'Avengers' star Ruffalo has had Hulk rage moments
In this April 12, 2012 photo, cast member Mark Ruffalo, from the upcoming film "The Avengers", poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. The film will be released in theaters on May 4. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don't let Mark Ruffalo's serene demeanor fool you. He admits there's a bit of an Incredible Hulk temper lurking underneath.
Ruffalo, who comes off as a guy that could give Clark Kent a serious challenge in the mild-mannered department, plays brilliant scientist Bruce Banner — and his big, green, mad-as-hell alter-ego, the Hulk — in the superhero tale "The Avengers," opening Friday.
The actor said there was a time when he had anger issues.
"When I was a young actor, if you came to my apartment, you would have seen pictures and photos hung in the most bizarre places, where they were covering holes in the wall from auditions that I didn't get or slights that I felt I had suffered, where things were thrown, cups were thrown at the walls," Ruffalo said. "I'm no stranger to that kind of anger and rage.
"But over time, I've, like a rock that's spent many times being tumbled around in the sea, I've sort of gotten the edges polished off of me. I'm not fighting the same fights that I was back then, the same demons."
An Academy Awards nominee for 2010's "The Kids Are All Right," the 44-year-old Ruffalo has, in characteristically unassuming manner, built an impressive list of credits in independent and studio films, including "You Can Count on Me," ''Shutter Island," ''Zodiac," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
He never saw himself as superhero material, let alone the Hulk, considering the Marvel Comics character had been played by Eric Bana then Edward Norton in two big-screen misfires over the last decade that failed to please fans.
The nice thing with "The Avengers" is the Hulk doesn't have to carry the film. Banner's a reluctant recruit to the superhero dream team. That allowed writer-director Joss Whedon to hold Banner back, pick up the man's trail after he had found some sense of shaky equanimity through which he keeps the "other guy," the Hulk, from breaking forth.
It lends more emotional power to the Hulk when he's eventually unleashed. And through motion-capture technology in which Ruffalo's body language and performance is digitally captured as the undercarriage for the Hulk, topped off by computer animation, the green giant looks more genuine and moves more credibly among real people than he did in the earlier movies.
The Hulk's face even resembles Ruffalo's — tinted green and strained and bloated in colossal rage.
"It's creepy, I have to say," Ruffalo said as he looked through a photo album with stills of him transformed into the Hulk. "It's exactly what we wanted it to be like. Even my chest hair, the gray in my hair. Wow. It's pretty amazing, but it's a little shocking."