Who doesn't have fond memories of the Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby as David Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as his angry green alter ego? We bet everyone does, and it seems that The Avengers' Mark Ruffalo also feels that way, as he and geek icon director Joss Whedon are looking to Bixby's take on the character for inspiration!
While talking to Digital Spy during a U.K. press tour for The Kids Are All Right, Ruffalo—who's already the third actor to play Banner in the movies, but is the first who will play the Hulk himself in the anticipated film and the subsequent Hulk movies through the magic of motion capture—has revealed that he's been looking at different interpretations of the character, including that of Bill Bixby.
What's most important to both the actor (who jokingly referred to the character of Bruce Banner as his generation's Hamlet) and Whedon is that Banner be a bit more "charming and accessible" to the audience—something the previous two incarnations may have lacked:
We want him to be an everyman, not so dour. A little more charming or accessible. We're still sort of working it out with the script. I'm not exactly sure what it'll end up being, but we've talked quite a bit about the Bill Bixby version of the Hulk.
Having seen all versions of Bruce Banner (which no doubt includes Eric Bana and Edward Norton), Mark Ruffalo especially doesn't want to keep Bixby's take out of his mind. He thinks everyone's done cool things with the character, but he also hopes to add something to the mix, which he will no doubt successfully do.
Ruffalo also mentioned that the tone of The Avengers will be more in keeping with the style of Joss Whedon, who's always had a knack for tongue-in-cheek humor (which reminds us of the good old days of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly), and that Robert Downey Jr. (who of course plays Iron Man) was the reason why he joined the project. Ruffalo and Downey had previously worked together on David Fincher's Zodiac.
I have a feeling there'll be a little nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I think Robert sort of reinvented that genre in a way and I talked to him quite a bit before I took the part, how it works and how to do it. He said, 'C'mon we'll have fun, we'll work it out.' I trust him a lot so I think we'll have a good time playing with it.
The Avengers will be out in theaters on May 4, 2012.