Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

party chat

Mark Ruffalo on Joining The Avengers (and the ‘Carbon-Footprint Rape’ That Got Him There)

"For me, the most exciting thing is putting one foot on a banana peel and the other foot in the grave," Mark Ruffalo said earlier today as he dug his spoon into a small dish of butterscotch pudding. He was at an intimate luncheon in Los Angeles to promote Lisa Cholodenko's awards-season contender The Kids Are All Right (where his six days of winning work produced a performance likely to land him a Best Supporting Actor nomination), and though he was referring to that film's blend of comedy and pathos, the image of Ruffalo straddling two very different worlds couldn't be more apt as the indie-minded actor prepares for his biggest role yet: playing the Hulk in Joss Whedon's Marvel mash-up The Avengers. "I'm not used to that kind of [attention]," he confessed. "I run a small operation."

In fact, Ruffalo said his negotiations for the role came down to the wire, as Marvel was determined to present an entire lineup of the Avengers at its Comic-Con panel this past July, yet the night before it was all supposed to take place, his deal still hadn't closed. Before Ruffalo went to sleep, his rep told him to wake up at 4 a.m.: If there was a car outside Ruffalo's Callicoon, New York, farmhouse waiting to speed him to the airport, it meant he had gotten the part.

Still, his fledgling foray into blockbuster mega-tentpoles won't be the only major adjustment Ruffalo has to make: Though he'll be playing the Hulk via motion-capture, the studio still expects Ruffalo to add some superhero muscles to his real-life physique. "I do have to work out," he said, ruefully shaking his now-empty dish of pudding. "That's why I shouldn't be eating!"

Ruffalo is now waiting for Whedon to finish his first crack at the screenplay, and though he doesn't usually commit to projects without receiving a script — last time he did, "it didn't go well, let's just say that" — he's got faith in the Marvel team. "These guys have it down to a science, and I honestly trust Joss. I mean, they've never had anyone [both] write and direct [a Marvel movie] ... We talked a lot about it. I talked to Robert [Downey Jr.] a bit about it. I trust that we're going to make it good, and I have a good feeling."

Still, his fledgling foray into blockbuster mega-tentpoles won't be the only major adjustment Ruffalo has to make: Though he'll be playing the Hulk via motion-capture, the studio still expects Ruffalo to add some superhero muscles to his real-life physique. "I do have to work out," he said, ruefully shaking his now-empty dish of pudding. "That's why I shouldn't be eating!"

Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images