How Technology Has Changed The Way Mark Ruffalo Can Play The Hulk In A Marvel Movie

Hulk Thor Ragnarok

Mark Ruffalo's part in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok is unlike any role we've seen played by the Hulk on the big screen before. Audiences are used to seeing a lot more of Bruce Banner than the big green monster, with the scientist doing everything he can to try and keep the beast contained, but the new film impressively balances screentime for them both. You'd think this might be a serious challenge for Ruffalo, given that it means more time doing motion-capture, but he recently explained to me why it wasn't as daunting as it might have been a few years ago:

The technology is now at a place where you can really do a performance inside these characters. And you can do it on set! Before I'd have to do all this stuff on my own in a motion-capture volume, without having the actor there. But now I get to act it all, and be on set with Chris [Hemsworth], and do these scenes with him. And so it becomes a lot more do-able and accessible. It's still daunting, it's still really hard to do -- I have a love/hate relationship with it... but it works! It's exciting when you see it.

I had a fantastic sit-down with Mark Ruffalo at the Los Angeles press day for Thor: Ragnarok earlier this month, and in addition to talking about Hulk's future and the amazing backstory of his bed in the blockbuster, we also discussed his motion-capture work. I brought up the fact that the new movie offers a very different Bruce Banner/Hulk dynamic than anything that's been featured in film before, and the actor noted that a big part of why that was possible is because of the way that the technology has developed.

It feels like it was only a few years ago that performance-capture technology was revolutionized by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, but the reality is that it has come an incredible distance in the last decade-and-a-half. As Mark Ruffalo noted, it used to be that all of the work would have to be done away from the normal set in a specially designed volume -- an area where the necessary photography could be done. Thanks to huge advances, however, the volume isn't necessary anymore, and now the same kind of work can be done in all kinds of different environments, allowing for more impactful performances and aesthetics.

You can watch Mark Ruffalo discuss his special relationship with motion-capture work during our interview by clicking play on the video below!

Audiences will not only soon get to see Mark Ruffalo back in Hulk mode in Thor: Ragnarok -- which will be out on November 3rd -- but also back on the big screen in both The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers 4. Given how Marvel Studios' treatment of the character has only improved over the years, we definitely can't wait for more, and will be closely tracking his development here on CinemaBlend.

You can pre-order your tickets for opening weekend here.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.