Although Mark Ruffalo’s continuing portrayal as Bruce Banner/Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe undoubtedly helps, his name doesn’t have as much influence in Hollywood these days. Ruffalo recounted being told by studio reps that no one bothered about him during the casting procedure for David Fincher’s highly regarded 2007 crime thriller “Zodiac” in a recent interview with High Snobiety.
Regarding his acting career at the height of the 2000s, Ruffalo remarked, “Studios, they weren’t coming to me in that way. “I’ll never forget when they were negotiating my deal [for ‘Zodiac’], the studio negotiator literally said to my manager, ‘Look, we don’t give a shit about Mark Ruffalo. We don’t even want Mark Ruffalo in this movie, so you’re going to take what we’re offering you or forget it.’”
Joss Whedon’s unexpected invitation for Ruffalo to play Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was partly due to the studio’s complete disregard for him. “The fact that Joss came to me for the Hulk was so out of the blue,” Ruffalo said. “It’s a tough part – how do you get away with playing a character that doesn’t want to do what everybody wants him to do and sustain that? It’s like a trap. I read it and I was like, ‘I can do something with this.’” Ruffalo claimed that Marvel transformed him into an action-oriented hero, which was very different from how Hollywood had previously seen him. Hollywood executives saw him as a rom-com guy after a run of romantic-comedy box office smashes including “13 Going on 30” and “Just Like Heaven.”“What I felt immediately in the film world is, once you did one thing well, that’s what they think you are,” Ruffalo remarked. “They will just come to you with that part over and over again. And I was like, ‘No.’ My career is not going to be that. I’m going to do as much as I can to try and make people see me in different ways so that I can do more over the years.”