The experience is universal. When we were kids we all wanted to grow up to become our favorite superheroes — and Hollywood superstar Matthew McConaughey is no exception. He has long wanted to play the Marvel character the Hulk, and he almost had a chance.
While the actor wasn’t much of a comic book reader in his childhood, he loved watching Lou Ferrigno play as “The Incredible Hulk” on the popular ’70s TV show.
“It was an hour show,” McConaughey told MTV News (via IGN), “(And) you knew he was gonna turn green (and) get big two times in that hour. So at 7:22 you knew he’d do it, and at 7:39 you knew he’d do it — so if you were going to go make a milkshake or something, you better be back by 7:22 or 7:39, ’cause he was about to turn green.”
McConaughey liked the character so much he even pitched himself to play the not-so-jolly green giant, but Marvel turned him down. The actor briefly shared about the experience on a recent episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast with Josh Horowitz.
Read their exchange here:
Horowitz: You never got your chance to play Bruce Banner, or David Banner in the show, did you?
McConaughey: No, I didn’t.
McConaughey: Wanted it.
Horowitz: Did you throw your hat in the ring? Did you say, I’m game, if you guys are?
Horowitz: No kidding?
McConaughey: They said, No, thank you.
Horowitz: Can’t get ’em all, I guess.
McConaughey chose not to spend more time rehashing the encounter.
“The actor’s hesitancy to go into detail indicates the Hulk rejection may still sting after all these years,” Alex McGuire of Screen Rant pointed out.
The exact timeline in which the Oscar winner expressed interest in the role remains unclear. He could have been vying for any of the past three iterations of the green superhero. However, an article from The Direct speculates that the actor was eyeing the most recent version of the Hulk, which was performed by Edward Norton before the role was recasted with Mark Ruffalo.
“If Matthew McConaughey (had taken over) as Bruce Banner in ‘The Avengers,’ audiences would have gotten a much different interpretation of the Hulk,” the article states. “Whereas Mark Ruffalo brought a humble quietude to his Bruce Banner, McConaughey could have been a much smoother-talking incarnation of the character.”
Marvel reportedly offered McConaughey the role of Ego, the celestial heavy in 2016’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but he turned it down and the spot was eventually filled by Kurt Russell.
Now, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever-expanding and the multiverse on the horizon, McConaughey may still have a chance to don the famous purple trousers sometime in the future. But in the meantime, the actor seems perfectly content promoting his new memoir and teaching classes at the University of Texas at Austin.