Hollywood has a long tradition of brutal honesty, as Mark Ruffalo found when in negotiations for David Fincher’s Zodiac. More below…
As the Incredible Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo is surely one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood in 2023. Combining his Marvel clout with some brilliantly restrained performances in films like Spotlight and Dark Waters, he’s a rare actor that seems able to do it all. And with a particularly, shall we say, memorable turn in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things arriving in the UK early next year, it looks like his range is only getting wider.
But that wasn’t the case back in the mid-noughties, it turns out. In a new interview with High Snobiety, Ruffalo is pretty candid with the position his career was in before David Fincher cast him in his serial killer drama, Zodiac.
“Studios, they weren’t coming to me in that way,” he said. “I’ll never forget when they were negotiating my deal [for Zodiac], the studio negotiator literally said to my manager, ‘Look, we don’t give a shit about Mark Ruffalo, we don’t even want Mark Ruffalo in this movie, so you’re going to take what we’re offering you or forget it.'”
After starring in a succession of rom-coms (13 Going On 30, View From The Top and Just Like Heaven) Ruffalo apparently felt, like many actors, trapped in the rom-com bubble and wanting to break out.
“What I felt immediately in the film world is, once you did one thing well, that’s what they think you are. They will just come to you with that part over and over again. And I was like, ‘No.’ My career is not going to be that. I’m going to do as much as I can to try and make people see me in different ways so that I can do more over the years.”
Despite widespread acclaim for his Zodiac performance, though, apparently the actor’s role in the MCU came as a bit of a surprise.
“The fact that Joss Whedon came to me for the Hulk was so out of the blue,” he said. “It’s a tough part – how do you get away with playing a character that doesn’t want to do what everybody wants him to do and sustain that? It’s like a trap. I read it and I was like, ‘I can do something with this.'”
“It’s been a great ride. It’s like shooting a television series. You do one episode every three years. I’ve really gotten to explore that part in every single way that I wanted to. I’m really grateful, because it’s given me a chance to do other things that I probably wouldn’t have a chance to do without that behind me.”