Could Joaquin Phoenix really come out of his "retirement" to play Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers? The rumor of an offer, fresh after the news that Edward Norton would not return to the part, is sparking a lot of debate as well as suggestions for alternatives. While Phoenix is equally good at playing the good guy and the monstrously evil, I see him more suited for double duty in an actual Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adaptation than in this superhero role. Personally, I wouldn't mind them bring Eric Bana back, but thinking completely of new blood, here are five possible choices for The Hulk that would be more to my liking than Phoenix:
This first idea comes from Cinematical's own William Goss, via Twitter, and I agree the Almost Famous actor should be considered. He's already played a superhero with similar origins in Watchmen, but the film was a disappointment on a number of levels and this might be a chance for a sort of do-over. Plus, he'd likely get to appear more in a non-CG-rendered form for this role. Crudup is physically and artistically somewhere between Bana and Norton, and he really deserves something bigger in his career than supporting roles in Public Enemies (he should be doing Eastwood's Hoover biopic, too) and Eat Pray Love. Maybe if Phoenix declines he can recommend his Inventing the Abbotts co-star. But then the important question is which of the two Abbotts actresses who've played Betty Ross should appear in The Avengers?