The MCU has become a universally recognized entity that countless actors are folding into. However, this wasn’t the status quo 14 years ago, when indie actor Mark Ruffalo was handpicked to portray Bruce Banner in The Avengers. Ruffalo’s path to this high-profile role encompassed intriguing script handovers, obtaining Edward Norton’s validation, and even stepping into a limousine suggesting his casting success.
– Actors joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become a cultural norm, resulting in lesser excitement.
– Paul Mescal and Jeremy Allen White are among the current generation stars who have evaded collaborating with Marvel.
– Mark Ruffalo learned of his Hulk casting in a unique way, including secret script pages and Edward Norton’s blessing.
– Ruffalo has consistently struggled to keep Marvel secrets.
– Despite the challenges, Ruffalo’s compelling portrayal of Hulk is deemed as a significant addition to the MCU.
Mark Ruffalo Casts His Shadow on The Avengers
MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios’ history book indicates that Ruffalo was earlier mulled over for the role in ‘The Incredible Hulk.’ But, the Marvel execs nudged director Louis Leterrier to opt for Edward Norton citing the latter’s star power. Following Ruffalo’s Oscar nomination as the Best Supporting Actor for ‘The Kids Are All Right,’ his popularity soared. However, the actor was unsure about fitting into a blockbuster spectacle.
Avengers’ co-writer and director, Joss Whedon, however, saw potential in Ruffalo. He clandestinely offered him portions of the script involving Bruce Banner, which Ruffalo appreciated. Before formally accepting the role, Ruffalo decided to speak to Edward Norton, the previous Hulk, and received his approval to take up the part.
When Marvel and Ruffalo’s representatives were still sorting out the deal particulars right before the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con (where The Avengers cast was to be announced), Ruffalo experienced a cinematic moment. His agent instructed him to look out of his window at five in the morning. If a car was waiting, it signified that he’d bagged the role. As fortune would have it, Ruffalo saw a limousine standing there next morning, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Balancing Acting with Keeping Secrets: The Marvel Way
Marvel’s association with an extreme level of secrecy is a known fact. Given the enormous investments behind each film, coupled with the necessity to keep plot developments under wraps, the performers are expected to master the art of maintaining secrecy. While actors like Tom Holland have unknowingly spilled the beans, leading to a slight deviation from this norm, Ruffalo himself has developed a certain repute for accidentally revealing spoilers in interviews.
Ruffalo’s struggle to keep secrets aside, his performance as Hulk has consistently been commended. Despite the character’s fluctuating journey, Ruffalo’s steady portrayal has enhanced the viewers’ affinity towards Hulk. It’s nearly unimaginable now to consider anyone else in this role, and the credit largely goes to Whedon’s unique artistic instincts that persuaded him to bring Ruffalo on board. The actor’s journey, from cautiously peeking out of his window to see a limo to becoming an integral part of the MCU, is indeed remarkable.
The Avengers, featuring Ruffalo’s iconic performance as Bruce Banner, is available for streaming on Disney+ in the U.S.