Joss Whedon Explains Casting Renner/Ruffalo in The Avengers

July 28, 2010
Source: MTV

Joss Whedon

Looking back at Marvel Studios presentation at Comic-Con last weekend which culminated in revealing the entire cast of The Avengers in front of our very eyes, I can't even explain how amazing it felt to attend that in-person. But now that we're past the announcement stage for this ensemble of superheroes, it's time to get down to business and find out what exactly we have to look forward to with this epic undertaking. Director Joss Whedon felt the need to comment on the reasons behind his choices in Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as a fresh replacement for Edward Norton as The Hulk. See what he had to say below!

In speaking with MTV before Entertainment Weekly's regular Comic-Con shindig, Whedon elaborated on the casting of Renner as the bow-and-arrow wielding hero Hawkeye. He says: "The thing about Hawkeye, he’s got his bows and arrows, you need somebody who's very very down to earth, who's very grounded, and who's going to be the kind of guy who, you see him, and you understand why he likes to be far away from things and then shoot at them.” Of course, he's very well aware that a character like this may seem "very silly" amongst a crew of superheroes, but with Renner he's confident the audience will believe in him.

Meanwhile, Ruffalo was apparently Whedon's "first and only choice for Bruce Banner." Though Whedon wanted him badly, he may have been more surprised by his actual casting than all of us. Whedon says, "I'm stunned that we landed that, just stunned. He has what I remember loving about the show, that quality of, you just look at him and you go through it with him, he invites you in in a way that [no] other performer has since Bill Bixby. He is a guy who's been beaten up by life, but not defined by that. That’s what I want from Bruce Banner, is a guy who’s still getting it done, even though he has his problem." Good answer, Whedon.

Though Whedon has never taken on a cinematic adventure this large in budget, scope and fanbase, the more I hear him talk about the characters, the more confident I am. Aside from a unique filmmaker's eye, he has a work history with and a love for comic books and their style of storytelling. Like you, I'll be looking forward to seeing this truly unbelievable moment in movie/comics history move toward theaters the next few years.

Find more posts: Casting, Movie News, Opinions




eric on Jul 28, 2010



Cracky on Jul 28, 2010


So, it looks like the studio has an agreement with Wheadon that if The Avengers and 'Ruffalo being his first and only choice to play Banner" instead of Norton comes back and bites the studio on the ass at the box office, then the studio head will publically string him up and say "We wanted Ed, but Joss insisted on Mark" and that's why the movie sucked ...

Hattori Hanzo on Jul 28, 2010


Hmm. Still not convinced this is gonna be a worthwhile flick just cause there is some level of character depth.

Eli on Jul 28, 2010


@ #3. Correct.

Alex T. on Jul 28, 2010


#3...FAIL. The studio and Ed had MANY disagreements and were the ultimate cause for him not returning.

Cmurder on Jul 28, 2010


"this truly unbelievable moment in movie/comics history move toward theaters the next few years." Wow dude, get a life. This movie will probably be awful...Joss Wheadon wrote Alien Resurrection for f*** sake. "Movie History" LMFAO

NoNameNoSlogan on Jul 28, 2010


#7 - Uh I'm with Ethan on this one... When The Avengers does come to theaters, it will be a hugely historic/epic moment. This is that crossover comic-book-style Marvel Universe that everyone has wanted to see on the big screen since... hell, the Avengers first teamed up!

Alex Billington on Jul 28, 2010


@7... Yeah he wrote Alien Resurrection but he also created the huge cult following of Firefly(&/)Serenity...and a vampire series (Buffy & Angel) which I pretend he didn't make.

