How do you not love Tim Blake Nelson? If not for his work as an actor (O Brother, Where Art Thou? being only the most popular example), then for his work as a filmmaker. This guy took Othello, placed it in a high school and made it really good. Don’t believe me? Go rent O and see for yourself.

He’s working now on a new film, Leaves of Grass*, where he’s directing Incredible Hulk buddy Edward Norton as twins. While doing some early promotional work for that film, Nelson got cornered by MTV to talk about the possibility of Hulk 2, and whether or not he thought Norton would be back.

“Well, I’m signed on to do ‘Hulk 2’ and ‘3’ whether Edward’s there or not, so it’s not even up to me,” he explained. “When I agreed to do ‘Hulk,’ I signed off for two sequels, so it’s a moot question. I certainly hope Edward is on the sequel — but that’s up to Marvel and Edward.”

He said that he and Norton joked about Hulk while making Leaves of Grass, and that he likes working with the guy (how many directors say that these days?), but with or without Norton he’s excited to come back as The Leader, fully transformed, in Hulk 2.

“I’m eager to do ‘Hulk 2’ if they make it,” he said. “I already did [research into The Leader] when I was doing [Dr. Samuel] Sterns, because I felt that it would be helpful to lay in stuff as Sterns for what The Leader would be.”

* “My ass!” quoth Homer Simpson.