Mark Ruffalo is reportedly in late-stage negotiations with Marvel Studios to play The Hulk in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. After this past weekend’s announcements that Edward Norton would not be returning to play the Hulk, the studio has been trying to sign a new actor ASAP. Marvel wants the main cast together when they make their “surprise” annoucement regarding The Avengers at their Comic-Con presentation on Saturday in Hall H. The Avengers is set to star Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow). Mike Fleming at Deadline observes (and I agree): “Like Edward Norton, whom he’d be replacing, Ruffalo would bring real chops to the role. But, unlike Edward Norton, he wouldn’t an on-set asshole.”
Hit the jump for other reasons why I think Ruffalo would be a pretty fantastic choice.
Earlier this week, we reported on the rumor that Joaquin Phoenix had been offered the role. If that turned out to be the case, I’m glad Phoenix turned down the role. His personal baggage would overshadow the character. I respect that Marvel is staying committed to casting real actors for these parts and not just the hot star of the moment. Ruffalo is one of the best actors around right now and I think he would make a fine Bruce Banner. As for the Hulk, it’s difficult to say how much any actor can contribute to the green giant since so much falls on the shoulders of the animators. I’ll accept that Ruffalo isn’t the first name that comes to mind when casting the role, but that’s kind of what I love about it. Ultimately, when it comes to acting caliber, Ruffalo would be a welcome addition to the cast.