06 Avengers: Age of Ultron – The Avengers Assemble 3

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Another surprise for the filmmakers was the fans’ reaction and love affair with Bruce Banner aka The Hulk in Marvel’s “The Avengers.” Some of the biggest moments and laughs in the film were when the big green guy was in action. For actor Mark Ruffalo, it was an unexpected whirlwind of events. “I was completely caught off guard by how much people responded to Hulk and Banner,” says Ruffalo. “It’s a tough nut to crack and some really great people have had a chance at it, so I concluded at best I’ll stay with the group and I won’t embarrass myself and my fellow actors. So I just approached it like everything else and tried to come up with a game plan and stick to it and do the best I can and hope that somebody responds to it. I was thrilled to see the outcome and how the fans responded.”

“What Joss really wanted to do with Banner was take away some of the self-loathing,” says producer Feige. “Mark is so endearing in real life and up on screen that was a new side that people hadn’t seen for a long time in a Bruce Banner and it continues in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ He’s always been a nervous, brilliant scientist with this affliction of The Hulk. One of my favorite things about the first film with the relationship between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner is Joss made them science partners and the Internet and fandom embraced it. I love the notion that when people were talking about what they can’t wait to see in another Avengers movie it was ‘Stark and Banner doing science.’ That’s a testament to what Joss did in the first film.”

“Banner basically moved in with Tony Stark after he didn’t have anywhere to go at the end of the last Avengers,” explains Ruffalo. “He traveled around and he did his thing, but Stark took him in and there was a lot of mutually beneficial qualities that they get from each other. One of them is their understanding of science, and what Banner’s specialty is has been really well-augmented with what Tony’s been up to. Banner was also a renegade at one point and he was crazy enough as a scientist to actually try it on himself and I think he crumbled into himself from the bad experience of it. Tony did the same thing, but was a successful version of what Banner wanted to be. He did all this stuff to himself, but actually really benefited from it. So I think in a weird way Banner has a tempering effect on Tony and conversely Tony has a livening effect on Banner.”

“Banner’s been on the run for so much of his life,” says Joss Whedon. “I love that tag at the end of ‘Iron Man 3’ where you see that they’re just hanging out. He’s not just part of a team, but a lot of Tony Stark’s research. When we designed the lab for Avengers Tower it was very important to say ‘This is Tony’s area, and this is Banner’s area.’ Banner’s area is very impressive, but Tony’s is bigger. Banner really has found a place where, thanks to Natasha, he’s been able to sort of control The Hulk. It’s the idea that when they’re in a situation where they need the big green guy he is there. And Mark Ruffalo also got what he so desperately wanted in the first film, a pair of Avengers- issued stretchy pants that Tony has made for him.”

A character whose role has expanded from the first film is sharpshooter and marksman Hawkeye. “Joss and I both really loved the character and we didn’t really ultimately get to explore him very much in the first film,” says Jeremy Renner. “So it made me very happy when I saw Joss at a party and he said that we were going to find out a lot more about the character and what makes him tick. It is really cool to be able to explore that human side and that was my main attraction to doing Hawkeye in the first place because he’s a character that is flawed and has limitations. So to see the humanity in him and explore his human side instead of the Super Hero side was really exciting for me.”

“I thought it would be so much fun to really set up the idea that Hawkeye’s got some other agenda and dark purpose that makes him always a little bit distant from the rest of the group,” says Whedon. “And when all of The Avengers are starting to realize how disconnected they are from their own feelings and pasts, you realize that Hawkeye’s darkness is that he’s just a normal guy.”

Thanks to Tony Stark, Hawkeye has also received a nice upgrade in armor. “Hawkeye has some new tech, which is a lot in the vein of Stark technology, so you can do a lot of different things with it,” says Jeremy Renner. “He now has so many different arrow tips that serve all different purposes. Some of these are explained and some of them you just get the joy of seeing. At this point, with Stark helping, it’s really a world’s-your-oyster type of situation.”

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