After the cast of “The Avengers” assembled for the first at Comic-Con in July — Marvel vets like Robert Downey Jr. standing with newbies such as Mark Ruffalo — a former superhero might have been thinking, “Man, that could’ve been me…”
Before Ruffalo was tapped to play the Hulk — and before Ed Norton played the green-skinned Goliath in 2008 — Eric Bana owned the role. But the Ang Lee-directed film in which Bana starred never took off at the box office in 2003, the part was recast, and years later the actor admits he could end up being envious of what Ruffalo and his cast mates will get to enjoy.
“Only if they have a lot of fun,” he explained while at New York Comic Con promoting the thriller, ‘Hanna.’ “The obvious potential there is those movies can be a lot of fun to make. But then sometimes they’re not. I would be jealous if it turns out they just go off and have a good time.”
Far removed from the Marvel universe at this point, Bana is not privy to behind-the-scenes gossip of exactly how and why Ruffalo replaced Norton, but he said there was nothing acrimonious about his departure from the franchise and that he relishes that idea that different actors are getting the chance to play the Hulk.
“I don’t know the details of how it went from Ed to Mark, but there was certainly nothing weird about the process for me going from me to Ed,” Bana told us. “Personally I think it’s really exciting that the Hulk seems to be mutating into different actors as it goes along. It keeps it fresh, it keeps it interesting. And just the caliber of those two guys is awesome. I’m a huge fan of both of them. I think it’s fantastic and I look forward to seeing the movie. I hope fans feel the same way about that kind of freshness.”