Unbeknownst to his fans or co-star, Mark Ruffalo aka Bruce Banner felt extremely insecure about his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Mark Ruffalo is one of the goofiest and most loveable actors who starred in the ‘Avengers’ films. Yet the actor felt like he did not belong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read further to find out why.
- Mark Ruffalo’s initiation into the MCU
- Mark Ruffalo’s insecurities in the MCU
THE PERFECT SUBSTITUTE
While Robert Downey Jr. debuted ‘Iron Man‘ to the world with the 2008 ‘Iron Man’, Hulk also came to the big screens with Edward Norton’s ‘The Incredible Hulk’. The Hulk origin film made an average collection of $265 million at the box office. But the lead actor’s fate was sealed.
Although Edward Norton’s character Bruce Banner later appeared many times in the MCU, the actor was replaced by none other than Mark Ruffalo, who turned out to be the perfect substitute. One can’t envision Bruce Banner without Ruffalo’s innocent humour, intelligence, and chemistry with his other dear actors.
Ruffalo is a team player, someone that Marvel Studios believed Edward Norton is not. While firing him before the filming of ‘Avengers’, the studio mentioned in an official statement that Norton did not meet the requirements
“for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members”.
Consequently, Mark Ruffalo was deemed as the flawless, no-trouble replacement who would “thrive working as part of an ensemble“. As it turned out, the studio made the right choice parting away with Norton. He wanted creative control over films and had also sought to re-write the script of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and further lobbied for the release of his own theatrical cut.
Ruffalo, on the other hand, felt like Norton had “bequeathed this part” to him and lived up to the responsibility flawlessly by delivering a relatable Bruce Banner and Hulk. However, despite his success, Mark Ruffalo felt worthless in the MCU.
Mark Ruffalo’s career in Los Angeles began with bartending and working at a theatre which was his “dream come true“, according to an interview with “Variety“. Regardless of how “shitty” his days could be, the actor reminisced, “When I walked in the theatre, I was in heaven“.
During this period, Ruffalo also met his lovely wife, Sunrise, who motivated him to aim higher as an actor. Ruffalo recalled his wife telling him,
“I think you might be shooting a little bit low. I think you can probably expand what you think you’re capable of”.
From there, the actor journeyed into making a serious career in Hollywood and starred in hit films like ’13 Going on 30′ with his close pal Jennifer Garner, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘Collateral’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘Shutter Island’, etc.
Finally, in 2012, he entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which he felt like he never belonged as revealed by the actor himself. Whenever Ruffalo felt irked by the hassle of being on a Marvel set, he had to ground himself and reiterate that he was a replacement to Norton. Hence, he must feel grateful.
“Every time I’m whining like, ‘God damn, how long are we waiting for the setup?’ I’m like, ‘Hey, remember you’re not even supposed to be here’. Right. I just remember to be grateful because I still can’t believe it. I still keep thinking, they’re going to throw me out of the club. I never belonged here in the first place and they’re all going to find out”.Emphasizing how worthless he felt at times, Mark Ruffalo expressed,
His insecurities are understandable, given that he was brought in as someone else’s substitute. To add to it, unlike all the other flagship Avengers, Ruffalo has not experienced the privilege of starring in his standalone film, due to a tussle with stubborn executives at Universal.
It feels really unfair that a great actor like Mark Ruffalo felt like he never belonged in MCU. If we look at his performances, for which he has been nominated for several Oscars, and even bagged an Emmy, it appears as if Marvel should introspect whether it deserves Ruffalo and not the other way around.
Hopefully, the worthless feeling that Mark Ruffalo experiences in the MCU will soon subside since the actor is set to star in Disney+’s ‘She-Hulk‘, which will feature his reel-life sister taking on the titular role. The series will hit the streaming platform in 2022.
Meanwhile, tell us in the comments below, what do you think of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and whether the MCU has fully explored the potential of both the actor and the character?