Mark Ruffalo Talks The Hulk’s Future and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Persona

The star sat down with The Daily Beast to discuss all the rumors surrounding Bruce Banner/The Hulk—including whether he’ll appear in Captain America: Civil War.

The people have spoken, and they seem to love Mark Ruffalo’s low-key take on Bruce Banner, a.k.a. Hulk, leaving previous iterations portrayed by Edward Norton and Eric Bana in the dust.

And, after his impressive turns in the superhero mega-blockbusters Marvel’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans are wondering if Hulk will pop up in other films in the incestuous Marvel Cinematic Universe—in particular Captain America: Civil War.

Ruffalo stoked the flames himself, firing off the following mysterious tweet last month:

The Daily Beast sat down with Ruffalo for a longer interview feature running next week timed to his impressive indie Infinitely Polar Bear, where he delivers a stellar turn as a father in a fractured home struggling to raise two young girls while suffering from manic depression and bipolar disorder.

During our wide-ranging chat, we asked Ruffalo if Hulk will be popping up in Captain America: Civil War.

“I don’t know! I heard a rumor about that the other day,” Ruffalo said. “I haven’t seen a script, nobody’s told me, and I don’t have dates. But I can only hope so!”

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Civil War will reportedly pit Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark against Captain America (Chris Evans) as they take opposite sides over the Superhero Registration Act—a bill that forces all superheroes to register with the U.S. government and agree to act as a peacekeeping force. Stark is pro, and Cap is con.In addition to Downey Jr. and Evans, the film will boast Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), as well as the first appearance of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

According to Ruffalo, Downey Jr. has been trying to recruit him—as only Downey can do—for Civil War.

“I was talking to Robert Downey the other day, and he said, ‘Ruffalo! I heard you’re coming out here,’ and I said, ‘OK! I’ll be there,’” said Ruffalo, with a chuckle.

Ruffalo, a two-time Oscar nominated actor with a rich indie pedigree, admires Downey Jr.’s dedication to the role of Tony Stark, and his gung-ho ambassadorship of Marvel.

“I wasn’t The Hulk until recently,” said Ruffalo. “And Robert really rebooted the whole genre with Iron Man. And he really embraced it. He takes a star persona into the public, so when he shows up somewhere publicly, he’s actually playing Stark—he’s not Robert Downey. He’s fortifying that image both onscreen and offscreen, and he loves doing it.” “But me, I want to be an indie actor,” continues Ruffalo. “I love doing films like Infinitely Polar Bear and Spotlight [due out next year]. They feed me. And Marvel feeds me and my kids, you know?”

That being said, Ruffalo has also relished participating in these massive Marvel projects with expansive global reaches.“I like the challenge of it,” he said. “I like the cultural significance of it, as an art project. It’s crossing into all kinds of cultures, and belief systems, and ideologies. It’s hitting a lot of boxes, and really specialized boxes, too. And ultimately, the messaging of it is pretty good! It has a decency about it. I always feel like this is our modern mythology, in a way. We’ve been doing this since the time we could draw on cave walls. This is our version of it now, but we’re still working out the same stuff—violence, brotherhood, and more.”