Tim Roth says he first took Marvel role in ‘Incredible Hulk’ to embarrass his kids

Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky She-Hulk. (Photo: ©Disney+/Marvel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection)

While many Marvel fans have certainly wondered what happened to Emil Blonsky, aka Abominable, during the 12 or 13 years since The Incredible HulkTim Roth did not.

“I never bothered to even think about it,” admits the 61-year-old London-born actor, who played Blonsky so long ago that another actor, Edward Norton, was still playing the scientist-turned-Hulk-shredder. Bruce Banner.

“At first I only did it for my kids. They were little and going to school and I thought, “Daddy is a monster. This is hilarious.’ I made two movies about it, Planet of the Apesdad is a monkey, and The [Incredible] Vessel, dad is a monster, and also to embarrass them, which is always a good thing. And I succeeded.” (Roth has three sons, who were about 12, 13, and 24 when The Incredible Hulk released.)

That’s not to say Roth’s experience with the Hulk didn’t make the actor, whose character returned in CGI form with a cameo in last year’s Shang-Chi and is now starring in the Disney+ series She-Hulk: Lawyer, to a low-key Marvel fan. Or at least a boring hobby in particular.

“I travel with their movies when I’m in a hotel room or if I’m on a plane and I have my iPad, I’ll [put on] Deadpool,” he says. “It’s great, the R-rated Marvel universe with comedy at its core. I think they broke the mold with stuff like that. I think it’s exciting.”

THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Tim Roth, 2008. ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Tim Roth in 2008 The Incredible Hulk. (Photo: ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Technically, Roth’s return to the MCU came in 2021 Shang-Chi. The titular hero (Simu Liu) watches the Abomination – Blonsky’s malevolent Hulk-like monster transformed after a dose of super-serum gone wrong in The Incredible Hulk — Fighting Wong in an underground cage match (the moment, it turns out, was setting up a She-Hulk plot point). But the actor worked very little in it. “I think, all in all, I was in the studio for about 10 minutes,” laughs Roth. And what he recorded, from the sounds of it, was mostly grunts.

Roth is back in the flesh She-Hulk. Blonsky, seeking parole after his rampage in Harlem The Incredible Hulk, is the first client Walters is assigned to defend her new company GLK&H — initially much to her chagrin, since she tried to kill her cousin. But Blonsky is a changed man (he even writes haiku now!), or at least we think he is so far, as Marvel is doing a neat job redeeming his character. “I was under direct orders from your government,” Blonsky reminds Walters.

The Reservoir Dogs and Rob Roy The actor says Blonksy’s character change dates back to conversations he had with Kevin Feige and Stan Lee on the set of the film. The Incredible Hulk. “We’d hang out and say, ‘Okay, if there was a sequel,’ and their idea was that they’d seal him in a steel box, a vault, and drop him to the bottom of the ocean and he’d be gone. So that when he comes to remove himself from this environment, he had a lot of time to think. And in a sense, there is a similarity, that he was in a maximum security vault, isolated in a bubble and had a lot of time to play and think.”

With his role in She-HulkRoth becomes one of the few actors who have now played opposite multiple Hulks in Norton and Mark Ruffalo, who took on the role of Bruce Banner in 2012. The Avengers.

“They’re very different people,” says Roth. “Now it’s like she’s way down with Mark. [With Edward]that was the beginning [we were] finding ourselves. They are two incredible actors. Oops, excuse my language. But they are incredible actors… I always wanted to work with Mark. I’m a fan. And we sit and laugh in these silly costumes and chat and shoot the breeze and do all these things. Are different; Yes. They are different people. What Ed did was evolve it. And he’s been following Banner since before [Lou Ferrigno] TV series and the theme of Ang Lee [2003’s Hulk starring Eric Bana]. And he took it very seriously. Now there’s this huge development that Mark has gone through…what he’s turned it into and what he’s made it into. So, in a sense, I had to be at the beginning and then jump at the end and it was an incredibly wild ride.

“Appreciate. It’s a lot of fun, plus I still embarrass my kids, so it’s fine.”

She-Hulk: Lawyer currently streaming on Disney+.

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