The actor recalled Paramount Pictures reps telling his manager, "We don't even want Mark Ruffalo in this movie."
From beloved rom-com star to hulking superhero, Mark Ruffalo has earned his Hollywood clout — but the actor didn’t always hold such sway.
Ruffalo reflected on being surprised that we was approached to play Bruce Banner in The Avengers after a not-so-flattering Zodiac casting process.
“Studios, they weren't coming to me in that way,” Ruffalo said of his mid-2000s career in a new interview with High Snobiety. “I'll never forget when they were negotiating my deal [for Zodiac]. The studio negotiator literally said to my manager, ‘Look, we don't give a shit about Mark Ruffalo. We don't even want Mark Ruffalo in this movie, so you're going to take what we're offering you or forget it.”
The acclaimed 2007 David Fincher film, which also starred future Marvel alums Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., featured Ruffalo as Det. David Toschi, one of three men who become obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer during the unidentified murderer’s grisly 1970s spree. With reps for the 2007 Paramount Pictures film — whom are no longer at the studio — expressing so little enthusiasm over him being a part of it, Ruffalo was shocked to get a call from Marvel.
“The fact that Joss Whedon came to me for the Hulk was so out of the blue,” he said. “It's a tough part — how do you get away with playing a character that doesn't want to do what everybody wants him to do and sustain that? It's like a trap. I read it and I was like, ‘I can do something with this.’”
Before becoming the hardboiled detective at the center of Zodiac or transforming into the Incredible Hulk, Ruffalo feared he'd be pigeonholed by his string of successful romantic comedies. Movies like View From the Top, 13 Going on 30, and Just Like Heaven gave studios a certain perception of him that he was determined to shake off.
“What I felt immediately in the film world is, once you did one thing well, that's what they think you are,” he explained. "They will just come to you with that part over and over again. And I was like, 'No. My career is not going to be that. I'm going to do as much as I can to try and make people see me in different ways so that I can do more over the years.'"
Next up, Ruffalo has a supporting role in Emma Stone’s buzzy Oscar contender Poor Things, playing a debauched lawyer who catches the attention of a woman brought back to life.
Representatives for Paramount did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.