Back in 1977, when Lou Ferrigno first donned green make-up to star in The Hulk, he was just 25 years old, a two-time Mr. Universe with no real acting experience. But except for all the ripped shirts, his TV role turned out to be a perfect fit. He convincingly growled and flexed his way through five seasons and three subsequent TV movies, the last airing in 1990. (Those telefilms and the series pilot episode are now on DVD). Since then, Ferrigno, 51, has stayed in shape, written his autobiography (available at www.louferrigno.com) and landed a recurring role on The King of Queens. And this Friday, he can be seen making a cameo in Ang Lee's big-budget Hulk feature. Here, we catch up with the former (not-so-jolly) green giant.
TV Guide Online: So how many times could you bench-press your Queens co-star, Kevin James?
Ferrigno: I don't know. If he let me try, I probably could do him more than a few.
TVGO: Like five, six, seven times?
Ferrigno: Yeah. Haven't done it though.
TVGO: How much can you bench-press now if you're maxing out?
Ferrigno: Well now I could still probably do 400 lbs., one drop.
TVGO: And what was it before?
Ferrigno: 560, in my prime when I was 25.
TVGO: Wow, that's a lot of weight.
Ferrigno: Yeah, I still train very hard. I train a lot of people on the side as a personal trainer, but I still work out myself to keep in great shape.
TVGO: Michael Jackson was a personal training client of yours. Did he wear make-up when he worked out?
Ferrigno: Not so much I know of, but when Michael's with me, he's really himself. And I always have a great time with Michael.
TVGO: I heard that director Ang Lee does a pretty good impression of you as the Hulk.
Ferrigno: He did, and it was very funny. After my last scene of shooting, the photographer wanted to take a picture, so then [Ang] ended up doing the Hulk pose next to me. And we're both doing the Hulk pose right before the camera. I remember getting a standing ovation from the crew, and everybody was throwing the Hulk pose and chanting and jumping up and down. I couldn't believe how everybody reacted to my filming on the set; it was overwhelming.
For more of Danny Spiegel's interview with Ferrigno, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale now.