It wasn't Mark Ruffalo's fault, but the road to his getting cast as the new Bruce Banner was a bumpy one, with lots of bad blood between Marvel and Ed Norton, the last actor to portray the Hulk's alter ego. But now that he's a part of Joss Whedon's Avengers movie, what does Ruffalo make of the messy PR war that came before?
In an interview with popwatch, Ruffalo compared his stepping into Norton's shoes to another famous role played by multiple actors over the years—only one that sprang from the mind of Shakespeare, not Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
"I'm a friend of Ed's," he said, "And yeah, that wasn't a great way for all that to go down. But the way I see it is that Ed has bequeathed this part to me. I look at it as my generation's Hamlet."
But when looking for a role model, Ruffalo goes neither to Norton nor Shakespeare—he instead heads to the first live-action Hulk, Bill Bixby.
"He's a guy struggling with two sides of himself—the dark and the light—and everything he does in his life is filtered through issues of control," the actor said of the character. "I grew up on the Bill Bixby TV series, which I thought was a really nuanced and real human way to look at the Hulk. I like that the part has those qualities."
So do you think Ruffalo has what it takes to be this generation's Bruce Banner?