Mark Ruffalo Talks Replacing Ed Norton in The Avengers

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 31st, 2010 at 1:27 pm,

mark ruffalo hulk Mark Ruffalo Talks Replacing Ed Norton in The Avengers

One of the newest members of the cast of The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo, has to step into some big shoes as the new Bruce Banner/Hulk and win over fans who are still skeptical or down on the idea of replacing Ed Norton.

During the Marvel Studios presentation for Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America last Saturday at Comic-Con 2010, the surprise announcement at the end of the panel was the official unveiling of the logo, core cast and director of The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo was an important piece of that but unfortunately he is unfairly subjected to a somewhat awkward situation due to the Ed Norton-Marvel fallout.

Movie fans familiar with Ruffalo’s work will have no problem adjusting to him taking over the role and comic fans will soon be on his side as well when he finally gets the chance to play the part when The Avengers begins shooting in the winter.

He already has the support of directors Joss Whedon and Jon Favreau who speak highly of him, but what does he think about the situation and stepping up as the new Bruce Banner? Entertainment Weeky’s PopWatch had a chance to throw a few questions at Ruffalo after the Comic-Con event about the role.

What was it like for Ruffalo to come out on stage with The Avengers line-up to a massive room full of the most hardcore and excited fans?

“It was very exciting — and I realized I had some pretty big shoes to fill. Those were my heroes up there! I was a comic book fan growing up. I loved The Hulk and The Avengers — it’s just strange to be entering that world as an actor. I never would have imagined that before.”

Ruffalo continues to explain that this was his first time at a convention like this, and what a way to be introduced to it all. He says it’s the closest feeling to being a “rock star as an actor,” that he was nervous but understands that comic book fans have very strict and vocal feelings towards their favorite characters, and he doesn’t take that lightly.

the avengers cast comic con 2010 570x380 Mark Ruffalo Talks Replacing Ed Norton in The Avengers

The cast of The Avengers

What are your thoughts on the character of Bruce Banner?

“He’s a guy struggling with two sides of himself — the dark and the light — and everything he does in his life is filtered through issues of control. I grew up on the Bill Bixby TV series, which I thought was a really nuanced and real human way to look at The Hulk. I like that the part has those qualities.”

After The Incredible Hulk, we saw Bruce Banner learn to control his alter ego and use is Hulk powers for good. It’ll be interesting to see if The Avengers keeps that or if Hulk’s control and anger issues will be a plot point.

How does Ruffalo feel about the Edward Norton situation and taking over the role from him?

“I’m a friend of Ed’s, and yeah, that wasn’t a great way for all that to go down. But the way I see it is that Ed has bequeathed this part to me. I look at it as my generation’s Hamlet.”

Now that it’s all said and done, I am excited to see Ruffalo and the rest of The Avengers cast come together to bring us the most ambitious comic book film ever. I don’t like changing actors and breaking that continuity but if someone has to step in and replace Norton, Ruffalo is a damn good selection.

Mark Ruffalo joins the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers film which also stars, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Clark Gregg.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes and our main feed @screenrant and let us know your thoughts.

Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.

Source: EW

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  1. I still would have preferred Norton. Oh, what could have been.

  2. I like Ruffalo’s past work enough to stop complaining that Norton would be better. I will still continue to voice my disbelief on how he got the shaft.

  3. I hate it when they change actors no matter if the other actor is better it takes away alot……but still this guy seems cool.

    • To me that’s only distracting for a moment, and doesn’t take anything away from the film. It’s shown to work out for the best in films. Like Cheadle in ‘Iron Man 2′, and Gylhenhaal in ‘The Dark Knight’.

      I loved Norton in TIH, but I’m willing to give this guy a chance. But I hope that Banner doesn’t have much screentime.

  4. I have just quick question, is The Abomination suppossed to be in ‘The Avengers’? I heard somewhere that may be the case.

    • He was never in the avengers, just the the hulk series and comics, and ultimate marvals 1 & 2

      • and war war hulk

      • I’m talking about the movie. I couldn’t care less about the comics.

  5. Matt K
    Sorry to disagree but those replacements were HORRIBLE!!!! The previous actors were wayyyy better to me;)

    • Yeah, cause Katie Holmes is a terrific actress, right? And Don Cheadle is just terrible, right?

      • Don Cheadle put me to sleep. Pierre Bernard (from Conan O’Brien’s “Recliner of Rage” skits) would do a better job.

