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updated: 8/18/2011 8:20 AM

Hulk, Soup Nazi to greet Wheaton flea market visitors

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  • Actor Lou Ferrigno will be among the celebrities to make an appearance Saturday, Aug. 20, at the 2011 Wheaton All Night Flea Market.

    Actor Lou Ferrigno will be among the celebrities to make an appearance Saturday, Aug. 20, at the 2011 Wheaton All Night Flea Market.
    AP Photo

  • Larry Thomas, famous for his role as the Soup Nazi on the TV show "Seinfeld," will be at the Wheaton All Night Flea Market on Saturday.

    Larry Thomas, famous for his role as the Soup Nazi on the TV show "Seinfeld," will be at the Wheaton All Night Flea Market on Saturday.
    Daily Herald File Photo

By Megan Bannister

What do actors Larry Thomas and Lou Ferrigno have in common?

Generally, not too much.

But on Saturday, Aug. 20, that will change when the infamous "Seinfeld" Soup Nazi and the Incredible Hulk arrive in Wheaton.

The actors are among the celebrities set to appear at the annual All Night Flea Market from 4 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday.

The Daily Herald spoke with both actors this week.

Larry Thomas

"No soup for you."

It has become an iconic catchphrase and a sentence that has defined Thomas's career.

Famous for his role as the Soup Nazi on "Seinfeld," Thomas has appeared on countless other TV shows, from "Arrested Development" to "Scrubs" and "The Tony Danza Show."

Q. Obviously, you're well-known as the Soup Nazi on "Seinfeld." How did you prepare for that role?

A. There was nothing on paper, so they just said prepare for a character called the Soup Nazi and they wanted a Middle Eastern accent. I went home, and for the Middle Eastern accent I put in the videotape of "Lawrence of Arabia" and skipped ahead to Omar Sharif's scenes for the dialect.

Then I kind of thought about it that night and I knew he was going to be some kind of militant food vendor on the streets of New York. Being a fan of the show already, I kind of knew the Seinfeld characters would get on his bad side, be his worst customers.

Just before going to the audition -- I was going to go dressed in blue jeans, a white T-shirt and an apron -- I thought, he's supposed to be a Soup Nazi, he probably wears an army uniform. So I put on a pair of olive green pants and this army shirt I used to wear in the '60s and a beret. And it made me look like Saddam Hussein, frighteningly so.

I've been doing dialects ever since I was in college because of the way I look. I always try to find someone who really has the accent. Sometimes I use a tape with a dialect expert, but I usually try to find an actor or person who really speaks that way.

All the way to the audition I'm in my car trying to sound like Omar Sharif saying, "You're drifting Lawrence. Stop your drifting."

So, of course, I show up at the audition and all of the other guys are wearing blue jeans, T-shirts and an apron and I, of course, felt like a complete idiot.

Q. Recently, you were in Chicago dressed as the Soup Nazi for a White Sox game. You also appeared at a Mets game. How did that come about?

A. Sony brought me to both games. They have a budget to continue to promote "Seinfeld." The past few years they've called because they know I can square off with fans all day long and I don't mind it. I don't get ornery. I like to talk to people for them as a gimmick to represent the show. I have 13-year-olds who tell me how awesome the Soup Nazi is and I'm like, you were two years away from being born when I did that.

Lou Ferrigno

For almost 40 years, Ferrigno has been synonymous with Marvel's Incredible Hulk.

While he no longer regularly dons green body paint, Ferrigno has become an icon.

The actor also has appeared on the TV series "The King of Queens" and is busy working on his latest project, "The Liberator," a short about a superhuman soldier engineered by the government.

Q. How did you first get involved with acting?

A. I was in "Pumping Iron" and I just loved being onstage. I like making people laugh. I just love performing in front of people. So I decided to get into acting.

Q. Do you get tired of people asking about your role as the Incredible Hulk? Are you ready to move on to something new?

A. The Hulk is always part of my whole life. I've just been working on different films. For the new "Avengers" movie I'm planning on doing the voice of the Hulk in the movie. I've been involved with the Hulk for almost 40 years. I love the character and I've had the chance to meet a lot of different people. I became one of the greatest superheroes on Earth. People of all nationalities love the Hulk.

Q. How long did it take to apply and remove the green body paint for your role as the Hulk?

A. It takes three and-a-half hours to put it on. I would wear it 12 hours a day, four to five days a week. Sometimes it takes two to three showers to get it off completely. My toenails stay green for six months.

Q. What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

A. Becoming a real-life deputy (at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department). My father was a police lieutenant and I decided to go through the academy six years ago because I like giving back. I like saving people's lives. I do a lot of search and rescue and I do a lot for the department.

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