Snowblitz on Jul 28, 2010


ima watch it regardless, cuz i mean, its all these superheroes. lol

KING on Jul 28, 2010


@#8 Alex Billington....Didn't you guys also say Jonah Hex was a "must watch" LOL All Marvel did was have a press conference and you guys are saying "movie history" wtf? you might want to wait until, oh I don't know, a f***ing trailer. I know Joss Wheadon makes you jizz in your pants but I have a hard time seeing "The Avengers" going down in movie history next to Citizen Kane or The Godfather. In the words of Gob Bluth "Come on!"

did you guys forget Spiderman 3 already? on Jul 28, 2010


@ #11, Disregarding the fact that there isn't a trailer and filming hasn't begun, the fact that a franchise which was preceded by five films that all cost hundreds of millions of dollars is being created by bringing the five superheroes within those box office smashing films altogether for one monumental movie is an achievement in itself. No one ever though this was possible or even likely. If you would've told any comic book fans ten years ago that there would be an Avengers movie, let alone movies about Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America, they would have laughed in your face. Also, just because a film goes down in movie history doesn't mean it's synonymous with Citizen Kane or The Godfather. Look at a film like Pink Flamingos or Plan 9 from Outer Space. Those are regarded and considered an integral part of film history. Progress, achievement and innovation are the important parts of history, and since The Avengers is something that has never been attempted or done before in cinema, that's why this is truly a shining moment in film and comic book history already. Regards,

Ethan Anderton on Jul 28, 2010


Bravo Ethan, well said...people on this site just like to argue. If you ignored all The Avengers news like the above comments insinuate then they'd complain that you weren't hyping it enough. seems like defending yourself is just part of the blogger job description, but that's what keeps it interesting as long as all the parties involved stay civil.

peloquin on Jul 28, 2010


@ 11 when did they ever say jonah hex was a must watch? they called it a disaster and a mess because of the sad editing, which it really was. Are you seriously comparing "the avengers" to The Godfather and Citizen Kane? I personally enjoyed The Dark Knight and X2: xmen united as much as any of those, i dont think that makes any of them better than the other, they were all great pieces of art in their own way. The comparison is just absurd. No director knows these characters as good as Joss Whedon and most would probably shit their pants if they had to direct The Avengers. This movie is either gonna be the greatest disaster ever or the greatest superhero movie of all time. I dont think there is any middle ground. All i know is that marvel definitely has the made the right formula with the perfect cast and crew, and now its up to them to deliver. And if they do succeed, DC might even think of making a Justice League movie, and we all know, if done perfectly, absolutely nothing can compare to THAT.

Logan on Jul 28, 2010


@ Alex, I enjoy your articles and optimism, You’re a true fan-boy (no negativity intended) Keep it up! I just wanna give you props for dealing with these trolls trashing your articles on a daily basis, yet there always on this site, hanging on to your every word : ) I am truly eager to see these movies too.

McWilly on Jul 28, 2010


I read that Joss rewrote or tweaked the script for Captain America. And if Marvel keeps an eye on Joe Johnston it'll be safe. The biggest thing I'm worried about is the costuming for Thor. The costumes look like crap. BUT - there was a set of models at Comic Con that had Cap, Thor and Odin done up all Asgardian. And Thor looked BADASS! If they make him look like THAT, I'm all there! I trust Joss Whedon to do this right. Especially since Jon Favreau is Exec Producing, Marvel is still heavily involved (duh) and Joss has proven how adept he is at handling comic properties - see his work on The Runaways, Amazing Xmen, Thunderbolts and more. Yeah he wrote Alien Ressurection. James Cameron wrote Rambo II...

harm on Jul 28, 2010


#15...So people that may disagree with things said on this site are trolls? I come to this site to see trailers for the most part, I'm certainly not hanging on every word. You fanboys are hilarious, seriously, you give me a real chuckle. #16 Cameron's work speaks for itself. What do we get from Joss Wheadon? Mediocre to bad TV shows(buffy) and one of the worst sequels ever (Alien 4). So forgive me if I need a little more to go on before I can agree that a movie that is just BEGINNING production is going to make history. "This is going to be bigger than ten Super Bowls!!" - Homer Simpson

did you guys forget Spiderman 3 already? on Jul 28, 2010


@ #16. Wrong. James Cameron wrote the first draft of Rambo II and then Sly completely rewrote it. Also I love how most of the Whedon fans on here end their statements in support of his work with things like "...with a vampire series which I pretend he didn't make." Obviously the guy isn't that great if even his closest followers still don't like half the stuff he was involved in. Whedon should stick to making sci-fi/horror dramas that give girls 15 and younger heroines to look up to. Theres no shame in that if it's what he's good at. Just keep him the fuck away from anything other than that.

