With two Satellite Awards for best actor, plus a film coming out this Friday, this could and should have been a good week for 41-year-old Mark Ruffalo, whose acting career was threatened six years ago when he underwent surgery for a brain tumor that was found to be benign.
Instead this week will go down as one of the worst in the life of the actor in front of You Can Count on Me, In the Cut, Zodiac and this year’s underappreciated Blindness, when his younger brother, Scott Ruffalo, died Monday night after living on life support for a week since he was found shot in the head outside of his Beverly Hills condominium, Dec. 1. Scott was 39.
One of the two Satellite awards was for Mark’s performance as Stephen, a conman, in Brothers Bloom. The other was for his performance in the upcoming and ill fated-titled film, What Doesn’t Kill You.
Based on the life and screenplay of Mark’s buddy — the film’s writer-director and actor, Brian Goodman — Mark plays Brian, a drug addicted hoodlum, husband and father who almost went over the edge living and working with his partner in crime, Paulie (Ethan Hawke), on the streets of working class Boston.
As more and more details come out Scott’s death – the narrative has moved from random robbery to a drug-induced Russian roulette mistake – What Doesn’t Kill You, Mark’s performance in the film, and what he said below in a pre-Thanksgiving interview takes on an extra layer of meaning.
Why did you want to make this film?
Mark Ruffalo: The true story aspect of it makes it completely different. In my memory I can’t remember a lot of films that are quite like this, that deal with drug addiction and crime and just rising out of it in a really, kind-of-honest way. It gets glorified or it gets so sappy with 12-step stuff it becomes like a preachy kind of thing. I knew if I could play Brian that would be a pretty great and interesting role.