Mark Ruffalo talks about turning green in The Avengers

Sometimes there are really big shoes to fill when it comes to one actor replacing another in a movie franchise. Stepping into those shoes for a collaboration film with about five other big-named actors makes it an even bigger task.

Mark Ruffalo is going to take over for Edward Norton as the Hulk when it comes time to film the superhero jaunt, The Avengers. Norton took over after Eric Bana just didn’t cut it in the first film and ended up turning Bruce Banner/The Hulk into the character we all hoped he’d be. Now it will be up to Ruffalo to continue that energy and realism.

Seeing the entire cast of The Avengers on stage together was a sight to be seen and one that was surely exciting for Ruffalo. Entertainment Weekly caught up with Ruffalo after the San Diego Comic Con and got in a few questions with him in regards to becoming the green monster.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You had a pretty interesting weekend.

MARK RUFFALO: Yeah, you can say that.

This Avengers cast is pretty awesome. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man). Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury). Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow). Chris Evans (Captain America). Chris Hemsworth (Thor). Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye). And you. What was it like appearing en masse at Comic-Con last weekend and being introduced to 6,500 screaming comic book fans?

It was very exciting — and I realized I had some pretty big shoes to fill. Those were my heroes up there! I was a comic book fan growing up. I loved The Hulk and The Avengers — it’s just strange to be entering that world as an actor. I never would have imagined that before.

You had never been to Comic-Con before?

No, I had not. I was very, very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. That’s as close you’re going to get to being a rock star as an actor. The fans — they have very strong feelings toward their comic book heroes.

You’ll be playing Bruce Banner, The Hulk’s human alter ego. What are your thoughts on the character?

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. 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.

Did you have any trepidation taking the role, given the very public way Marvel split with Edward Norton?

I’m a friend of Ed’s, 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.

When do you start shooting?

Sometime in the winter. I’m not sure.

The Avengers is set for a May 4, 2012 release date but that is always subject to change.

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