Mark Ruffalo Recalls Famous Actor Telling Him Playing Hulk in MCU Meant Directors 'Won't Work With You'

The actor has portrayed Bruce Banner in 10 films and TV shows within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Man with wavy hair in a formal suit, close-up, direct gaze, neutral background
Image via Getty / Amy Sussman / WireImage
Man with wavy hair in a formal suit, close-up, direct gaze, neutral background

Mark Ruffalo recalled in an interview with GQ how a famous actor once told him that certain directors would not want to work with him due to his affiliation with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ruffalo, who has portrayed Bruce Banner in 10 MCU properties over the course of a decade, would not disclose the name of the actor, but said their conversation took place after the mystery person received an offer for a part in a Marvel project.

"Aren't you worried no big directors are going to want to work with you?" the actor asked, to which Ruffalo responded, "Well, not really." After hearing that Paul Thomas Anderson was one of these "big directors" who would not cast him, the Poor Things actor said, "Oh fuck. If there’s one person I wanna work with, it's Paul Thomas Anderson."

"Well, that sucks," he added.

Despite the negativity surrounding the MCU among some circles in Hollywood, Ruffalo is still "really proud" of his work in the Marvel films and looks back fondly at the communal response to those projects, which rivals some of his other work.

"I'm really proud of it," he told Olivia Ovenden. "I've sat in movie theaters with the movies I've done with big directors. I've also experienced these Marvel movies with an audience and the amount of community and expression…it touched every single emotion. That means something to me. I don't look down on it."

Ruffalo also believes there is a hint of envy from his peers who are critical of his commitment to the MCU. "Sometimes I think it’s jealousy, a little bit," he said. "Because then I see them run off and do it."

Portraying the Hulk has provided Ruffalo with a unique opportunity. Since he has only appeared in projects without ever headlining one, the 56-year-old has been able to take opportunities that require more of his time. The four-time Oscar nominee received three of those nods (all for Best Supporting Actor)—as well as an Emmy nomination—during his MCU tenure.

While limiting his time as the Hulk to cameos and appearances in other projects certainly has its advantages, Ruffalo has seemingly come to terms with the reality that he may never do a standalone Hulk movie.

"I'd love to do a standalone Hulk, I just don’t think that’s ever going to happen," he told GQ, citing the cost of what would certainly be a CGI-heavy film. "It's very expensive if you did a whole movie, which is why they use the Hulk so sparingly. I priced myself out!"

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