After years of waiting, Marvel’s The Avengers finally comes to the big screen on May 4th. Samuel L Jackson reprises the role he’s played in several tags to Marvel movies, Nick Fury, the director of S.L.I.E.L.D. who assembles all the superheroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) together when an unexpected enemy threatens the safety of the world.
Unlike the other actors, this is the first time Ruffalo has portrayed Bruce Banner/The Hulk and he along with Sam Jackson spoke about the experience of making the movie.
After doing cameos as Nick Fury in the other Marvel movies, is it fun to finally play him in this?
Samuel: It’s great to be the guy who is the organizer of The Avengers team. He’s the guy who has to get them to understand the nature of the threat – that they’re a lot stronger together than they are individually. He does kind of fudge the truth a bit to get them to take the bait and join in, and eventually they all do.
There are a lot of versions of the Hulk out there and a lot of actors have portrayed Bruce Banner. Did you do any specific research as far as the comic book issues?
Mark: I met with Joss Whedon and he said he really liked The Incredible Hulk TV show, and what Bill Bixby did with him. So I rented those with my 10-year-old son. And after the third episode, he turned to me and said, ‘Poppa, he’s so misunderstood.’
I basically based my character entirely on my 10-year-old boy, who has all the force of nature screaming out of his body while, at the same time, having everyone around him telling him to control himself.
Was it hard coming into this franchise?
Mark: It was terrifying. I made the mistake of going online and reading some of the fanboy responses to the announcement that I was playing the next version of Bruce Banner. I will never do that again. I never had a role be more scrutinized and criticized even before I shot a single frame.
But coming onto the set with all of these guys was pretty daunting. Many of my heroes in life are in this cast. So I knew that I had big shoes to fill, so to speak.
What do you like best about your character, what makes your guy special to you?
Mark: We’re all told to be so well-behaved and I think we all sometimes are bursting at the seams to let it rip, and Bruce Banner gets that moment. And I think part of the joy for people is to actually see that happen. It’s a nice way for us to blow off steam in watching movies.
Samuel: I just like the fact that Nick Fury believes that these unique individuals deserve the love and admiration of the world, who pretty much owe everything to them because there are things out there greater than us.
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