On Set Interview: Mark Ruffalo Says Iron Man/Hulk ‘Avengers 2’ Friction Is a Little Like ‘Cool Hand Luke’
Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
On June 12th 2014, I visited the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Today we’ll be posting a couple of the interviews we conducted while on set. The second of which is with Mark Ruffalo, who is reprising his role as Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk. You can listen to or read the whole interview after the jump, but I wanted to lead off with Ruffalo’s explanation of how Hulk’s friction with Iron Man in The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a little bit like Cool Hand Luke:
It’s a little bit like Cool Hand Luke that way. You think you could beat me and then I’ll beat the crap out of you… and then I beat the crap out of him. [LAUGHS] It’s kinda’ like that, but not totally like that. It has a surprise — a little twist to it as well.
Read or listen to our whole Mark Ruffalo Avengers 2 set interview after the jump.
Mark Ruffalo Avengers 2 Set Interview
The following interview with Mark Ruffalo was conducted on the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron on June 12th 2014. There I participated in with in a roundtable with a group of movie blog colleagues:
The interview began with us joking about how Mark got taken aside by Marvel security when he tried to show us a image of the new design for The Incredible Hulk which was on his cellphone during our on set interview with him during the original Avengers.
Mark Ruffalo: I don’t have my phone with me. They, they purposely left pockets out of my costume for some bizarre reason now. Maybe that’s it.
Question: So you got the script and you were noticing that the beginning has you in relationship with Scarlet’s character Black Widow. Were you like this is gonna’ be a very tough job.
Mark Ruffalo: Uh we don’t have a relation– What kind of relationship?
Question: We heard that maybe there was a closer relationship between the characters?
Mark Rufallo: (looks over to the Marvel staff sitting in on the interview) Did you tell him that? Oh yeah I’ll play along. Yeah, yeah. There’s a really important relationship between…. Um I was just happy that I was in the movie at all and any scenes that I got to be with her were a big bonus.
Question: It seems like the response to the Avengers, the way the Hulk was handled and the way that Bruce was handled, it feels like Marvel finally figured how that character—and you guys were finally able to make the definitive Hulk. This time around what is the balance between Banner and Hulk?
Mark Ruffalo: There’s more of him and I think Banner and Hulk have come to a detaunt. [LAUGHS] We left the last time with this idea that you know I’m always angry and, and therefore I have some control over it. But when you think you have control over [anger], you absolutely don’t. And so there’s still wrangling going on in there, there is a confrontation [LAUGHS] brewing between the Hulk consciousness and the Banner consciousness thatnI think we’re starting to head into right now.
Question: We got a really good idea of the relationship between Tony and Bruce in Avengers. Obviously in Iron Man 3 it’s kinda hinted that it’s continued. We’ve heard that they both have an extremely important role in the creation of Ultron. That seemed like a very core relationship. Can you talk about that?
Mark Ruffalo: Yeah, basically Tony took the orphan Banner into the fold. I was just made aware of where my apartment was in the Stark Tower. I have a Lab and you know Banner’s working on a lot of stuff, Tony’s working on his own stuff and they complement each other. Going into this film they’ve been working together and they’ve gotten a short hand together but not really know how to work well together. So that’s been uh built out quite a lot and it’s fun. It’s cool. [LAUGHS]
Question: As a follow up they had mentioned yesterday that you fight Tony as the Hulk buster. Is that more of a like hey can I take you down? Like a mutual decision fight?
Mark Ruffalo: You mean like, “Hey, hey let’s see if we can– it’s a little bit like Cool Hand Luke that way.” You think you could beat me and then I’ll beat the crap out of you and then I beat the crap out of him. [LAUGHS] It’s kinda’ like that, but not totally like that. It has a surprise — a little twist to it as well. Is that alright Barry? (looks over at the Marvel guy) Yeah.
Question: You and Joss did a really good job developing Banner for the first movie. And we haven’t really seen him much since then. When he came into the movie you guys have more places you wanted to go with him. Do you already know from the last movie that you had more that you wanted to develop with him?
Mark Ruffalo: Yeah, I think he’s trying to become more a part of a group. I don’t think he’s ever felt like part of a family or part of something. He’s always sort of been this outside or on the run or trying to shun humanity. [LAUGHS] But now I feel like he has the idea that maybe he is part of something and he’s trying to really be a part of something and feels more comfortable with the fantasy that he could actually be a part of something. But I still think it’s a struggle for him and I never think that he quite has it under control. But I think in this, this version he’s sort of as close to having a normal life as he possibly could. Which might include… (looks over at the Marvel security guy) some romance. But is that ever possible for Banner is really the question.
Question: Cap, Thor and Iron Man had their own movies to kind of like develop their characters. Do you have to do that in this movie? Is it harder to do that in the movie?
Mark Ruffalo: Well I think the mythology of Banner is just kind of known because of the other movies. We’re sort of building off of them but, but it’s similar. He’s on the run. He doesn’t wanna’ turn into the Hulk. All people want him to do is to turn into the Hulk [LAUGHS] and so it’s not as uphill a battle as introducing a completely new character. And the nature of these movies is there’s 8 of us and — I worked it out. It’s 10 minutes of screen time for each of us and then if we include the bad guys. So it’s hard to really do a lot of character development in it. But I think this movie goes even more into that than the last one for everybody. And um and so you’re sort of playing catch up, but also I think you wanna’ be ambiguous enough not to cover too much ground so that you have somewhere to go if they ever do wanna’ do another stand alone.
Question: We heard that Andy Serkis was somehow involved in the early stages of this one. Which is fascinating as performance capture gets more and more advanced each year. What’s that process been like for you? And how much more you is there in the Hulk?
Mark Ruffalo: We’ve done a lot more with the motion capture and because the face capture and the motion capture can now be put together you just got a lot more latitude as a performer. So Andy’s been working on this new frontier of taking motion capture and instead of it just being a place holder that can be basically a place holder for CGI that it becomes more of a collaboration where the Actor really can add performance to it. The last one we were trying to do that but it was difficult. Now the technology is taking another step forward. Andy has created a space and this new attitude towards motion capture that honors the Actor a bit more than it was in the past — not that there was dishonor. It’s just organic process of making those two things work really well together in the context of a production of another movie that has a first unit going — a lot of importance is put on the first unit, but now they’re starting to look at motion capture in a equal sort of way. That’s what Andy’s after and that’s what I’m after. I see the motion capture as this incredible new place for us to give performance that we never had before, that’s more like kind of a puppeteering. You’re no longer are constricted by the attributes that you have as a person your age, weight or size. None of that matters anymore. And so there’s this whole exciting place to go that is kind of unknown.
Question: It’s almost like going back to your theatre origins.
Mark Ruffalo: It’s very much like theater because it’s all imagination. You know you don’t have a forest in front of you in the theater. You don’t have a castle, but you have to put that there for yourself. And so whatever theater training I had is very, very much in tune with this oddly enough. The oldest form of acting all of a sudden meets the newest form of acting. And they’re very compatible to each other. It’s very exciting. Andy has really done a lot to make it so the Actor’s driving it.