‘Avengers 2’: How Mark Ruffalo Became ‘A Hulk On Set’

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Hulk The Avengers Angry Face ‘Avengers 2’: How Mark Ruffalo Became A Hulk On Set

It’s no exaggeration to say that Andy Serkis is a master of motion capture, well-known for bringing Gollum to life in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the decade since Serkis has founded a mocap studio of his own, and earned even more praise in his performance as Caesar, the highly intelligent chimpanzee in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series.

But as acclaimed as his recent turn in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes may be (read our review), Serkis has set his talents to a new task: working as a motion capture consultant on The Avengers: Age of Ultron, helping Mark Ruffalo breathe even more life into his Incredible Hulk. The actor also let it slip that he would be playing an additional role on film, and while it’s still a mystery, it seems at least one ‘mad Titan’ can be crossed off the list of possibilities.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Serkis explained how he and the Imaginarium – his studio providing motion capture for Age of Ultron – contributed to Ruffalo’s performance as the Hulk mainly through educating the actor. Serkis is no stranger to being the least impressive figure on a given set, and passed that experience on to the only un-costumed Avenger:

“Previously, he would’ve walked onto a set and you’ve got Thor and all the other characters in their costumes looking magnificent, and then you’d have Mark [Ruffalo] in a grey motion-capture suit playing this enormous character, so it’s about giving the actor the right atmosphere and credibility for the performance, which we did in a number of ways. We had to educate the director that the actor owns the role, and what you get on the set is what you should be aiming to put into your cut as the final performance—with the rendering coming later on.”

Avengers 2 Mark Ruffalo Andy Serkis Role ‘Avengers 2’: How Mark Ruffalo Became A Hulk On Set

Additionally, Serkis used other means to help Ruffalo get into the mindset of an enormous, green rage monster (useful skills if the Hulk will play as large a role in the future as rumored). Regardless of who has provided the man beneath the monster, the sheer scale and size of the Hulk means animators had their work cut out for them in keeping anything beyond the actor’s face intact. But to help translate Ruffalo’s performance to the final product, Serkis and his team used some unconventional means:

“We worked with Mark in really grounding him and playing with the digital avatar before going on set so he could see himself as the Hulk before going onscreen, and we put weights and inhibitors on him to give him the sense that his arms were these big, giant wrecking balls, and so that his biceps wouldn’t intersect with his body. We equipped him. We also gave him a sound system and pitch-modulated his voice so you could hear the enormous Hulk roar coming out of these speakers, so the crew would go, “Jesus! That’s Hulk on set!” It gives Mark the sense of feeling better, and if he feels better, then he’ll be more comfortable in the performance.”

While Serkis was willing to provide more insight into his role as motion capture consultant, he was less forthcoming about the character he will portray on screen in Age of Ultron. But there is one character we know for sure he will not be playing, though: Thanos:

“I’d have to deny that character at this point. But I am playing a character. I was really thrilled that Joss Whedon asked me to be involved. It’s fantastic. I’ve had a ball working with them, both as performance capture consultant through the Imaginarium, but also being asked to be in it. But I can’t say anything more!”

This may not come as any surprise since Josh Brolin was recently revealed to be voicing Thanos in Marvel’s next cinematic installment, Guardians of the Galaxy. However, those wondering whether Serkis’ role in Avengers 2 could be the motion capture for the Mad Titan now seem to have their answer.

Andy Serkis Talks Avengers 2 Hulk Motion Capture ‘Avengers 2’: How Mark Ruffalo Became A Hulk On Set

Still, Serkis’ comments leave many questions unanswered: will his role require performance capture? Will it be a cameo or a more substantial character arc? It’s hard to guess, but Joss Whedon has a penchant for including actors close to his heart, so fans can only imagine what lies ahead if Serkis finds his way into Whedon’s inner circle.

We won’t know what role Serkis will portray in Age of Ultron until the film hits theaters next year. For now, what do you think he’s up to? A major role, or simply a secondary character?

The Avengers: Age of Ultron premieres May 1st, 2015.

Source: The Daily Beast

Follow Molly Freeman on Twitter @mollyrockit
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  1. What if… just what if…
    Serkis is playing Abomination or Red Hulk. Hmmmm…

    • Please watch The Incredible Hulk, before your guess will be wrong

      • How would either be out of the question by watching Incredible Hulk? Remember its MoCap, he can be anyone and have a different person voicing the part.
        My money is on Uatu.

      • That was a different film series before they started the phases they started fresh with a new actor they can bring Abomination back.

        • Actually, the incredible hulk is part of the MCU (and its subsequent “phases”). It was released shortly after the first Ironman :)

  2. Abomination? Nah, they have used that character already. It will be a cameo, and im guessing it will be an ending credit sequence. Not red hulk or abomination.

    • So what? I remember what Whedon said about the secondary physical villian he was about to introduce in Avengers.He didn’t said who was it because he was planning to include him in coming sequels.The best bets are Abomination or Destroyer.

      • I think that villian that they are referring to is baron von strucker.
        he was shown the cap 2 and has been mentioned

    • They could do Abomination again. Not only would it be a villain that was already introduced, albeit in the not talked about MCU movie, but with him already being transformed, and i’m not sure if he’s able to change like the Hulk in the comics, they won’t need Tim Roth to come back for it, they can just have Serkis (or another mo-cap guy) do mo-cap for him.

      I’m not saying it will be him, just that they could use him again at some point if they wanted.

