It would be natural to assume playing the fist-pounding Hulk in the “Avengers” movies would give Mark Ruffalo all kinds of opportunities to do movie fight scenes. That would be the case if Hulk wasn’t a computer-generated creation.
So, instead of a movie with costume heroes fighting intergalactic bad guys, it is a movie about a group of magicians who use their skills to fight evil, and Ruffalo finally gets to throw some punches. He’s very proud of his long fight scene in “Now You See Me 2.”
“We shot the fight scene in a day and a half, but we rehearsed it a lot. It’s kind of a tough fight scene because of the way it has to work, and I was worried it would look cheesy,” Ruffalo says. “But, I started working with the stuntmen and they were the best.”
The scene takes place in a tight marketplace where Ruffalo’s character, Dylan Rhodes, goes all Jackie Chan by using anything as a weapon. Because the character has a background in magic, there are also some now-you-see-me, now-I-hit-you moments.
Ruffalo credits director Jon M. Chu for beautiful choreography filmed in style that is specific but imaginative.
The fight ends up a key scene in the sequel to the 2013 movie about a group of magicians, known as the Horsemen, who use their magic abilities to commit heists on an “Ocean’s 11” level. Along with Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco return. They are joined by Lizzy Caplan, who plays the newest member of the team.
The most-wanted magicians come out of hiding with an attempt to stop the public from having to deal with a questionable new electronic device, and ends with a battle against some familiar faces.
Ruffalo’s role has dramatically changed from the original film, where it was revealed the FBI agent, who was born into the world of magic, was actually a Horseman. The sequel offers an extended look into his past.
“Exploring his history seemed to be the only place to go,” Ruffalo says. “His history gives a counterweight to the fun heist stuff, which is really exciting and good. But, the history stuff gives the film heart.”
As Rhodes goes from what seemed like a bumbling FBI agent in the original film to the team leader, it becomes clear that the magnitude of the latest job is too big to handle, especially because Rhodes is still dealing with the emotional baggage of seeing his father die decades ago.
The plot brings Rhodes and the man he sent to jail, magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), together. Their relationship is an uneasy one since Rhodes needs Bradley’s knowledge, and Bradley wants revenge for a false imprisonment.
Ruffalo admits to being a little nervous about working with Freeman, who has carved out a career for himself that most actors envy, in the beginning.
“And he’s God,” Ruffalo says, referring to Freeman’s role in “Bruce Almighty.” “And, he’s a cinema god. Over the course of time, getting to work with him, I found Morgan to be a great kind of man and the coolest man in the world. He is so well-possessed and knows who he is and what he’s doing. He blessed me in a way by letting me in to see how he works.”
Ruffalo already has a strong foundation. He’s collected three Oscar nominations (Freeman has five) for his work in “The Kids Are All Right,” “Foxcatcher” and “Spotlight.” And he has starred in massive box office hits such as “The Avengers.”
Chu was happy to have Ruffalo in the sequel, calling him “the kindest, most talented person.”