        Cheadle’s been great in many movies, but just did not fit the role physically or tempramentally.

        • It doesn’t help that there was basically 0 character development written into the movie. None of the actors had much to work with. Cheadle is a little too soft for the part though, I will agree.

          • Go watch Color’s and Brooklyn’s Finest to see Cheadle’s tempermant range, and he was very Physical in Traitor. I don’t think he would have been nominated for an Academy Award if he didn’t have the talents that he does have. Terrence Howard was good as Rhodey and Don Cheadle as just as good.

    I liked Ruffalo from one of his earliest movies (and I think Oscar winning–for screenplay?) You Can Count on Me. Come to think of it, he has this slur type way of speaking that fits better for a pot smoker or guy next door than any type of scientist. Or maybe that was part of the act in YCCM and whatever else I’ve seen him in?

    Why obsess over Norton being replaced? Any hog, dog or frog could replace Banner. I’m not sure of the circumstances, but my default theory for anything like this is that he asked for more money and was turned down.

    I say Ruffalo replaces Bana and am sorry so few fans were intrigued by Ang’s adult treatment of WHY a raging monster is inside Bruce Banner.

    There’s part of me that thinks, any actor who lauds the Bill Bixby Hulk should immediately be taken out of consideration for this serious role.

    • I think that anyone who lauds Ang Lee’s Hulk over Bill Bixby’s Hulk should be immediately taken out of consideration for posting on this website. :P

    • I’m one of the few who absolutely loved Ang Lee’s Hulk. I’m actually indifferent on which I enjoy more TIH or Ang Lee’s.

      • I loved Ang’s Hulk too. A great overview of what The Hulk could do–bounding over landscape, spinning a tank around, ruining city streets and traffic, and I liked the idea that he got bigger depending on his level of rage.

        On the Banner side, they captured the feeling of power, the freedom of expressing anger, the forbidden “wanting” to go there, and of course the slow reveal of why a person could carry such anger inside him–it made the existence and expression of The Hulk so sensible. The ending took me a few viewings to “get,” that this rage (esp. at his father) was virtually without bounds. I’ve seen anger when incest or abuse victims open up to their buried feelings–it all makes sense.

        Visually, the comic panel thing (which came out close to the time “24″ used it) was great. The underground facility was very “comic booky.” It set the stage so well, even a preview of The Hulk’s verbal ability (in a dream). The boyish look on The Hulk’s face was a symbol of when this rage began.

    • Ang Lee’s HULK is way superior to Bill Bixby’s Hulk. What a CRAP show that was. I was so glad I was reading HULK comic books at the time. They were far more entertaining than that lame TV show.

  7. Here’s what I say. In my perfect world, Edward Norton would still be the Hulk in the Avengers movie, and Mark Ruffalo would have time traveled (obviously with the aid of Kang the Conqueror) to 2004, when the Hulk movie under Ang Lee’s direction was shot. (Movie came out in ’05, I believe, so I’m guessing when they started filming). That way, Ruffalo would have been in Ang Lee’s movie, and Norton would be in the Incredible Hulk and Avengers. But leet’s not worry. I wanna see Thor and Cap first. Oh, and X-Men: First Class. Not that it has anything to do with the Avengers.

  8. I would have loved for Leterrier to have made the design of The Abomination have those signature ears. Without those ears he looks nothing like the Abomination. The ears could have something to do with a further mutation of The Abomination like “gills” and if the Hulk tries to grab them,they wrap around The Abomination’s head tightly so they can’t be ripped off. How cool would it be to see a scene where someone is watching The Hulk and Abomination fight where somehow even though The Hulk wins BUT they both end up fighting in the ocean and The Abomination starts to drown the Hulk gaining the upper hand then all of a sudden a hand grabs The Abomination by the achilles heel REALLY hard drawing blood and drags him down into the ocean and saves the Hulk from nearly being drowned. Namor

  9. I’m so glad Norton is out. I never wanted him to play Banner in the first place because I knew he would just be playing himself like he did in TIH.

