As the Marvel superhero Hulk, Mark Ruffalo has enjoyed an unbelievable career as part of The Avengers team. And although many accept Ruffalo in the role now, initially certain fans were a bit cruel towards him.
Mark Ruffalo was scared to death when he became Hulk
Mark Ruffalo | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Becoming the new Hulk was a tall order for Ruffalo, especially after actor Edward Norton’s interpretation of the role. To convince the respected actor to join The Avengers, filmmaker Joss Whedon gave Ruffalo a taste of the movie.
“Joss said, ‘Well, I’m not supposed to do this … but I’ll give you half the script and all the Banner/Hulk scenes I’ve written,’” Ruffalo said on The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via CBR).
He would later get a mysterious phone call from his agent telling Ruffalo to look out for the signs that the role was his.
“I got a call saying, ‘Wake up tomorrow at four o’clock in the morning. Look out your window. If there’s a limo there, you’re doing the part. If not, go back to bed,’” he recalled.
The limo was waiting for him, ensuring Ruffalo’s entree into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I was happy. And I was scared to death,” he added.
Mark Ruffalo might not have decided to be Hulk if he knew how much he’d be scrutinized for it
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Comic books fans can be very passionate about who gets cast as their beloved superheroes. So when Ruffalo was announced to inherit Hulk from Eric Bana and Norton, the reception wasn’t always a welcoming one.
“[Bana and Norton] are two really great actors, and great Banners,” Ruffalo once told Den of Geek. “And people love them. And the fans have a lot of expectations from that role, and they love the Hulk. And I’ve never had a performance so badly reviewed even before I shot a single frame. I didn’t realise quite how scrutinised it was going to be until I was already in, otherwise I’m not sure I would have done it! But, at the end of the day, you can only do the best you can do.”
But he found comfort in knowing that his Banner would be different than both Bana’s and Norton’s. For one, technology would’ve helped the She-Hulk actor capture the Hulk in a way the character had never been captured before.
“What I was excited about, and what I knew would be different, was that the technology had advanced to such a place that, you know, with motion capture, I could actually impress a performance. I’d be the first actor playing both the Hulk and Banner. And so that alone was like, ‘okay, that’ll be mine’. And it’s really a continuation of those other Banners,” he said.
Mark Ruffalo felt like an outsider when he met the cast for ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’
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Curiosity got the better of Ruffalo. The actor made the mistake of browsing the internet to see what fans thought of his casting. He admitted that the name-calling he experienced got under his skin.
“‘That guy is barely awake, ‘” Norton recalled reading. “‘How’s he going to be pissed off as the Hulk?’ ‘Norton Norton Norton What The F*** Ruffalo.’ It was pretty brutal, I have to say. It definitely hurt my feelings.”
But the comments also affected how Ruffalo saw himself when he met the rest of The Avengers cast. Unlike Ruffalo, most of his castmates were the leads of entirely new superhero movies that had never been told before. Or, at least, told with the same level, care, and attention as the MCU films. Fortunately, he was able to channel his feelings for his Bruce Banner role.
“I felt totally out of place. But, I realized that everything that I was feeling was pretty much really good for Banner. And so, I just took all of my insecurity, and all of that, and just shoved it into the performance, basically. So I want to thank those fans for being so hard on me,” he said.
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