It’s not so much that Mark Alan Ruffalo is your typical boy next door. He is your cool brother, your beer-drinking neighbor, your crazy uncle, your irresponsible but nice dad, and your faithful companion. In short, he embodies the person you can turn to in a difficult situation and has the aura of trust and tranquility. And according to people who know the guy outside his characters, he is just like that walking down the street or voicing The Hulk for The Avengers.
Born in Wisconsin in 1967, Ruffalo slowly moved from a pimpled guy in a TV commercial to getting several minor roles in the usual movies, including Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil. But his real breakthrough role came as Laura Linney’s kid brother in Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count on Me. With this independently made project, Ruffalo seemed to be prepared for more, and the years to come proved what an accomplished actor he is, moving comfortably from supporting roles in films like Michael Mann’s Collateral or Martin Scorsese’ Shutter Island to starring roles with Gwyneth Paltrow in View From the Top, or with Julianne Moore in Fernando Mereilles’ Blindness; from independent films like Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret to Big Studio Productions like the Upcoming Anvegers: Age of Ultron.
Mark Ruffalo is a Can-Do man who has done theater, starring in Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing! And also directed his first film Sympathy for Delicious, winning the Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2010. He’s been married since June 2000 to French-American actress Sunrise Coigney, and is politically active, speaking publicly against the War in Iraq, Torture and the Bush Administration, apart from his open opposition to using fracked natural gas instead of cleaner sources of energy, which allegedly led him to be included in a terror advisory list.
So we area in the presence of a committed human being. An accomplished actor, director, producer and screenwriter who has numerously been recognized with awards. This year alone he won a Humanitarian Award at the BAFTAs in Great Britain, was nominated to two Golden Globes, won the SAG and Emmy for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series in The Normal Heart and with his impressive turn as older brother David Schultz in Bennett Miller’s acclaimed Foxcatcher, is one of the 5 actors waiting to hear their name called at the Oscars 2015.
Impressive, isn’t it? And this is the man who took a selfie after knowing his win at the SAG and sent it to everyone to show his humbler appreciation.
Here is just a little list of Most-See Ruffalo performances.
You Can Count on Me (2000)
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
After many years with supporting roles that went under the radar, Lonergan gave Ruffalo his breakthrough role in this small drama about the reunion of two siblings in a small town and their difference in lifestyles. Even if Laura Linney was the one recognized with an Oscar Nomination, Ruffalo was finally noticed and recognized in many of the events during award season, even being called the new Brando, jumpstarting his career for good
In The Cut (2003)
Directed by Jane Campion
Under the direction of New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, Ruffalo co-starred with Meg Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh in this sexually charged procedural film. Here, he had the chance to be “man in charge” in an openly feminist film and he was able to make the story plausible.
We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004)
Directed by John Curran.
His character Jack is married to Laura Dern’s Terry, but he cheats on her with Naomi Watts’ Edith, who is married to Peter Krause’s Hank. This little device is enough to ignite the drama in this excellent little seen film by John Curran where all the cast share excellent performances.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Directed by Michel Gondry
The leads are Jim Carrey as a man going to extremes to forget his last love, and Kate Winslet as the titular love, Michel Gondry gave the whole cast room to create their characters in dreamy non-naturalistic ways, which gave Ruffalo the chance to move away from his characters rooted in reality.
Directed by David Fincher
As Inspector David Toschi, following the trace left by the infamous Zodiac Killer, Ruffalo added an extra sense of street realism to one of Fincher’s most acclaimed films. The cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Brian Cox, making this a fully “male” film. The fact that, as historically known, they don’t get their killer speaks tons of the masculine obsessions and superiority.
Reservation Road (2007)
Directed by Terry George
This profound drama deals with the accidental killing of a girl and the subsequent revenge. All the characters are haunted by the events and the borders between right and wrong are blurred by the nuanced performances of Ruffalo, Phoenix and Connelly.
The Kids are All Right (2010)
Directed by Lisa Cholodenko.
His first Oscar nominated role as Paul, the sperm donor who ends up meeting his children and not only reconnect with them but also intrudes in their current parents life (the gay couple made up of Annette Bening’s Nic and Julianne Moore’s Jules). Once again Ruffalo exuded such easy down-to-earth/laid back demeanor that he was able to become the igniter of the story’s dramatic center.
Begin Again (2013)
Directed by John Carney
A disgraced record-label executive stumbles upon depressed singer Greta in an East Village stage and is immediately drawn to her talent. Buffalo’s charisma takes the film by storm as he brings his character out from his personal failures to give another character hope.
The Normal Heart (2014)
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Buffalo won his first Golden Globe portraying Gay activist Ned Weeks as he confronts society when the AIDS crisis breaks and points at the LGBT community. Buffalo accepted his SAG win with a selfie he then twitted to all his fans, showing the man that is so down-to-earth on screen is the same off screen.
Directed by Bennett Miller
A departure from most of his previous work, Ruffalo plays David Schultz, the older brother of a gold winning team of wrestlers, who is protective of his family and his brother. His tendency to show his feelings by physical contact, as a way to balance the violence of the wrestling matches makes him the only character who lives a less traumatic life. Because of his rich work, he has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.