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