News, rumors, cool stuff and other transmissions from the far-flung reaches of the geek cosmos
By Don Kaye
Who Will Hulk Out Next? The question of who will play the Hulk in "The Avengers" -- now that Marvel and Edward Norton parted company two weeks ago -- may be decided by the time you read this. This Saturday (July 24) at Comic-Con, Marvel Studios plans to bring the "Avengers" cast out in Hall H. But if that happens, who will join Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America) on that stage?
You can pretty much rule out the first big-screen Hulk, Eric Bana. No, it's almost guaranteed that we will see the third actor in less than a decade to play the Green Giant if a contract is signed by this Friday. So let's look at some of the names that have been buzzing across the Interwebs:
Mark Ruffalo: Ruffalo was said to be in talks with Marvel, although his reps cooled down reports that the deal was nearly done. An excellent low-key character actor who has recently delivered what may be his best performance yet, in "The Kids Are All Right," he's got the chops, he's intelligent, and he radiates a kind of awkward cool.
Adrien Brody: The Oscar winner has cemented his action-hero cred with his solid work in "Predators," but can also be gangly and eccentric -- key components for Banner. Physically he's right for the role, but can he summon the rage that precedes a transformation into the Hulk?
Joaquin Phoenix: Look up "eccentric" in the dictionary and you're likely to see his picture. Phoenix famously retired from acting two years ago to pursue a career as a rapper, with many suspecting the whole thing to be a weird performance-art project. Yes, Bruce Banner is weird and intense, but Phoenix might be too out-there at this point.
David Tennant: The recent "Doctor Who" star has yet to make a mark on mainstream audiences outside the "Who" fan base. He's got plenty of manic energy, smarts and a wonderful streak of British humor, but would audiences buy him as a tormented American scientist?
Nathan Fillion: A fan favorite for his accessibility and roles in "Serenity," "Slither" and other cult genre projects, Fillion is just slightly off enough to possibly make it work. He's also kind of laid-back and funny -- we'd need to see him in full Banner shirt-ripping mode to be convinced.
Sharlto Copley: This South American chameleon shifted effortlessly from playing the inept and ultimately tragic bureaucrat in "District 9" to the insane Murdock in "The A-Team." He's already shown the mix of brains and madness that's a Banner hallmark.