Exclusive Interview : Christina Cabot

“The Incredible Hulk” co-star talks to Moviehole

Christina Cabot is about to become a major star, thanks to her role as Major Kathleen ‘Kat’ Sparr in the new blockbuster ‘The Incredible Hulk’. CLINT MORRIS talks to the New York-based actress about sharing the Green Screen with the Green Guy.

How excited were you when you were informed you’d gotten the role?
Oh, it was amazing! Everyone was very, very excited for me. I had my lawyer on email, my agent on the cell phone, and my best friend on the land-line concurrently! I had been living with the possibility of it happening for several weeks, but because of the nature of this business tried to keep any premature elation in check. When it was finally a done deal, I was like, ‘Ahhhhh! Let’s celebrate, and then get to work.’

How did you get the role?
Edward Norton is someone whom I’d worked with prior to [Hulk]. He’s actually become one of my dearest, dearest friends. At some point during the writing of the script he began to envision the formerly male character of Sparr as a woman, and thought that I may be the one who should take her on. After a draft was completed I read the script, met with the director and got the gig!

Was it nerve-wracking working on a big film, I assume all most of your scenes are with William Hurt…?
I’ll tell you what was nerve-wracking ‘ learning how to handle an AK14! You see, although Sparr is very technically inclined and we only see her handling the strategic elements of the Hulk hunt, she is a decorated soldier who has definitely seen action. So it was important to do some military training along with Tim Roth and the team of commando’s. Our military trainers and advisors were really terrific. Because of them, I was able to transmute any nervous energy into the adrenaline needed for ‘storming a room’ during practice drills!
Luckily for me, most of my scenes are with William, who is such a phenomenally committed and exceptional actor. And when you’re working with someone as intelligent as William Hurt, you have the added bonus of engaging in fascinating conversation during set-ups. There’s such a wealth of knowledge and a depth of contextual thinking where he is concerned, and I enjoyed talking politics and history with him a great deal.

Edward Norton isn’t apparently over-the-moon with the current version of the film ‘ the studio’s version. What’s your take?
I haven’t seen the film yet. Filmmaking is such a collaborative art, and I’m always inclined to think any creative dialogue is bound to produce both agreement and debate. But is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so. The shooting script was wonderful ‘ full of action, and also full of very rich and textured characters that an audience could actually care about. I’m eager to see if that comes through in the final cut.

Why do you think they remade Hulk?
I think that Marvel values their fan-base tremendously and knows that people have strong opinions as to how they’d like to see these great comic book heroes presented. The idea that art is not static is exciting to me. Rather than think of it as a ‘throwing out/starting again’ paradigm, I look at it as way in which we are able to impart to fans previously unseen aspects of very iconic characters.

Did you do any research?
While preparing for the movie I read the comic books, but as a kid was a big fan of ‘TIH’ tv series. I definitely responded to Banner’s vulnerability, thinking about how hard it must be to have something inside that he can’t control, something that no one else can relate to. And I think everyone at some point fantasizes about how cool it would be to morph into a superhero and take down their nemesis!
I really got into watching video’s posted by soldiers on youtube and myspace, and read interviews with interesting female officers like Gen. Wilma Vaught and Army Reservist Sue Devitt . This really helped me to understand what it’s like to be a woman in what is essentially a man’s army, and gave me a great sense of the tremendous courage, fortitude and strength needed to survive in that world. But what I really wanted to do with Sparr was to explore an issue many soldiers today seem to be facing: how do I sustain my innate sense of duty and the desire to fight for what is good and right, when the very lines that determine what is good and right are constantly being blurred? To that end, I found Yoko Ono Lennon’s website to be an inspiring and amazing place to turn. There were links to sites such as Gold Star Families, and Not in Our Name as well as eloquent messages posted by people around that world that spoke of the tragic realities of war and the false belief that all conflicts can or should be solved militarily.

How is Louis Letterier, your director, to work with?
Louis rocks! He’s someone with a decisive sense of what he wants in a shot, yet still approaches the work with a collective spirit. I think everyone appreciated and was moved by his amazing capacity to give of himself 100% percent at all times.

What’s next for you?
Well, I’ve a couple of projects in the works, but it’s a bit too premature to discuss’stay tuned!

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