Alex T. on Jul 28, 2010


Haha..well I read all the comments..and I just have to say...If you dont like it..well don watch it...simple and plain..and I love Citizen Kane too.. regards people

Sakyo on Jul 28, 2010


#17 I think you're missing the point. What Ethan is saying is that something like this has never been done before, and for that it will surely be remembered. He never said it was going to be a great piece of cinema.

Vet4Peace on Jul 28, 2010


my biggest beef is why does anything that has to do with the Hulk immediately go back to the Bill Bixby TV series. the Hulk had a history before that and the character has evolved from the "Hulk Smash" days also. it's band enough they took out the Gamma Bomb for Gamma microwave or whatnot but what now more hitchhiking to piano music?

Redneck Ninja on Jul 28, 2010


Dear all haters on The Avengers, GUYS! CALM DOWN! I mean Christ I know where you guys are coming off not thinking this will be good until we see a trailer but just understand that this WILL be a huge event in the course of film history just for the sheer fact of what it is trying to accomplish! All these different characters that people have loved for decades are finally coming together on the silver screen. And I haven't seen a single comment or read anything posted by the staff here that has said this will be the most awesome movie ever or rival Citizen Kane or The Godfather. It will be remembered for the milestone that it brought all these heroes together for the first time ever in a movie and I'm pretty sure with it just being The Avengers it will be remembered for setting massive box office records. SO even if the movie does end up sucking, which is totally plausible, it will be a massive event. Everyone just needs to cool their jets because The Avengers is still another 2 years away. But, haters are gonna hate....haha.

Cinephile on Jul 28, 2010


#21 Hehe. True 🙂 I still trust this guy more than Joe johnston.

ryderup on Jul 28, 2010


True fanboys in here. Ugh. I'm so disgusted at this project. Numbers are nothing when the fans walk away wishing they could have the last two hours of their lives back.

Eli on Jul 28, 2010


I hate to agree with alex God knows but he and Ethan are correct the fact that so many films are being produced with the intent on having one big film(the Avengers) is Cinematic History! that does not mean it will be good. Though I do believe in Joss whedon and the Buffy Angel shows are classic as well as firefly and Dr Horrible. One thing is for sure tho at least none of the Avengers has a big green throbbing Love Muscle for a suit like the Green Lantern does.

Jimmy Love on Jul 29, 2010


this will backfire... whatever it is, they should have brought Ed. Regardless of what their reasons are. Ed equals Hulk equals Banner... that's the equation.

Iggypop on Jul 29, 2010


Behold thee THOR TRAILER!

Scott on Jul 29, 2010


Okay, I'm not at Joss-can-do-no-wrong guy (Dollhouse). But I'm think he is an expert at ensemble direction. Firefly and Serenity and Buffy prove that. Yeah, he wrote Alien Res, and quite frankly I have seen much worse. He also wrote good portions of Toy Story and Speed. The cat definitely has good kung-fu! I just hope that the Avengers don't break into song...

kitano0 on Jul 29, 2010


The Angel series is awesome, its always on here back to back first thing in the morning. And Alien Reserection wasn't the worst movie , it had its moments and i heard he was only brought in to do rewrites because the origonal writers were having trouble. besides that was years ago now and these guys can get better at their jobs with age. i'd rather have some1 in who loves comics than some nobody up and commer.

o Toxin o on Jul 29, 2010


THORs rough comic con trailer (Get it quick! Marvel is shutting down the leaks pretty fast, from Bubi. Thanks Bubi for the Thor trailer! looks freakin sweet, but what do i know i'm just a nerd fan boy. BAH HAHAHA!

mcwilly on Jul 29, 2010


hope he doesnt make it chessy like the thor trailer

46and2 on Jul 29, 2010


I like cheese 🙂

46and3 on Jul 29, 2010


too many superheros in one movie = cocky. Not enough time in one film to enjoy all. Who needs to see Hawkeye, Thor or Black Widow...dopey characters who never can be taken seriously? don't cream your jeans. This film will suck because it's too big. How many villains will need to be in the script considering the Hulk alone could take them all out? Whedon sucks big green balls.

Olive on Aug 5, 2010

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