By Jeff Otto | The Playlist April 17, 2012 at 12:01PM
When Mark Ruffalo was announced as the successor to Ed Norton’s Hulk/Bruce Banner for “The Avengers,” many eyebrows were raised and, in the case of the fanboys, many wondered if the actor known for his acclaimed work in indie dramas could do the job. However, if there’s one thing Ruffalo has proven over the years, it’s his versatility as an actor. And at “The Avengers” World Premiere in Hollywood last Wednesday, fans appeared largely pleased with Ruffalo’s turn as the big green lug.
The Playlist spoke exclusively with Ruffalo about “The Avengers” and a number of intriguing projects he has on the horizon. Yesterday, we ran a piece outlining his experience making the superhero movie and his thoughts on a doing a stand-alone film for his incarnation of The Hulk, and today we have an update on Ruffalo’s non-superhero slate.
Still in the early stages, Ruffalo will team with “Once” director John Carney in the Judd Apatow produced “Can A Song Save Your Life?” Announced earlier this year, the film will find Ruffalo playing a down-on-his-luck record producer who is newly inspired by a talent he stumbles across singing at a local bar. “It has music in it but it’s not a musical,” Ruffalo tells The Playlist. “It just has musical characters in it who are musicians.” Although it’s been reported that Ruffalo would star opposite fellow Avenger Scarlett Johansson, the actor seemed to indicate she was far from a lock. “You know, I don’t think… I’m not sure if Scarlett’s doing that. That’s a little premature,” he cautioned.
Also in the distance is “Red Light Winter,” based on the play by Adam Rapp about two New York college buddies who take a trip to the Netherlands and wind up in a love triangle with a prostitute. The film is set to star Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Billy Crudup. “That wouldn’t be until next year,” says Ruffalo. “Right now I’m looking at doing 'Foxcatcher' with Bennett Miller. That would be in the fall and then possibly teaming up with Kenneth Lonergan and Phil [Seymour] Hoffman in a new play by Kenny Longergan. I play a country singer.”
Entitled “Hang On To Me, Darling” it would be another project with the director who Ruffalo worked with previously on "You Can Count On Me" and "Margaret." And he admits he’ll have his work cut out for him. “This is something kinda outside my realm. It’s very funny, very, very smart. It’s a great play.” As for whether he’s ready to sing country music, Ruffalo responds with a chuckle, “No, but I’ll learn.”
“The Avengers,” which opens in theaters nationwide May 4th.