Mark Ruffalo heats up the May issue of Details. - Matthias Vriens-McGrath/DetailsIn 2009, Mark Ruffalo was done with the Hollywood machine. He quit acting and moved his family to upstate New York, but a strange thing happened on the road to unemployment -- the actor fell in love with his day job again. "The Kids Are All Right" actor opens up to Details magazine about his acting revival, and his role as comic book hero The Hulk in the upcoming film, "The Avengers."
There were a couple of factors that contributed to Ruffalo's decision to quit the business, including the brain tumor that left his face partially paralyzed for much of 2002, and the death of his brother Scott, a hairstylist who was found shot in the head at his Beverly Hills home in 2008. "I'd had it with L.A., and I'd really had it with the business side of acting, the machinery of it all," says Ruffalo. "You're an artist, but then all of a sudden you're a product at the same time, and there's this company that's sprung up around you. I got depressed. I was losing my love for it. So I said, 'I'm done.' I fired everybody and moved my family out here. I had to make a radical move." Ruffalo still had one commitment remaining on his schedule. "'The Kids Are All Right' was my swan song. I didn't know what I was doing next."
Matthias Vriens-McGrath/Details What brought the actor back out of his self-imposed exile? Last year, Ruffalo was sitting in the audience at the Sundance Film festival for "The Kids Are Alright's" premiere, and after hearing the first peal of laughter, "watching everyone's jaded, supercool Hollywood identities melt into the communal experience of filmmaking and storytelling, it reminded me: I'm an actor, and my whole life has been geared towards being an actor."
Up next is a role that's a bit left of center for the indie actor -- he's stepping into the rather large green shoes of The Incredible Hulk for Joss Whedon's action hero ensemble film "The Avengers." For Ruffalo, acting against a green screen for the computer-generated blockbuster was a freeing experience. "It's the absolute perfect marriage," says Ruffalo, "because it relies on your imagination, your ability to project outside of yourself, to be the watcher and the watched. A stage actor has to be able to do that, because you're telling the story with your body as much as your face and voice."
Ruffalo also make the humorous revelation that with special effects to back him up, he's not exactly doing any heavy lifting in preparation for his muscle-bound role: "No, no, no," he says. "Look, I'm eating guacamole and potato chips, man. You think Tom Cruise does this?"