      • That’s the same way of thinking that a few at another site had earlier today when I first read this interview.

        I’d like him as a live action actor though, personally.

        • And dont forget that Abomination was mentioned at least once in Agents of Shield.

  3. Isn’t it obvious? He’ll motion cap for Black Bolt in the ending sequence of the film so during 2015 Comic Con they can announce The Inhumans for July/August 2017. Also they’ve already started introducing Inhumans in the Marvel tv shows and revamped the comics so that’s a clever and smart move for Marvel

    • Except Vin Diesel said he’s playing two characters and the best guess after Groot was announced was Black Bolt.

    • No, it’s not obvious. You’re being a smartass.

      • Maybe not but explain why they would mo-cap a character with human features and proportions? It would be a waste of time and money.

  4. I didnt say it wont be, i said i didnt think it will be. Vision will be mocap mixed with the real. Maybe its vision with Paul Bettany providing voice and face? i personally dont think its abomination is all. They already have to deal with hydra, the twins, plus ultron and his goon squad. 4 Villains already, albeit 2 of them become avengers. Wait n see

  5. Yup it’s defunding Black Bolt will be teased at the end then announced next year plus Black Panther could be a great end credit scene fr Antman please Marvel Black Panther

  6. Probably he is gonna be Hulk Buster…..LMAO I kid you. I don’t know 😛

  7. How did this article start off being about how Mark Ruffalo became a Hulk on set and end up being all about Andy Serkis? LOL

    • It was an interview with Serkis about Ruffalo’s on-set Hulk acting being helped by the mocap company Serkis set up.

    • I like this idea.

  8. If I got to ask Andy Serkis, how to bring one character to life on screen using mo-cap. I’d ask him about MODOK.

  9. Whoa there two Lees? What a twist ?!

    • I saw it coming.

      • Which one has a beard?

  10. My bets are on Abomination or Radioactive Man. But only in small capacity.

  11. Just thought, what if he plays Rick Jones AKA A-Bomb. Rick Jones and Bruce Banner were close in comics. It seems Ruffalo and Serkis have spent time filming together on set too…

    A-Bomb would require mo-cap too…

    • I like the idea of Rick Jones, could lead to a good Hulk stand alone too… personally I think its time they introduce Rick to the world and even use him for some twists in the future movies to come… the possibilities of these movies and what they can do! Cant wait to see what they have for us to come!

  12. I don’t care about the Hulk really. His character really didn’t move me in the first Avengers. As long as their leader Captain America has a bigger role in this movie I will be happy.

    I would also like to to kill off the smug bastard Tony Stark. Man I hate that guy, with War Machine in the movie why would we need Tony?

    • The character of Tony Stark is the most popular character Marvel Studios has, they’re not going to kill him off any time soon, if ever.

    • I can think of about a billion reasons.

  13. It’s quite a let down that it would not be Thanos, that could have been AWESOME. It’s a tough call, but I slightly gamble that it would be some help with making vision along with Paul Betteny’s voice. really doubt it if it would be a major character.

    I really don’t want to see MODOK, it seems way too goofy, and probably won’t transfer well to the cinematic world.

  14. Guys he’s not playing vision. Why would they waste his amazing acting skills (as seen in Planet of the Apes) on a character who already has a n actor. He’s gonna play someone new. And Marvel isn’t dumb enough to recycle Villians like abomination. And most likley he is playing a character (villain or hero) in the end credits scene. That would explain all of his secrecy.

  15. I think serkis will play Gorilla Grodd in age of ultron

    • Grodd=DC Comics…

    • Come on emma!!! Did u just say gorilla grodd!?? Pffttttt

      • Guys, I think that was the joke. Serkis has mocapped chimps and King Kong mostly.

  16. I think that’s great method acting. Create an environment that feels so real. Donner did that in the Goonies by never showing the kids the pirate ship until the day of the shoot and when they all came out of the water slides, they got their actual reactions. Pretty awesome attention to detail, and I’m sure it can only help the actors immensely.

    I always wondered how absolutely lame it would be to stand in front a green screen like in the Star Wars prequels with practically no real sets and act like it’s real. Happy to hear Ruffalo won’t have that kind of performance.

    • They did it to Alan Rickman in Die Hard by releasing his harness on “two” after they told him they’ll count to three THEN release.

      • Another example, to prepare for My Left Foot, Daniel Day-Lewis refused to do things normally and did all of his writing and such using his left foot. He also spent months in character as Abraham Lincoln, spoke in the accent for the entire shoot and refused to speak to anyone who didn’t address him as Mr President.

        Pretty sure he spent time in solitary confinement in a real prison for a few months to prepare for his role in the film In The Name Of The Father.

  17. I think he’s playing Beta Ray Bill which will lead to Thor 3.

  18. Hey that would be cool of Andy Serkis mo caps for Gorilla Grodd or Ultra-Humanite. Maybe even Doomsday I want to see Doomsday vs Hulk in Avengers 3! And when will Spiderman join Avengers!

  19. If Avengers 2 introduces he Inhumans maybe he’s mo-cap for Lockjaw

  20. Is James Spader for sure doing mo-cap for Ultron? I know he’s the voice, but it seems less likely to me that he’d be playing a physical role like that given his age. So that’s my guess for who Serkis is playing but I could have my facts wrong.

  21. Ulyssis Klaw is the character that Andy serkis will be portraying.