Transforming mild-mannered Mark Ruffalo into the Incredible Hulk is no small task, but it's one that has been accomplished twice already in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now, Ruffalo is embarking on his third adventure as Dr. Bruce Banner and his big green counterpart in Thor: Ragnarok, the third solo outing for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In the Shadows), Thor: Ragnarok has just started filming in Australia.
The special effects for the Hulk are created using a combination of motion capture (including facial motion capture to record Ruffalo's performance), CGI, and stunt actors holding live models so that actors can grapple with and react to the Hulk on set. These props include a set of giant fists, like the one shown in the above behind-the-scenes photo from The Avengers.
It appears that the fists are still in play, as Ruffalo has now shared a new video of himself wielding them on the set of Thor: Ragnarok. Check it out below:
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) July 12, 2016
CG animation has taken a massive leap forward since the release of James Cameron's Avatar in 2009, which pioneered the use of facial mocap in Hollywood. In recent years, movies like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have been pushing to perfect the art of translating human performances to non-human characters, and a massive franchise like the MCU - which includes not only the Hulk but also other CG characters like Guardians of the Galaxy's Rocket Raccoon and Groot - has the potential to be at the forefront of such advancements in special effects.
With production having only just started and the cast already having shared other snapshots into their life on set, we're sure to find out more about Thor: Ragnarok in the coming weeks. Though the god of thunder's last standalone outing, Thor: The Dark World, was one of the least well-received MCU movies so far, the guiding hand of an up-and-coming director and the promise of a team-up between Hulk and Thor could be just what this series needs to get back on track.
Doctor Strange opens in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.