Mark Ruffalo on Playing a Superhero: “I’m interested in the whole mythology of it”

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Mark Ruffalo might be on everyone’s radar for his role as the Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers franchise, but he’s in theaters right now with a smaller film. Begin Again is an indie film with the 46-year-old actor playing a recently-fired record executive who comes across a broken-hearted musician played by Keira Knightley.

Ruffalo spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the film and his thoughts on the two main characters maintaining a platonic relationship in this very un-Hollywood ending to the story.

He shared, “I don’t think I would have been interested in this movie if it turned another way. It makes it really oddly original and satisfying in that unsatisfying way. That was one of the things that was really appealing to me. There was some talk that it would go a different way. I was like, then it would become every lame, cheesy Hollywood version of a romantic comedy, which is rarely romantic and rarely comedic.”

The film is directed by John Carney who also helmed Once. Ruffalo was such a fan of Carney’s work that he even was inspired to make Begin Again into a Broadway show.

The Kids Are Alright star explained, “It just came to me last night. I was sitting there watching it last night and thought this would work on Broadway, gangbusters, and it would be a part I’d be interested in trying on Broadway. I want to get back on stage.”

Before he makes it back to the stage, he has to complete the second Avengers movie in London. Being a part of an epic franchise is appealing, but so is playing a superhero.

“I’m interested in the whole mythology of it. I feel like it’s become our modern mythology. I see we’re working out a lot of things as a culture with this stuff. It’s been interesting. And people’s response to it, culturally speaking, is really interesting to me, sociologically speaking it’s interesting to me. And it’s nice to be part of a serial, this kind of thing that has a life already that you’re sort of plugging into,” Ruffalo said. “It has a syntax, it has ground rules, it has a continuity, it has expectations, but it also has a great deal of precedent information that you’re allowed to play around with. It’s really well-informed, and so you’re building off of an enormous amount of really cool information.”

Begin Again opened in theaters on June 27.

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