The Wrap reports that Marvel is conducting down-to-the-wire negotiations to sign Mark Ruffalo in time to introduce the actor as the new Bruce Banner at the studio's Saturday panel at Comic-Con International. Ruffalo, star of The Kids Are All Right, would have to be flown from the East Coast to join the rest of the cast of The Avengers in Hall H.
Reports emerged last week that Ruffalo was in "late-stage negotiations" to play the Incredible Hulk's alter ego, just days after a public feud sparked by studio President Kevin Feige's pointed announcement that Edward Norton would not be reprising the role.
According to The Wrap, the hold-up with Ruffalo centers on pay and the number of films to which he would commit. According to a "knowledgeable individual," Marvel wants him to sign on for between four and six films.
After months of speculation, Joss Whedon finally confirmed yesterday that he's directing The Avengers, leaving the role of Bruce Banner as one of a handful of question marks hanging over Marvel's 2012 tent-pole film. The others involve persistent rumors that Nathan Fillion and Eva Longoria will play Ant-Man and the Wasp, and a June report that The Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner was in talks to portray Hawkeye.)
If all goes according to plan, and to reports, Ruffalo will be introduced on-stage alongside Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and others. The Avengers opens on May 4, 2012.