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Avengers Features ‘Fresh’ Take on Bruce Banner, Joss Whedon Says

While Mark Ruffalo’s take on Bruce Banner in The Avengers will be a departure from previous big-screen depictions of the Hulk’s alter ego, director Joss Whedon reveals they turned to television touchstone to help them develop the character.

“He and I did the most character work of anyone, because we really were starting fresh, but we were starting with something that had been embodied several times,” Whedon tells Yahoo’s Movie Talk. “And both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. We spent a lot of time talking about what makes us Hulk out, the nature of anger, how it feels.

“We even fought some,” the director continues. “I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him. It was extremely fun. What we found was that he could be very bumbling and kind of awkward, but at the same time very graceful and in this almost transcendent control of himself.”

With more than six months until the film’s release, the interview is of course light on detail, with the questions touching upon Whedon’s experience working with the ensemble cast and veteran actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, and the challenges of directing large action scenes.

We’re not given any further clues as to the plot, but Whedon does indicate that The Avengers will shine a spotlight on Jackson’s Nick Fury. Just don’t expect that light to be too penetrating.

“Well, he is not going to be talking about his childhood, and you do want to keep a certain mystery,” the director says. “Also — and this is something that I was very pleased that Marvel actually mandated — they were very interested in keeping him, not just in the sort of a mystery of how the organization operates, but a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, ‘Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world? Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?’ And that was really fun to tweak. I felt that in the other movies, they had been cameos and he had been called upon to come in and be Sam Jackson and bluster a little bit. And I told Sam upfront that my big agenda was to see the weight on someone who is supposed to be in control of the most powerful beings on the planet. The weight on somebody who has to run the organization and the gravity of it. Not that we don’t have any fun with Nick, but he definitely — it’s, I feel like a much more textured performance and at times really moving.”

Opening May 4, The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig.


  • Ian33407

    interesting, wait and see

  • Lenka

    why didn’t you talk to Joss Whedon?

  • Lenka
  • Glennsim

    The article clearly states the source of the information. This is not an interview. This is a news story about an interview.

  • Jacob

    Good. Banner’s been stuck in one spot for a long time. I’m really excited to see something new from it.

  • Lenka

    So ti’s OK to steal if you say where you stole it from?

  • Jacob

    It’s not stealing. It’s citing your sources while spreading the information. It’s the very basis of journalism.

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan

    At the end of Incredible Hulk, Banner seemed to realize, “Ok, I can’t seem to get rid of the Hulk, and he actually did a bit of good in whaling on the Abomination, so I might as well accept it.” So this seems like a natural progression of the character.

    What kinda irks me though is that everyone is obsessed with Bill Bixby, for whatever reason. I haven’t watched too much of the old show, to be honest, but I highly doubt that, in the Hulk’s 50 years in existence, the portrayal on a 1970’s TV show is the definitive take on the character.

    But that’s just me.

  • Lenka

    The very basis of journalism is to do your own reporting, not take someone else’s. If the above story ran across the desk of any major newspaper editor in the country, the reporter would be chastised for laziness, if not fired for stealing.  It’s not fair use because CBR took substantial portions of this story and made money off it. (And this is a regular policy here) That’s making money off someone else’s work. Shameful. Cut-and-paste “journalism” is not journalism. It’s stealing. And they can get away with it because the originating media organization doesn’t have time to deal with low-level thievery.

    It’s akin to people pirating comic books on the internet. And who supports that? Other than those who do it, of course.

    What would happen if I started a site called Ripoff and basically took every story that ran on Spinoff, extracted the main elements of out of every piece, added a paragraph of background info and  put a byline on the top of it?

    Here’s a tip. If you want to keep abreast of the Avengers movie, just google it. You don’t have to come here because that’s essentially what they are doing.

  • Jacob

    How exactly would you suggest they go about covering this piece of news? Summarizing what Whedon said? Why? It was an interview. They can just quote him. That’s completely legitimate journalism. It happens all the time. On the internet and in major newspapers across the country. It would be plagiarism if they copied and pasted the entire article right here without citing a source. Saying it’s plagiarism to copy what he said basically makes the entire concept of quoting what someone says plagiarism.

  • Lenka

    If something happens all the time, it doesn’t legitimize it. Murders happen all the time. Doesn’t change the fact that murder is wrong.


  • Omegasaga

    I actually think the 2nd movie nailed it in terms of Bruce Banner.   Not only Ed Norton look like Banner of the comics, he acted perfectly like him.

    The boring BIXBY version was kinda lame.
    And i grew up watching / loving the show in the late 70s

  • Nyan

    Don’t feed the trolls

  • Jacob

    So I’m just supposed to let all this troll food go bad? Psh, please. Come up with a good suggestion and I’ll consider considering it before rejecting it.

  • Jacob

    The difference being that murder is illegal and citing your sources is not. (that’s not the only difference, but you get the point. or maybe you don’t…)

  • Wyatt Samuel K

    In fairness, ceasing a fight with someone who clearly does not understand their own premise, is a pretty good suggestion.

    It is impossible to have a rational discussion with fans, 5yr olds, and people who refuse to recognize that their premise is wrong.

    Lenka posted a link that says his claim of plagiarism is incorrect, and yet he continued to argue.  He clearly falls into the third category.

  • Jacob

    In fairness, I was being sarcastic. Blame the internet for not having a sarcasm button. Instead of smashing particles into each other, CERN, work on the important shit.

  • Gbutler

    Yes.. its called citeing sources… its kind’ve the cornerstone of academic journalism