top in the end. So it would've been a little less intriguing for me as an actor if I had a couple of scenes in the beginning and then suddenly I'm the monster. Yeah, that would've been a little dull ... but it was really the opposite in this case, because we really got to develop the character and play around with different aspects. See him as he's becoming more addicted to this; I mean, it's kind of like the journey of a weird junkie in a way.
Cinematical: Exactly. You seemed like you were having the most fun as an actor in between stages, where Blonsky had a little bit of the juice in him, but he was kind of learning how to live with it. Did you wish there was more of that in the film?
TR: Oh yeah, it was great. And, sure, you want to do more -- and maybe there will be -- but the thing that's kind of interesting is that where you want to get to is that you have the character and every time he's not on the screen, people want him back. You always want to leave them wanting it. Wanting more with the character. And in the same sense of a film I did awhile back called Rob Roy, it was great because he came just at the point where people were needing him. And I think that's what happens with Blonsky.
Cinematical: What was the best part about playing Blonsky/Abomination?
TR: The whole experience, really. I've never done anything like this; never been in any kind of action movie, comic book thing. I've always been very envious of the guys who got to do these kinds of movies -- ya know, I've always wanted to do one of these Marvel characters; I take my kids to see them all the time. And, finally, they came to me and I was thrilled to do it. So I decided to have fun from beginning to end, and they gave me the room to really invent and play with this character, and to make him a really juicy bad guy. Every day at the office was a good one for me.
Cinematical: Did you go back and read a lot of the comics -- because the film itself doesn't give a whole lot of backstory for Blonsky ...
TR: Yeah, it jumps right in, which is good. Actually, I did -- I went back and had a good look around at the stuff with Abomination and Blonsky, and he's a product of the Cold War which I think is kind of appropriate because we can jump in to where we are now and it feels right. Ya know, the idea of people as weaponry and all that. I looked at that stuff, talked to Ed [Norton] about backstory and all that. But then I just went to town with it. It's not an Abomination origins movie ... but there are nods in that direction.
Cinematical: As far as the monster, Abomination, did you voice the character? How much input did you have on the monster itself? How much of Abomination is you?
TR: Oh, a lot. They were incredibly open to suggestions and I was certainly involved very early on, talking to them about what I liked -- they'd show me a rough version and say, 'What if he did this?' or 'What if he did that?' And also in how he moved; that was a decision left up to me and movement guys. Your input was needed and you felt like it was needed, and it became an incredible hands-on experience. And the voice, the way he talked, moved -- yeah, all that.
Cinematical: So that was your voice?
TR: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Cinematical: I've heard rumors that there's a much longer cut of the film. Have you seen a longer cut?
TR: Put it this way: You're going to get some very interesting things [laughs] on the DVD out of this.
Cinematical: So there were a bunch of scenes that were left out then?
TR: Oh yeah, yeah -- that's in every film. But I think you're going to get a lot of it, which is terrific -- especially for hardcore fans. They'll get a kick out of it.
Cinematical: I've always heard it's more fun playing the villain. Is that true? Do you like playing the villain versus the good guy?
TR: Depends on the good guy! You know, the good guys that really work -- especially in this sort of stuff -- are the ones who are walking a very fine line between being a bad guy and being a good guy. That's like a lot of these superheroes; they're all right on the edge. I think that's why films like Iron Man work, because you're playing around in a very gray area there.
Cinematical: I don't want to spoil it for people at home, but are you signed on for a sequel? Is this something you're interested in taking to another film?
TR: Yeah. Because now with what Marvel is doing with the Marvel universe -- ya know, I've signed on for three movies, but I don't know in what form that will be. There may be movies, there may not be. It may be that this character goes elsewhere, who knows. It's different now because Marvel is doing these themselves inside the Marvel universe. Look at the connection between Iron Man and the Hulk.
Cinematical: Yes, exactly, and that's the really fun thing about these films. I don't think we've ever seen this kind of connection between films ever ....
TR: No, it's so smart of them to do it.
Cinematical: So you're definitely interested in the sequel.
TR: If they want me, I'm there.
Cinematical: Now I have to ask because the guy's been running all over, saying he's in pre-production on the film -- but what's the deal with Tarantino and Inglorious Bastards? Are you in it? Have you talked to Quentin?
TR: Yeah, It's something me and Quentin had talked about over the years, and I don't know what's happening. If Quentin wants me, I'm there. But it's been years and years in the making. It's gonna be fun, though. If it's coming from Quentin, it's gonna be fun. I'm perfectly happy to roll up; I don't even need to read the script. Just tell me where to stand.
Cinematical: I know you've directed in the past, do you have more plans to step behind the camera?
TR: Sure, I have a couple scripts that are ready to go, but it's such a huge chunk of your life to direct. Two years, at least, and I've got kids that are still in the junior high stage of their lives, and I kind of want to hang around and be around for them. So I'll wait until they're through high school before I get back to it. At least that's how I feel at the moment.
Cinematical: Ya know, they're making a sequel to everything these days. Are there any characters of yours that you'd love to revisit some day?
TR: I'd like to do the Pulp Fiction character.
Cinematical: That's pretty awesome -- have you ever talked to Quentin about that?
TR: Yeah, we did -- we talked about it before, because he thought they would've been good in Natural Born Killers; those two characters. We've often talked about it -- day dreams -- about taking those characters and making a film around them.
Cinematical: Any dream roles? Any character you've always wanted to play?
TR: You know, I've always liked ... in the Shakespeare center, I've always liked Iago from Othello. I always thought he'd be a fun character to play. But, you know, I'm kinda going for anything, really. As long as I'm having fun, I'm alright.
Cinematical: And what do you have coming up next?
TR: Well at the moment I'm unemployed. But I do have a few things going; there's this little independent movie that if I can work it out schedule-wise, I'd love to do. It's about fundamentalist Christian politicians ... which is kind of a trip. So hopefully I'll get to do that.
For more on The Incredible Hulk, check out Moviefone's Unscripted chat with Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and director Louis Leterrier.