Sure, Mark Ruffalo is in one of the biggest action movies of all time, "The Avengers," but he didn't exactly do his own stunts as The Hulk. Which is why the Oscar-nominated star was thrilled to film a high-speed car chase and slug it out with Dave Franco in his new movie, "Now You See Me."
In the film, Ruffalo plays FBI agent Dylan, who has to drop everything to pursue The Four Horsemen, a rogue group of magicians who seem to be getting away with robbery, except no one can figure out just how.
Ruffalo spoke with Moviefone about how intimidating it is acting opposite Morgan Freeman (who plays an ex-magician who now exposes other magician's secrets) and shared how his recent run of hit movies has helped him finally get some long-gestating personal projects off the ground.
Moviefone: Why did you want to make this movie?
Ruffalo: The part of Dylan and the wild journey that he goes on. He's this salty, cynic career-FBI agent rogue who gets saddled with this Interpol kid and is constantly behind the eight-ball as he tries to track down the magicians.
You've played cops before, in movies like "Collateral" and "Zodiac." What was different about this role?
Because it's just really complex and has a lot of layers to it, and there's a whole action element of it that I've never done before. I really wanted to try my hand at that. It seemed like a good place to do it. It wasn't just a straight, macho action hero. He's a clown sometimes and there's physical comedy and a really fun fight scene -- all that stuff I've kind of dreamt about doing but no one was really giving me the opportunity and here it was. I got to do it all!
How much did you train for that fight scene with Dave Franco?
We had probably a six-hour choreography we did together on the weekend and then maybe a couple hours as a brush-up, and then we shot it. They were expecting Dave and I to do the scene in its entirety, and I'm thinking, "Okay, I'll do it until I get tired and then they'll bring the stunt guys in," but we loved it and it worked so well. We were able to shoot it in about half the time they expected us to.
Does that mean more action for you in the future?
I'd do it if it was fun and it isn't gratuitous and it's got a brain to it and a pulse.
What was the most fun scene to film in this movie?
I love the car chase scene. It was a lot of fun to shoot. Having [Melanie Laurent] drive, while I'm yelling at her -- a lot of that didn't make it into the movie -- but that was pretty funny. I really had fun with Morgan Freeman. That scene was amazing. It was tough, but such a great thing to stand up and act across him. It's so much dialogue, there's so much going on there and it's so close to the vest. And then you're acting with Morgan, who it's so easy for. He's so perfect. He's one of my heroes and I was just nervous acting across from him.
Did he know you were nervous?
I'm sure he did.
Did he say anything to put you at ease?
He said, "You're doing fine."
One of the producers said that in this movie, you don't necessarily root for anyone the whole time. Do you agree? It does seem like you're not sure if you should be on the side of the law or the magicians.
Yeah, I think it depends maybe where you sit politically and your age and all those things. It isn't directly evident who you're supposed to be rooting for, I don't think. And it certainly becomes less so as time goes on. Although I do think to most people, because of the kind of Robin Hood message that is woven into it, the Horsemen are pretty sympathetic.
What type of impact did the Oscar nomination for "The Kids Are All Right" and being in "The Avengers," one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, have on your career?
Hmm. The fact that I'm still working and they're still paying me to do it.
And still enjoying it?
Yeah, I'm probably enjoying it now more than ever.
Why is that?
I'm just older and I know what my strengths are and I accept my weaknesses. I'm probably in the final stretch as far as peaking. I realize how lucky I am to be working and to have this job. And all those things combined have made it really enjoyable for me. I'm less afraid of failure.
What's next for you, besides "Avengers 2?"
With the success of ["The Avengers" and "The Kids Are All Right"] I've been able to do these little movies that I've been trying to get made for years. One of them I just wrapped last night, it's called "Infinitely Polar Bear," and I'm really excited about it. I've been trying to get it made for almost four years. It's with Zoe Saldana, about a bipolar father raising his two young, mixed-race girls on his own in the '70s. It's written by Maya Forbes and it's based on her father. It's incredibly funny and moving and just a great part. I'm an executive producer on it. Hopefully it'll be out next year around this time.