Mark Ruffalo on "The Hulk Diet" and Working with Joss Whedon on The Avengers

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With Hulkamania in full force these days (Paste favorite Mark Ruffalo seems to be garnering universal praise as one of the brightest spots in The Avengers), we thought we’d revisit part of a conversation we had over a year ago with Mark as he prepared for the role of The Incredible Hulk. Here’s the part of that conversation that was especially big and green.

Paste: You’re dieting for the Hulk, right?
Mark Ruffalo: Well you know, I had been talking a lot with the director and trying to think of who this guy really is. I wanted to do this much in the way I think Bruce Banner does it, this really clean life in order to stay on top of his rage. I’ve been thinking a lot of how he limits the limitations in his life so I just figured I’ll get really cleaned up and change my exercise to more calming exercises. I wanted to lose weight. This profile I had for him was rakish and thin and looks like someone who does yoga, has those elongated muscles, and so I figured I’d just strip down and start from there. Plus, I had been feeling a little sluggish.

Paste: So that’s good for you personally as well.
Ruffalo: Yeah, yeah. It’s a bitch. I did 21 days of this diet and it was one meal a day, two shakes, no dairy, no meat, no caffeine, no sugar, no love no fun no sex no drugs no wine no women. I have to say the first week I had to lock myself away from my family so I didn’t kill somebody, but then after that I started to feel really good. I finished Christmas day, which was my Christmas gift to myself. But then I was like, “I don’t want to eat any of that crap,” so I thought, “I’m almost there.” Christmas day rolls around and I realized, “that doesn’t look too good to me.”

Paste: Are the cravings starting to return again, in the week after, or not so much?
Ruffalo: Um, not so much. I mean, I had a soda the other day and the sugar was so intense and so sweet. It was disgusting to me. And I use to love soda! So I don’t recommend this diet for anyone who wants to enjoy their life.

Paste: Did you watch The Hulk on TV growing up?
Ruffalo: Yeah, Bill Bixby’s Hulk was really influential on me as a kid. I loved it; I watched it all the time. I loved the pathos of it mixed with the idea of this creature and this life on the road and trying to live a regular life that’s in conflict with this beast inside of you. I’m no stranger to rage, you know. So I just related to it a lot. When it came around, I was first of all, it was not something I would generally be thought of as doing. Which is appealing to me immediately. Secondly, it’s a part I think that of all the superheroes, I just think he’s someone I can relate to and understand. Josh came to me and said, “Listen, I have really thought about this, and I’d like you to do it.” And I talked to Robert Downey, whom I really love and admire. I talked to him about it and there was some trepidation because you go into one of these things and you don’t really have the script. But he encouraged me to go for it.


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