Robert Downey Jr helped convince a ‘scared’ Mark Ruffalo to join the MCU
Mark Ruffalo was “scared” when the Marvel Cinematic Universe approached him about portraying the Hulk in 2012’s The Avengers.
Ruffalo admitted as much during his recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, saying that, up until that point, he had “only been doing indie movies.”
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"So I was like, 'I don't know if I'm the right person for this.' And [writer and director] Joss Whedon's like, ‘Yeah, you are the right person.’”
But Whedon wasn’t the one that ultimately convinced Ruffalo to take the role as Bruce Banner. Instead, Ruffalo only decided to join the MCU after Robert Downey Jr, who he had previously worked with on Zodiac, called him up.
"And then I got a call from Downey, it must've made it to him that I was hemming and hawing, and he just simply said, 'Ruffalo, let's go. We got this.' In true Iron Man fashion. And then after that, I was like, 'I guess I have to do it.’”
Before officially signing on the dotted line, though, Ruffalo asked the notoriously secret Marvel Studios to see a few pages of the script for The Avengers.
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“I was like, 'I need to read something,' and the studio was like, 'We're sorry, we don't give anything out’.” Fortunately for Ruffalo, Whedon understood his predicament, so provided him with 20 pages that gave him a taste of Banner.
"I read that first scene of when Scarlett [Johansson], when Black Widow finds Banner in India, and I was like, 'Okay, I love this.' It was different, you know. I was like, 'Oh, okay ... It's humorous and it's kind of playful and I think I could do something with it.’”