Observations: How to play the Incredible Hulk
Saturday 28 April 2012
When Mark Ruffalo won his role as the Incredible Hulk for this month's mega-blockbuster Avengers Assemble, he made one fatal mistake: trawling the internet for reactions. Comic-book fans – particularly those obsessed with the Marvel superhero universe – can be an unforgiving bunch. "It was pretty brutal," he laughs. "It definitely hurt my feelings and scared me." How could it not? Insults ranged from "Ruffalo is a tool" to "That guy is barely awake. How is he going to be pissed off as the Hulk?"
The Wisconsin-born Ruffalo has a sleepy timbre to his voice that would suggest he has no right to play the green-skinned monster with serious anger-management issues. He doesn't do blockbusters – the closest was John Woo's Second World War drama Windtalkers. And his best work has come in the indie world – from his breakthrough as the drifter brother in Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me (2000) to his Oscar-nominated turn as the roguish sperm donor in The Kids Are All Right.
It didn't help that, unlike his Avengers co-stars – Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor – Ruffalo had not had a previous solo outing to ease his way into this Marvel mash-up, as the superheroes team up against Tom Hiddleston's nefarious Loki. "I definitely felt out of place," he says. What's more, he was entering the franchise as the inheritor of a poisoned chalice – a highly popular character (from both the comics and the television series, starring Bill Bixby) that has twice failed in previous film adaptations.
Unlike Eric Bana (in 2003's Hulk) and Edward Norton (2008's The Incredible Hulk), who were solid as the creature's alter-ego, scientist Bruce Banner, Ruffalo gets to play the creature as well as Banner, thanks to the motion-capture technology that also saw Andy Serkis play Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.
While it meant he was forced to wear unflattering pyjamas for the "mo-cap" process – much to the hilarity of the rest of the cast, who were all dressed in their superhero garb – Ruffalo's features have been brilliantly integrated into the face of the Hulk by FX experts ILM. "Marvel as a rule never wanted the Hulk to look like the actor that was playing Banner. I really pushed hard to make the Hulk look like me."
'Avengers Assemble' is out now
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' goes viral 35 years later
Our fascination with the Arctic from Greek myths to Sky Atlantic's new drama Fortitude
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures