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July 26 2010

Joss explains why Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo are right for The Avengers. In related Avengers coverage, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth speak about Joss and the movie in separate interviews here and here.

Between now and May 2012 is going to be wild.
So they waste my time showing me an ad in Swedish, only to tell me that the video isn't available in Sweden. *draws a frowny face on a palm tree*
I think Renner is an amazing choice, exactly for the reason Joss mentions it.

I love Joss, so I trust the Mark Ruffalo thing, but I feel like he's been told not to bring up Norton at all with the whole "first and last choice" thing. Everything with that is rubbing me the wrong way.

I love Norton, but maybe he is a total wanker. If so, it would seem that happened post-Fight Club, which for some reason makes sense.

I'm also not entirely clear on how much say Joss has had with regards to either of them being cast. The Ruffalo thing happened so fast after the Norton firing or whatever.
I'm interpreting Joss' comment as being that Ruffalo(btw, does his name make anyone else think of Ruffles chips?) was his first and only choice for the part after they dumped Norton. I've seen Joss being criticized for the comment on various sites and I don't understand what they wanted him to say: "Derp, Norton rules, Feige sucks!" Ruffalo is Banner now and Joss' praising him does not mean he is disparaging Norton. Nothing against you Puppetdog, its just something I've noticed on fan boards.
Very nice compliment about Mark Ruffalo from Joss. It's true, even though I am a big Ruffalo fan, that he does have that quality of being haunted by something, an underdog, and an everyman, like Bill Bixby. The Joss trust in him bodes extremely well (phew, that fix was a huge Freudian slip). I don't think there has ever been a miscast actor in any of his projects.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-07-26 23:39 ]
I don't think there has ever been a miscast actor in any of his projects.

Ashanti. Sarah Thompson. Those are the only 2 glaring miscasts I can think of.
So, after The Avengers can Jeremy Renner and Nathan Fillion please play brothers in something?
I'm so excited for this film it's insane.

On the Sarah Thompson thing.....I really wish we coulda had Morena as Eve, as had been intended. That woulda been cool.

[ edited by Alex_Jamieson on 2010-07-26 23:40 ]
PuppetDoug, Norton is notorious for wresting control away from the director of American History X. It wasn't even friction during production, but he got final cut away from the director, who subsequently tried to have his name taken off the film entirely in protest. Edward Norton is a great actor, but he's not one to let others shape his creative destiny, which is unfortunate because he's an actor by profession. Though he may have mellowed somewhat with time.

Joss, on the other hand, dislikes it when actors ad-lib and he wants his vision on the screen. We complain about networks and studios giving Joss notes and creative interference, but must he deal with that from his actors too? And Joss has gone on record saying that those notes are often helpful; the only time he ever badmouthed an actor was Donald Sutherland, and his cardinal sin:

Donald was just... He would rewrite all his dialogue, and the director would let him. He can't write - he's not a writer - so the dialogue would not make sense. And he had a very bad attitude. He was incredibly rude to the director, he was rude to everyone around him, he was just a real pain. And to see him destroying my stuff... Some people didn't notice. Some people liked him in the movie. Because he's Donald Sutherland. He's a great actor. He can read the phone book, and I'm interested. But the thing is, he acts well enough that you didn't notice, with his little rewrites, and his little ideas about what his character should do, that he was actually destroying the movie more than Rutger was.

I also love Ruffalo; his work tends to be more indie and low-key, as in Eternal Sunshine, You Can Count on Me, The Kids Are All Right, and I think he'd be perfect as Bruce Banner because I can easily see him as the nervous, vulnerable kind of guy whose life has been overturned by becoming the Hulk. Basically, the Hulk story is a Jeckyll/Hyde variation, which means that the Jeckyll side of the character (Banner) needs to be a weak, nervous wreck, still good but not strong. I can totally see Ruffalo embodying that.
Every time Joss talks about these characters I get more enthusiastic about this. Jeremy Renner was just fantastic in The Hurt Locker and Mark Ruffalo is the kind of actor who always looks like there's a lot more going on inside--sometimes scary more. Look forward to finding out which Avenger pisses Bruce Banner off. ;)
...which means that the Jeckyll(sic) side of the character (Banner) needs to be a weak, nervous wreck, still good but not strong.

Huh? I never saw Bixby as embodying a "weak, nervous wreck" on the show and since a Bixby-like Banner is Joss's stated vision I don't expect that out of Ruffalo's portrayal. Bixby's Banner might have been reserved, troubled, and lonely maybe, but I would never call him weak or nervous. That said, I agree that Ruffalo will be brilliant in the role.
Agreed with eddy that the quote should probably not be interpreted as an insult to Norton, but only as a compliment to Ruffalo.

I also agree with dottikin, though I was disappointed at first when I found out Norton wouldn't be in the cast, I'm now very glad they landed on Ruffalo (though I also agree with BreathesStory, that we probably won't see a 'weak, nervous wreck').

