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Copernicus Reports On An Accidental Visit To The Set Of THE INCREDIBLE HULK!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Copernicus has been around since the dawn of AICN, and I can honestly say he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. If you knew the sort of work he does and if you’d ever heard him speak about his work, you would be afeared of his giant brain, too. Today, though, he sent in a report on a set he just happened to stumble across. It’s a remarkable bit of synchronicity, too, for reason he’ll explain:

As I was walking home from my office yesterday, I could see that the building across the street was clearly transformed into a movie set. This happens all the time in Toronto, but usually it is a low-budget movie, or a Canadian TV show, so at first I barely paid it any attention. But then they had huge lights bounced off giant reflectors, turning an overcast drizzly early evening into daylight. There was a remote-controlled camera on a crane, sound people with boom mikes, a makeshift video booth, where the director and a half-dozen people were huddled around video monitors, set decorators, makeup people, security guards, several police officers, and at least 50 other people standing around on the set apparently doing very little (the dead giveaway that this is a big-budget Hollywood production). After asking around, and seeing the badges of the crew, I saw that this was the set for exactly what I was hoping it would be -- the INCREDIBLE HULK! I called up Head Geek, but at that moment he was watching an IMAX movie about the space station in Washington, D.C. Later he called back and we exchanged notes on the production. This is some kind of crazy coincidence. For the last HULK movie, I had come out of my office (then in Berkeley) to find them filming across the street, which I also wrote up on AICN here. Here we are, 5 years later, I have moved to Toronto, and again they are filming a HULK movie across the street from my office. They had dressed up the Cumberland Building [picture attached], a historic University of Toronto building, as a fraternity or sorrority house (Theta Sigma Lambda), where a luau-themed party was taking place (grass skirts, little palm trees, and other decorations were hung all around). In some of the shots partying extras were coming in and out, and one was carrying a keg. Here's the mysterious part. Ed Norton was dressed in a red cap, a red jacket, and was carrying a red pizza delivery case (the kind that keep pizza's warm), so it looked like he was playing a pizza delivery guy. In this scene he was coming out of the house and putting the pizza case into a bicycle with a giant basket for pizzas on the front. What the hell is going on? Is the Hulk delivering pizzas? Is this something he is doing while he's on the run? Seems more Peter Parker than Bruce Banner, but I'll withhold judgment, because I have no idea what was really going on. Strangely there were a few other guys with red hats and caps scattered around the set. I'm not sure if they were stand-ins or stunt guys, or what. Then today I they were filming again at U of T in the Sir Daniel Wilson Residence quad off of King's College Circle. There were dozens of extras playing college students walking by, and the scene was Liv Tyler (Betty Ross) in a black and white dress meeting a man in suit pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a vest, and giving him a kiss on the cheek. Then they walked off across campus together. I didn't get a good look at the guy, but one of the bystanders who had been there longer than me said he thought it was "that dude from Reservoir Dogs," who I assume is Tim Roth, playing Emil Blonsky (later to become the Abomination). They also had Knox College (a few yards away, but not in that shot), dressed with signs and ornamentation saying (roughly) "Culver University. 150 years of research and development. Driving the future of technology. The building itself was renamed "Maynard Hall," and there were two Culver University Security cars parked nearby, and a US postal truck (something you obviously only see on movie sets in Canada). One other interesting tidbit is that yesterday military-looking camouflaged Humvees were parked nearby, clearly part of the production (but not in this shot). Is the military chasing Banner onto a college campus? One final note -- the production yesterday was a demonstration in how not to treat fans. When Ang Lee was filming his version they kept the scientists at my lab informed about it, and involved. They took pictures of us at the cafeteria to see what scientists wear to work. They talked to people about the science going on there. They didn't mind if interested bystanders watched what they were shooting. After all, these guys are taking over your workplace, using up all the nearby parking, and sometimes closing off streets and buildings, the least they could do is be friendly about it. This set was the exact opposite. Even though the filming was happening in a completely enclosed, gated area, they didn't want people standing on the public sidewalk (outside the gates) watching them film. They of course had no authority to shoo people away from the sidewalk, so they were giving out this BS line that "The actors have requested that people not watch them work, so you can't stand here." This, despite the fact that there were 50+ people standing around actually on the set, much closer, and there were only about 3-4 standing on the sidewalk. These security guys had no real authority to make people move (the cops standing nearby couldn't care less), so they just relied on being bullies and implying that they had the authority to run you off the public spaces on your own campus where you work every day (again *outside* of the set). Today the security people seemed nicer, but then again there was so much open space they could not have hoped to keep people from looking. Let's hope those first security guys were just bad apples, and the production will treat the fans and the people whose lives they are inconveniencing a little better. -Copernicus
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