  10. As far as Cheadle’s performance, I don’t blame it on him. Even though I enjoyed Iron Man 2 many things were wrong with it. First of all they should not have hired Justin Thereaux to screenplay it,they should have stuck with the original writers from Iron Man 1. Terrence Howard’s performance had good chemistry with RDJ but his voice sounds too gay and he was too soft and had no authoritive or assertive enegy about himself. Although Cheadle’s interaction with RDJ came across a little cold, Cheadle still came off a little as a real soldier. By Iron Man 3,Cheadle’s interaction with RDJ has to be pushed to the limit in chemistry and drama.

  11. (IMO),,,
    Cheadle and Ruffalo both suck for these roles,,, ;-)

  12. If they cant keep the same Banner, the least they can do is keep the same Hulk

  13. I don’t think any actor that’s even halfway competent is going to sink “The Avengers” movie. Just like Cheadle vs Howard some will say, they had no problem with Ruffalo replacing Norton. Then others will say, he didn’t even come close to giving us the nuanced performance Norton would have brought to the role. Notice too, Cheadle isn’t up there on stage with them either. So one wonders will he make it into the movie? I realize that’s uncertain at this point, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Banner is just a modest if not minor role and that Rhodey is just one character too many to bring to the party. Remember they still have two other team members to sandwich into the mix… :(

    • Rhody was never an official part of the Avengers, he would only step in when Stark was unavailable, just as he would step in to be Ironman when Stark couldn’t. Only the actual War Machine suit was used in mission with the Avengers, not actually Rhody himself most times.

  14. I read a long time ago somewhere that the plan to keep the same Hulk from TIH film. I hope they do too. I heard Abomination might be in The Avengers aswell. Im relieved Thor is gonna have his helmet. I hope Captain America’s 2nd costume will be the traditional one with the wings on his mask etc. The Shield looked so dang good.

  15. I happen to agree with The Old Man,,,

    I think that’s exactly what there going to do with Banner in Avengers.

    Minor role, brief character development. Ruffalo is the fall guy,,, its a paycheck.

  16. If Ruffalo was up on the Hulk he wouldn’t have said, “I’ve got big shoes to fill”

    Hulk never wears shoes, if anything Ruffalo’s got big shorts to fill,,,

    Well,,, fill those shorts funny man,!

    • That’s what BETTY said! I think it was after the Gamma Dog scene. ;-)

  17. ” I look at it as my generation’s Hamlet.”
    ………seriously? IMHO I believe Mr. Norton nailed it.

    • I [rolled eyes] reading that quote, also.

  18. He said Hamlet as in every actor gets to play Hamlet at some point.

  19. He seem very possitive about replacing Norton, I will give Ruffalo a chance. But Don Cheadle didn’t feel right as War Machine at all so I hope that doesn’t happen with Ruffolo.

  20. Reminds me of the dumbasses who replaced Thomas Jane in the Punisher. Although Mr Jane didn’t miss out on much, the actual movie was crap.

  21. Norm:
    >>as in every actor gets to play Hamlet at some point.<<

    Thanks–I missed that.

    Okay, if you accept that this is a movie and doesn't need to meet 100% continuity standards, what prevents Black Widow from being on the team?

  22. Norton and Ruffalo are two of my favourite modern day actors.

    That said, i was disappointed with Norton’s performance in TIH. He seemed jaded and just going through the motions.

    I also think The Incredible Hulk is incredibly (har har) overrated.

    I’m going to give Ruffalo a chance because i know he is a fantastic actor.

  23. Ruffalo is easily pictured as that nerdy, dweeb-guy, after his role in Eternal Sunshine. I mean, Norton was almost too… cool? Too good? I’m not sure. But the way I see it, we need a nerd. Not a total bad-ass. Let the Hulk be the bad-ass.

  24. Norton never wants to play the nerd its too easy for him. He always wants to change the character to a more Macho guy. Those roles are more challenging because its opposite of what he is. We still see him as nerdy thats why you would think he would be perfect for nerd Banner. Yet nerd scientist isn’t who he wants to play.

  25. why not use the original actors since isn’t that what the avengers does with the superheroes?

  26. Ray Stevenson was a FANTASTIC Punisher and many shots were comic cinema perfection!

  27. Laughing at all these people calling Ruffalo “this guy”. Since you obviously are not familiar with his work, I predict that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Like another poster said, Norton seemed to just be phoning it in. The excellent acting we saw in films like American History X, Primal Fear and The Fight Club just wasn’t there. And, as someone said, Ruffalo has a haunted, pained vibe about him, like he really IS struggling to keep the inner beast locked inside. I think he’s an excellent choice.