In the enthralling realm of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things,” Mark Ruffalo, renowned for his versatile roles, opens up about the challenges and joys of portraying Duncan Wedderburn. In an exclusive interview with Sean Evans on “Hot Ones,” Ruffalo reveals the inner turmoil he faced in bringing this character to life.
A Fearful Leap into Uncharted Territory
Ruffalo, known for his diverse roles, confesses to the apprehension he felt stepping into the shoes of a dapper lawyer with a penchant for the finer things and a self-proclaimed title of the world’s greatest lover. Host Sean Evans, probing the depths of Ruffalo’s portrayal, questions the actor about the perverse pleasure or joy derived from embodying such a self-obsessed character.
“I don’t get to play many parts like that. Honestly, I was scared of it,” admits Ruffalo. “He’s a real Casanova, and he’s not in control. Getting to do it, it was just so free. People have all these expectations on you, and you sorta get stuck in these boxes. At 55, I’m sick of that, and so it was just kind of an explosion, of radical creativity for me.”
“Poor Things” – A Festival Triumph
The film, set to hit theaters this Friday, has already made waves on the festival circuit. Ruffalo’s performance did not go unnoticed, with the National Board Review honoring him as the year’s best actor in a supporting role. The anticipation builds as audiences await the unveiling of this comedy fantasy.
From Audition Struggles to Best Supporting Actor
Beyond the glitz of the red carpet, Evans delves into Ruffalo’s past, unearthing a “fun fact” that sheds light on the actor’s resilience. Ruffalo endured a stretch of at least 800 auditions without landing a single role over a decade. Evans, inquiring about Ruffalo’s rock bottom, discovers the actor’s tenacity during moments of despair.
“I probably quit like six times during the course of it all. The closest was when I went to Wisconsin and saw guys sandblasting on a construction site — covered head to toe. I thought, ‘My hands are too soft for this,’” recalls Ruffalo. The humor interjected by Evans underscores the gravity of the actor’s struggles, making a poignant narrative.
A Mother’s Unyielding Support
In a touching revelation, Ruffalo shares a pivotal moment that almost led him to abandon his acting dreams. His father’s construction painting business served as a stark contrast to the world of auditions. A call from his concerned mother, pledging to cut ties if he quit acting, became the catalyst for Ruffalo to persevere.
“Yeah, I was like, ‘My hands are too soft for this.’ But my mom got wind of this. I didn’t tell my mom because I knew she’d be bummed, and she got wind of this and she called me and she’s like, ‘What are you doing?’” Ruffalo added. “She says to me if you quit acting, I will never speak to you again. I will be so angry and upset with you.’ I never heard my mom talk like that, and so I was like, ‘That works.’”
Insights into Collaborations and Camaraderie
Evans extends the conversation beyond personal struggles, touching upon Ruffalo’s collaborations with directors like Michael Mann and his intriguing stint living with Joaquin Phoenix. The interview provides a peek into the actor’s life beyond the silver screen, adding depth to the narrative.