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We’ve been exposed to some of the greatest performance capture roles in film history thanks to Andy Serkis. From Gollum to Caesar, Serkis’ skill set goes well and far beyond just a typical voice artist. We recently heard his narration in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and are incredibly excited for his confirmed role in the film. But beyond our own excitement for the actor’s progress, he is majorly respected in the film industry for his expertise. So it’s no wonder Marvel asked for his help when filming Avengers: Age of Ultron. His advice for voice projection and a sense of scale is what helped mold Mark Ruffalo’s incredible Hulk performance.
In a recent interview with Empire magazine Serkis discussed his hands-on work with Mark Ruffalo to help him hone the physicality of the Hulk:
"We gave Mark weights, we had voice projections so he could do his Hulk roar… On screen we could have a virtual representation of the low-res avatar of The Hulk, so he could come out and feel that sense of scale."
By adding weights, and showing the virtual representation, Ruffalo was surely able to get a better sense of hulking out. Serkis went deeper into explaining the process in an interview with The Daily Beast a few months back:
"Also, we worked with Mark in really grounding him and playing with the digital avatar before going on set so he could see himself as the Hulk before going onscreen, and we put weights and inhibitors on him to give him the sense that his arms were these big, giant wrecking balls, and so that his biceps wouldn’t intersect with his body. We equipped him. We also gave him a sound system and pitch-modulated his voice so you could hear the enormous Hulk roar coming out of these speakers, so the crew would go, ‘Jesus! That’s Hulk on set!’ It gives Mark the sense of feeling better, and if he feels better, then he’ll be more comfortable in the performance."
That comfortability that Ruffalo experiences must have been incredibly helpful for the role, considering the character's new responsibilities. In The Avengers, we were introduced to an awkward, quiet Banner, who had found a way to keep the big green at bay. But, as he starts to distinguish an important role in the Avengers team, Banner has to let the Hulk out.
There is Jekyll and Hyde situation going on that is sure to be explored deeper in the new film. The peaceful doctor who lives secluded and alone is no more, and especially up against a villain as powerful as Ultron, control over the Hulk will be detrimental. So Serkis’ help was definitely necessary, and will help Ruffalo’s performance of his character’s inner demons really shine through.
And Ruffalo confirmed in a tweet months back, that yes indeed, Andy Serkis has been a huge help. Confirming our excitement for the new collaboration.
Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner may just be the best one yet. We’ll find out when The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May, 1 2015.