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Interview with Mark Ruffalo

From "13 Going on 30"

By

Jennifer Garner Mark Ruffalo 13 Going 30

Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo star in "13 Going on 30."

Columbia Pictures
What is your knack for vanishing into a character? You never seem to be the same person.
Great! I think probably my training. I come from a traditional theater background. Stella Adler was one of my teachers and that training was you didn’t drag the material down to yourself. You lifted yourself up. You were in service to the material. You were trying to get rid of yourself. We were doing a lot of character work. Right now, most actors are personalities and acting is not what they were talking about when I was being taught by these old masters. I became an actor so I didn’t have to be myself. I like to disappear in the parts I play.

What was the biggest stretch for you?
Probably “In the Cut.” Who he is, his profession, where he comes from, his experience of the world is just so far away from anything I’ve ever done or been or seen.

Is this nice guy in “13 Going on 30” closer to the real you?
I live a bourgeois life. I have a kid and I don’t like parties and I did all my drinking and drug use very early on when I was in Virginia Beach. I get my kicks from my work. The ease of his life is probably closer to mine.

I hear you weren’t thrilled having to dance in this film.
The dancing was horrible! I almost didn’t want to do this movie. I literally read it and I’m like, “I can’t do this movie. I can’t get up and do those scenes.” I’m like, “White boy don’t dance.” When [Jennifer] dragged me out [onto the dance floor], she was literally dragging me out. I had hours of rehearsal with a dance coach who taught me how to do all the moves and stuff and still, when we got into actually shooting it and there were 300 extras around, I did not want to do that scene.

Do you ever have sleepless nights worrying about an upcoming scene?
Sure. Usually, the first night before I start working on a picture, I can’t sleep. If it’s a particularly difficult scene, I have a hard time sleeping. I’m worried about it. But, always, the night before I start something, I can’t sleep very well.

How do you keep in touch with how you felt as a teen?
I look at what kids have as input these days and man, that’s intense stuff. They’re ironic little kids. I enjoyed growing up part of my life in Virginia Beach. We had the ocean and the beach and a beautiful landscape. We were outdoors all the time and we played outside. There was a lot to do. I really cherish that time. I remember riding my bike down the boardwalk with nowhere to go and looking at the girls. It was really innocent. As we’re bombarded with the imagery that we are and now, post 9-11, it’s hard not to get hardened by the world and the amount of violence that’s allowed to be shown to kids these days. I don’t think I have a problem with kids seeing sex. They’re introducing heavy artillery to our kids in cartoons and that’s not a problem.

So do you disagree with the FCC trying to clamp down on certain things?
I’m baffled by the amount of violence. If we’re going to go after something, let’s bring that into the loop, too. That kind of stuff, it’s so shocking, I don’t see how it can’t imprint on a young person’s mind. Crack down on the right things. Sex doesn’t seem to be the problem to me. We’re all gonna do it. It’s how we procreate. That’s not the problem. The problem to me is violence. It’s not cool to kill somebody or hurt people.

Why do you think we’re more worried about sex than violence?
Because we’re a really puritanical culture. We’re warriors, this culture, and we’re very puritanical about sex and very embracing about violence and I don’t know why that is. It seems odd to me. One embraces life and one destroys life. I don’t understand it. This country consumes more pornography than any other country in the world. Let’s grow up. There’s some ‘not facing reality’ going on.

How do you live every day with this problem?
In my life and the people I know this doesn’t exist. There’s the illusion of pop culture and then real people’s lives. I’ve come to realize that they are two different things.

PAGE 3: Mark Ruffalo on Life Changes and Live Theatre

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Interview with Jennifer Garner
Andy Serkis Interview
"13 Going on 30" Photo Gallery
"13 Going on 30" Trailer, Credits, and Movie News

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