While Mark Ruffalo was busy discussing nuclear energy with the news staff here at Metro, we did manage to pull him aside to chat about his directorial debut, “Sympathy for Delicious” which opens Friday, April 29th and his upcoming role as Bruce Banner (and the Hulk) in “The Avengers,” (which he tells us starts shooting on April 29th as well).
It’s a good thing he’s already signed on to do more acting work, because after sitting in the director’s chair, Ruffalo doesn’t want to get out of it again.
“After I was done, I was like, I’m not acting anymore. All I’m going to do now is direct,” he says enthusiastically. “This is my favorite thing in the world. When they kick someone’s ass, it’s the director’s ass usually, but you know, that’s okay. I don’t mind getting my ass kicked.”
Ruffalo’s first directing project was a personal one, given that it stars his longtime friend Christopher Thornton who also wrote the script. The two met 23 years ago in acting class. Six years later, Thornton was tragically paralyzed from the waist down from a climbing accident. You can see facts within the fiction of “Sympathy for Delicious” in which he plays a paralyzed man slash rocker, who embarks on faith healing in the hopes of walking again, which Ruffalo says that Thornton himself sought out at one time.
“He wanted to quit acting and I refused to let him,” Ruffalo says of the first months after Thornton’s injury. “He started to write and he came up with this crazy idea.”
Ten years later, both actors find themselves transformed — Thornton into a mainstream actor and Ruffalo a director
“I like working with all the different mediums and art forms — set design , musical elements, visual elements, costumes,” he explains “It’s really my own [version of] being a glutton. You either get to eat one piece of the pie or you get to devour the whole pie. And I like to eat the whole pie.”
The New Hulk
Ruffalo gave us the dirt on his new role playing The Hulk and seems to have a sense of humor about the revolving stream of Hulks over the years.
“I’m playing the great doctor Bruce Banner and I’m walking in the footsteps of a lot of great actors. We like to joke about it as our generation’s Hamlet. We’re all going to get a shot at it. Believe me, I won’t be the last one.”