Anti-smoking watchdog groups might not be too pleased with William Hurt's turn as the stogy-chomping Gen. Thaddeus Ross in The Incredible Hulk, but the gruff, unscrupulous character was one of the film's pleasant surprises. Like Jeff Bridges as Iron Man's Obadiah Stane, the Hollywood veteran was rendered almost unrecognizable, called upon to play the villain beneath some bushy facial outcroppings and the corrugated complexion of a former pretty-boy pushing 60. Sitting down with a starstruck CNN correspondent, Hurt couldn't underscore enough just how "not fun" the creative process was:
CNN: Well, how much fun did you have playing this role?
Hurt: I don't call it fun, I call it work. If it was fun, they wouldn't call it work. I mean, play is play, fun is fun and work is work. They're different.
Hurt: I work hard, even if it's supposed to be fun for someone else, it's work for me.
CNN: You [worked with] a great cast of characters — really accomplished actors and actresses, that really take their craft seriously. So did you have a great time on set with them?
Hurt: It's not a party.
CNN: But it's nice to be around people who like to work as hard as you do.
Hurt: I like to work. I'm glad, I'm privileged to have work. But I approach it that way and I don't go ... I'm not going out at night. I'm not going to party. I'm going to go do something that will make me break a sweat.
Still unconvinced that the summer-blockbuster-making process isn't something akin to sleepaway camp for famous people, the CNN reporter then pressed, "Well, but let's say you're at the premiere party. And, like, there's an open bar, and all the people who made the movie with you are there—like Edward's there, and Liv, and...Tim! Can't forget Tim—and everyone's eating from the fondue fountain and having cocktails and just toasting to a job well done. Then is it fun? Is your job fun then?" at which point Hurt was reduced to using a nearby bowl of fruit to fully illustrate the concepts, with green apples representing "work," nectarines "fun," and a single, ripe banana standing in for the concept of "play."