Mark Ruffalo probably isn't who, well, anyone thought of when Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige mentioned "a name actor" to replace Edward Norton in The Avengers. However, Nikki Finke reports that the Shutter Island co-star is in "late-stage discussions" to play Bruce Banner in the ensemble film.
As recently as this morning, names like Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Nathan Fillion and, curiously, David Tennant were being bandied about. "Name actors," certainly. But Ruffalo? Finke notes that he's "an actor's actor" who has been receiving critical raves for The Kids Are All Right. And, "unlike Edward Norton, he wouldn't an on-set asshole."
Be that as it may, the only one who walked away from the weekend feud sparked by Feige's unflattering comments is Norton, whose gracious response went a long way in endearing the actor with fans. And despite his reputation among fellow the actors, the introduction of Ruffalo in Hall H during Comic-Con is less likely to be met by a round of applause than by a chorus of "Who?"
The July 24th Marvel Studios panel is expected to feature confirmation of Joss Whedon as director of The Avengers, as well as introduction of the full cast.
Update: Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider reports that while sources confirm Marvel is interested in the 42-year-old Ruffalo, no negotiations have taken place.
Update 2: Heat Vision cites sources as saying that Ruffalo has been made an offer, but that he has neither decided whether he wants the role nor met with Whedon. Talks are reportedly under way to set up a meeting between the two at the end of the week or over the weekend.