Despite being the most out-of-place member of the Avengers, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner appears to be fostering the most relationships in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In a recently-published interview from an Ultron set visit a few months ago, Ruffalo talks about better fitting in with the Avengers, what Science Bros has to do with Ultron, how Scarlet Witch is challenging his ability to not Hulk out, and how the Vision is “[his] baby.” He also gives enough away for us to think that those rumors about a Hulk/Black Widow romance are actually true.
Minor spoilers and speculation for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Last we saw Bruce, the former was playing (sleeping) psychiatrist for his buddy Tony Stark while he narrated the entirety of Iron Man 3. If that didn’t convince you that the two are close, how about the knowledge that they’re roommates? Ruffalo told reporters:
Basically, Tony took the orphan Banner into the fold. I was just made aware of where my apartment was in the Stark Complex… the Stark Tower. And so, you know, I think they’re working together. I have a lab, and Banner’s working on a lot of stuff. And Tony’s working on his own stuff, and they complement each other. And so you could tell that when we get into this film that they’ve been working together. And they’ve gotten even more of a shorthand together. So that’s been built out quite a lot and it’s fun. It’s cool.
SCIENCE BROS 4EVER. Especially when Ruffalo talks about how Tony and Bruce make
a baby Ultron, and then goes on to describe Vision (Paul Bettany) as his actual baby:
The vision is the Vision! He is so dope. Ohhh, he’s my baby! He’s pretty incredible. And the idea of him and where he comes from! It’s just… he’s very independent. He is a really great character. Yeah, people are gonna love The Vision. And Ultron’s amazing. He’s amazing. It’s really good.
But isn’t there a massive Hulk/Hulkbuster showdown in the Ultron trailer? What’s up with that?
Ruffalo wouldn’t say much about that sequence, but he did talk about his general mental and emotional state keeping “the big guy” at bay:
There’s more of him. Banner and Hulk kind of have come to a detente. [Laughs] We left the last time with this idea that I’m always angry and therefore I have some control over it. But with anger, when you think you have control over it, you absolutely don’t. And so there’s still a wrangling going on. There is a confrontation brewing between the Hulk consciousness and the Banner consciousness that I think we’re starting to head into right now.
He did mention that Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) has the ability “to bring out the worst in us” and that those scenes were “a bad trip.” Could it be that Scarlet Witch manipulates the Hulk into enough of a threat that Tony Stark has to go all Russian nesting doll with his Iron Man suit inside the Hulkbuster to take on his teammate? Ruffalo compared their fight scene to Cool Hand Luke and would say only:
It has a surprise. A little twist to it as well.
Aside from wrangling his dangerous alter ego, Banner’s main arc seems to be feeling comfortable enough to be one of the bros:
Yeah, I think he’s trying to become more a part of a group. I don’t think he’s ever felt like part of a family or part of something. He’s always sort of been this outside person or on the run—trying to shun humanity. [Laughs] But now I feel like he has the idea that maybe he is part of something and he’s trying to really be a part of something. And he feels more comfortable with the fantasy that he could actually be a part of something. But I still think it’s a struggle for him and I don’t think he ever fully has it under control.
That means going to house parties at Stark Tower (though Ruffalo jokes that the house rule is “leave your shoes at the door, leave your Hulk at the door”) and maybe also romancing Natasha Romanoff?
But I think in this version he’s sort of as close to having a normal life as he possibly could. Which might include… some romance. But, you know is that ever possible for Banner is really the question.
Back in June, the first 15-20 minutes of the movie were allegedly leaked, including that scene of all the Avengers partying at Avengers Tower—with some hints toward a Natasha/Bruce relationship. According to Latino Review, the two are into each other, but Bruce is afraid to consummate the relationship for fear of hurting her.
The relationship would actually be rather fitting, since in The Avengers, the Hulk represented everything that Black Widow was afraid of, and she literally had to face that fear. This shot from the trailer seems pretty in line with the rumor:
At the roundtable, Ruffalo would only demur when asked about the relationship:
[Looks to Disney representative] Did you tell them that? Okay, I’ll play. I’ll play along. Yeah, yeah. There’s a really important relationship between… [Laughs] I was just happy that I was in the movie at all! And any scenes that I got to be with her were… a big bonus.
Hmm, very secretive. Check out the full interview at IGN, where Ruffalo also talks about learning motion capture under the tutelage of Andy Serkis, and whether Joss Whedon wrote in any more great one-liners for him.
Avengers: Age of Ultron comes to theaters May 1, 2015.