Lou Ferrigno Interview at Wizard World Portland

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Recently while attending Wizard World Comic Convention in Portland, OR I had the privilege to sit down with one the true icons of the superhero world, the original Hulk himself Mr. Lou Ferrigno! I decided to focus less on his time as The Hulk, as most interviews with him I’ve read just seem to dwell on only that subject. For this one, I decided to focus on some of the other aspects surrounding this fascinating man such as bodybuilding, travel, volunteer work and more. Even though I only had a brief talk, I still think we covered some interesting topics. Enjoy!

I watched Pumping Iron the other night to prepare for this interview. What was it that got you involved in weight lifting and body building in the first place?

  • As a child, I had a hard time dealing with a hearing and speech issue and that led me to reading a comic “The Bodybuilder” which inspired me to start working out.

How has the hearing issue been lately? What do you use to cope?

  • I can’t go much into detail, but I had a surgery and I hear very well now.

How did the documentary Pumping Iron come about anyway?

  • It was after I won Mr. Universe. George Dean wrote a book called Pumping Iron and it was a best seller. They decided that they would like me and Arnold to compete one more time. I decided to train for the 1975 Mr. Olympia because they wanted to make a movie out of it and bring it to the mainstream’s attention.

When I was watching it, I had a thought and wanted to share it with you. It seems almost like Rocky, seeing your two clashing personalities. Arnold seemed to enjoy living up the fame and life in the fast lane, while you seemed almost like a blue collar hero of sorts. Did you see that in the final product?

  • Oh yeah, definitely. It was like I was the boy next door type and Arnold was a bit arrogant and living it up.

You seemed a bit like friendly rivals in that one. Was there ever any real animosity though?

  • No. We had our differences, but there was no real animosity. Even though I could still kick his ass (laughing).

Was he trying to psyche you out in it?

  • Not really. When we filmed it, I had only trained about eight weeks for the contest, so I wasn’t at my best. So, he played that part up.

Do you still talk to him?

  • Yeah, I saw him just last week. He was doing okay.

When you landed the role on The Hulk, was that directly related to Pumping Iron?

  • Yes. They heard of me from that and I went down for the screen test, did the audition and got the part.

How was the experience in South Africa for Pumping Iron?

  • It was tough because we were really working hard and dogging it, so we couldn’t enjoy all the good food there. But, I had a good time being there because it was the other side of the world. You got a chance to see it and see all of the animals. Especially with that cheetah, even though it scared the crap out of me. Thought it was going to bite my nuts off.

How about that flight? I know it’s a long one and a hard one to take.

  • It was a long one, especially since it wasn’t on a jet. It was a regular airplane. You’re on there forever. We got very little sleep. Every time the guy in front of me would lean back, it would be like the back of the seat was on my chest.

My last question is about your Deputy Sheriff inductions over the years in various departments. How did these come about? Did they approach you? What kind of duties have you had?

  • No, I came to them. I talked to the Sheriff. They talked about going through the academy, so I decided to go through the academy and get certified. I do everything. Search and rescue, all kinds of stuff and I keep very busy at it.

—January 24th, 2015

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