Robert Downey Jr. has a great list of movies under his belt that showcase his acting potential. But, we all know him by his globally popular portrayal of Tony Stark aka Iron Man. While his character has taken an eternal rest after shining in glory in Avengers: Endgame, we all know our superhero’s significance in the MCU.
But one might be surprised to know that the actor convinced Mark Ruffalo to join the superhero franchise after the latter was rejected to get associated with them for the first time.
Mark Ruffalo Almost Became Hulk Before Edward Norton
Mark Ruffalo portrayed our Bruce Banner/ angry superhero, Hulk in the MCU starting with 2012’s The Avengers. In a 2020 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he responded to the rumors stating that he didn’t want to take the green superhero role when Marvel Studios offered him the role for the movie.
“I was scared,” he shared in the online session. “I didn’t know what I could add to what I already thought had been done so well before me.”
He was referring to Edward Norton who portrayed the character in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. However, it would surprise many that the former was considered for the role even in the 2008 film. Director, Louis Leterrier wanted to cast him but the superhero studio turned him down. As per what he told Huffington Post, the studio wanted a famous face for the portrayal. As to why Ruffalo was rejected, “he just does smart, intellectual movies.”
While he was unable to get close to the role, he was hesitant when the studio went to him as he had “only been doing indie movies up ’til that point,” deeming himself to be unfit for the role.
“So I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m the right person for this.’ And Joss Whedon’s like, yeah, you are the right person.'”
When The Avengers director’s efforts were still not at par to convince the former, Robert Downey Jr. stepped in to save the day.
Robert Downey Jr. Convinced Mark Ruffalo to Play Hulk
Before saving the world from Thanos with his hands (or a snap), The Iron Man actor jumped in to convince his then-future co-star. Ruffalo recalled getting a call from Downey Jr. in a ‘true Iron Man fashion’ which eventually made up his mind.
He shared with the host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,
“And then I got a call from Downey, It must’ve made it to him that I was hemming and hawing, and he just simply said, ‘Ruffalo, let’s go. We got this.’ In true Iron Man fashion. And then after that, I was like, ‘I guess I have to do it.’ “
Not only did he accept the Hulk role, but he also got his hands on the film’s script. It is surely a huge deal as Marvel is known to keep their film scripts secretive to avoid any leaks. The studio refused to give him the film script before he accepted the role. However, he was adamant that he would not “never do another movie without reading a script beforehand, because it’s a recipe for disaster, and then you get stuck in something.”
But eventually, Whedon helped him to share “20 pages of what he had written so far” of his character. He was ready to get on board after reading that small chunk. He went on to reprise his roles even after that including his time in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.