Before this news broke that Mark Ruffalo was deep into talks with Marvel about becoming Bruce Banner for The Avengers, I was just thinking about the actor, who most recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed The Kids Are All Right. He's always been one of those names recognized by film fans for his strong talent despite a total lack of name recognition thanks to an ego that must be the size of a peanut.
Well, Deadline editor-in-chief reports that Marvel and Ruffalo's talent agency are nearing a deal to add Ruffalo as Hulk version 3.0. The 42-year-old certainly has the look and the type of acting chops that Marvel tends to seek out in its heroes. He also has stuck with mostly supporting roles his entire career, yet he's respected enough that he makes for a great name to have if you want to put six or more names on a movie poster.
If it wasn't clear what Marvel producer Kevin Feige meant when he essentially called Edward Norton (Hulk v. 2.0) someone who wasn't a team player, it should be now. Ruffalo has never commanded his own film (the closest he's come was co-piloting The Brothers Bloom with Adrien Brody), but he's bolstered a number of great ensembles, most recently in Shutter Island backing up Leonardo DiCaprio or in 2007 in David Fincher's Zodiac when he worked somewhat in the shadow of Jake Gyllenhaal. If Marvel wanted someone more than happy to be a CGI character half the time and deliver some good dramatic dialogue and maybe a little back-and-forth humor with Robert Downey Jr., they found the right guy.
I'm sure many Hulk fans would like someone with a powerful presence such as Norton (or that some would be fine seeing Eric Bana back), but I never envisioned Bruce Banner playing a big role in The Avengers with exception of his CGI counterpart smashing some buildings and drawing fire away from Marvel's core of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. There's the possibility that he's one of the "bad guys" for part of the film as indicated by Downey Jr.'s cameo at the end of The Incredible Hulk, but with Norton gone and Whedon playing with the script, they could've scrapped that all together. Regardless, a name like Ruffalo gets the attention it needs without the screen time someone else might want, presumably Norton, but I can't imagine he's as bad as Marvel's made him out to be.
So, do you think Ruffalo has what it takes to get mean and green?
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