Joss' take on the character resembles the way I feel The Hulk was presented in the comics more closely than either movie has so far; the one emphasizing the angst and turmoil Banner feels correctly, but doing that through a weak script and a flat performance, and the other - though having a much better performance and script - making Banner into too much of an action hero himself. And Ruffalo is, I feel, a good choice to play that Banner.

I also like what Evans is saying about Joss' rewrites on Captain America, which are making me look forward a lot more to that movie than previously. And all in all, every interview Joss does on The Avengers are making me more and more excited. It's rare that a director and writer's vision so closely resemble what I like about these characters. But then seeing as that writer/director is Joss, whose work I've loved for years, that's statistically not that surprising when all's said and done :).
Sorry--I'm actually not familiar with any Hulk incarnations besides the two movies and Millar's Ultimates, so I'm only going off of what I know. I don't think Norton was the perfect Banner, though he gave, as always, a pretty good performance. He just didn't put the ultimate stamp on the role -- and neither did Bana for that matter. So I'm fine with re-casting with an actor I do respect and am a fan of.

From his words, it's entirely possible that when Marvel took Norton off the table, it was Joss who asked if they could get Ruffalo.
I think I'm going to have to add both Thor and Captain America to my 'must see' movies list, just so I'm familiar with the characters before I get to see Joss' Avengers (and how cool is it to say "Joss' Avengers"!?! lol).

I'm very excited about all of this, thrilled that Joss is thrilled with the casting, and confident that the movie will kick ass (just still a little afraid it will never be made...).
I just thought of something - I wonder if this gig will lead to Joss being a guest on Letterman. Or Conan. Or - the best - Stephen Colbert.

I can dream...
Hmm... just noticed, thanks to this handy breakdown, that every Marvel film to date has made a point of introducing at least one additional recurring character to the overall continuum excepting - going by the roster as it stands - this one...
I want to see the dinner scene too, like Giant-Size Astonishing Chris Hemsworth.
I love hearing these guys praise each others talents. I've been pumped for Jeremy Renner for a couple months back when it was rumored he was up for Hawkeye (having just seen The Hurt Locker) and saying to myself perfect! I also agree with dottikin, neither actor before really brought Bruce Banner across in a way that became concrete for me, no disrespect to them or fans of them it just didn't do it for me. Ruffalo is an outstanding choice for this role, I love his quality in what I would describe as a quiet and dignified depth to his roles, it's a great fit imo.
Jeremy Renner has been terrific in every single thing I've seen him in. Anybody see him in "Dahmer"? Very disturbing film (as it had to be), and his brilliance in the role made it that much *more* disturbing. By all accounts, he's also a total team player (I've read a lot about "Hurt Locker"), so it sounds like he's a wonderful choice from both a performance standpoint and taking-direction standpoint. As for Mark Ruffalo, the man is an excellent actor and it's not like there have been even two "Hulk" movies with the same actor, so even if he were an actor of lesser ability, I still would have a hard time feeling anybody was being usurped. I do think it's rather a shame that the Marvel stable doesn't include a character called Buffalo, just because I'd love to hear someone say "Ruffalo IS Buffalo!" (This is because I am actually three years old.)
Did we know that Joss made a pass at the Captain America script, which is mentioned in that Chris Evans interview??

I'm so excited about Avengers I just might explode a little.
I knew before this link but not before Comic-Con (Chris Evans mentioned it in another interview).

I'm still not 100% convinced about Ruffalo but Joss clearly is and i'm very happy to give the guy the benefit of the doubt (it's not because I don't think he can act the part BTW - from what i've seen he certainly has the chops - it's just that I don't immediately see him in the role as I did with for instance Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spidey or Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, it's mainly his physicality that gives me pause). Norton was better than Bana but I agree he wasn't necessarily definitive in the role, just very good (it's not like someone trying to follow Sean Connery as Bond for instance) so there's plenty of room for someone else's take on it.

(no problems with Jeremy Renner, partly because he's been good to great in everything i've seen him in and partly because I don't have a particularly strong image of Hawkeye in my mind anyway)

ETR a misplaced 'e' cos 'Toney Stark' is an entirely different super-hero, possibly one that uses his perfect pitch to fight crime.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-07-27 10:35 ]
The one thing that surprised me was all the negative responses on the 'net about Norton no longer having the part. Granted, Norton is a wonderful actor and he played the character well in the last movie. But, don't quite understand why so many people feel that would lock him into the role? I'm thinking Ruffalo will be able to hit the nail on the head as well as the big green, hulking personality.

Oh Saje, you miss spelled a word! We all been known to do that time to time. Just try not to make it a habit, plus you owe everyone a beer or a wine cooler of their choice :)
You mean he's NOT Toney Stark!?!? Gads, another bubble burst!
Did we know that Joss made a pass at the Captain America script, which is mentioned in that Chris Evans interview??

Either Deadline or Heat Vision mentioned that Joss polished the script for "Captain America" when Chris Evans landed the role. Or before, I'm not sure which.

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