"It would be an understatement to say that Mark Ruffalo's life has undergone some changes since 1995, when, as a fledgling 28-year-old actor, he happened upon Callicoon and with the recklessness of true love plunked down $63,000 for a one-room cabin on 27 acres. ("I owned my second home before I'd had my first apartment," he says.) There was, for starters, his breakout role in 2000's You Can Count On Me, which catapulted Ruffalo to indie-idol status;
Kirsten Dunst in "Melancholia" -Promotional Still
Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo in "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" - Behind the scenes (2004)
a series of powerful yet nuanced performances in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac, and Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island; and an Academy Award nomination for his role as the tousled, endearingly feckless sperm donor in The Kids Are All Right.
But then, as now, Ruffalo came back. "He can't help but do what he does," explains David Fincher, who directed Ruffalo in 2007's Zodiac.Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi and Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith in "Zodiac" (2007)
"It's not a choice. He literally cannot imagine not doing this." What brought Ruffalo back this latest time was sitting in the audience at Sundance, where The Kids Are All Right made its debut in 2010, and, after the first peal of laughter, "watching everyone's jaded, supercool Hollywood identities melt into the communal experience of filmmaking and storytelling. It reminded me: I'm an actor, and my whole life has been geared towards being an actor." Mark Ruffalo as Paul in "The Kids Are All Right" (2010) directed by Lisa Cholodenko
Mark Ruffalo and Vera Farmiga at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on 26th February 2011
That same year at Sundance, Sympathy for Delicious also made its premiere and, despite an ambush of acid reviews, won a Special Jury Prize. Finishing Sympathy, he says, was "a cathartic grace" for him. "In the real-life sense of catharsis. Not the heavens opening up. More like: I fucking didn't die. I'm still getting by. Which today for a human being is a lot, you know?"
By 2009, he says, "I'd had it with L.A., and I'd really had it with the business side of acting, the machinery of it all. You're an artist, but then all of a sudden you're a product at the same time, and there's this company that's sprung up around you. I got depressed. I was losing my love for it. So I said, 'I'm done.' I fired everybody and moved my family out here. I had to make a radical move."
Mark Ruffalo - Behind the Scenes video