Mark Ruffalo Says Playing Hulk Was Difficult Until Thor: Ragnarok

The Hulk is one of the more complex heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even giving actor Mark Ruffalo a difficult time until he portrayed the Avenger in Thor: Ragnarok. Ruffalo first appeared as Bruce Banner in 2012's The Avengers, taking over for Edward Norton after 2008's The Incredible Hulk. While Ruffalo spent the majority of his time as Banner in The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok provided him the first opportunity to give Hulk the spotlight, which was helped by the advancements in technology. The release of a new book reveals how the actor found Ragnarok as the first MCU film that wasn't difficult to bring the Hulk to life.

An excerpt from The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe showed how Ruffalo was consulted on where Hulk's journey should go next. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige asked Ruffalo where he wanted to take hulk after Avengers: Age of Ultron. "I knew Banner fairly well, but I still didn't know the Hulk. He was a mystery to me," Ruffalo said. "When we get into Ultron, there's that scene where Wanda Maximoff puts the juju on him, where he's berserking. What is he afraid of?" he asked. "It's Banner. The only thing in the universe that Hulk is afraid of is Banner."

The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe also discussed how motion-capture technology allowed Ruffalo to do his physical and facial acting as the Hulk at the same time, compared to the two being split up in previous films. "Now, I can move. Before, you had to separate your facial performance from your physical performance. Now, it's all integrated," he added. "Now, we're getting into facial recognition, so I can actually see my face as the Hulk in really rudimentary ways. They're capturing it all—I can see it all happening in real time. Not only that, when I'm doing ADR [additional dialogue recording], they're capturing facial [movement] again. So I get another crack at the performance. And, of course, it's a collaboration with my brothers and sisters in the animation department."

Of course, Hulk's evolution continued across Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. As Ruffalo previously stated, Hulk's fear of Banner manifested in Infinity War, with Hulk refusing to help fight Thanos and his Black Order. However, Hulk returned in Endgame as Professor Hulk, helping to resurrect the population decimated by the Snap. Recent rumors suggest Banner could headline a World War Hulk movie that's slated to begin filming next year.

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