In the current Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price, Mark Ruffalo returns to Broadway for the first time in over a decade (he last appeared in 2006’s Awake and Sing!) Surprisingly, Ruffalo wasn’t originally announced to star in the production — he actually replaced John Turturro, who had to drop out of the production because of his film commitments. Speaking with New York Times, Ruffalo talks about returning to Broadway and his earliest days in theater.
Ruffalo reveals that he was actually thinking about returning to theater just the day before he was offered the opportunity to replace Turturro. He says, “All I wanted to do was get on a stage with a group of people I trust and love and do a great play. No bells and whistles. No giant concepts. No reinventions.”
Returning to the stage allows Ruffalo to recall his early days as a struggling actor when he and several collaborators formed their own theater company in Los Angeles. He explains, “I was living hand-to-mouth but doing plays for $5,000 a pop; we did 30 plays in 14 years, and it was vibrant. I produced, acted, did fliers, costumes, lighting board, built our sets and really ran a theater. I was so poor I would buy a burrito and cut it in half to eat it for lunch and dinner. We were all struggling together, but those were magical days.”
While “magical,” those days couldn’t support Ruffalo. He remembers, “I’ll never forget it. My brother said to me: ‘You’re 27 years old, I’m sick of bailing you out; you got to grow up.’ He was my younger brother. He told me to get a real job.”