The Marvel Cinematic Universe boasts a deep bench of talent. On the roster is Mark Ruffalo, who scored the role of Bruce Banner, aka Hulk. He debuted as the hero in the 2012 film, The Avengers, and remains a part of the franchise. But Ruffalo confessed that before he was a megastar, he enjoyed a life of leisure with the help of sun, surf, and pot.
Mark Ruffalo described what life was like before he began his acting career
Ruffalo granted Variety an interview and revealed a few intimate details about his life and mindset before launching his acting career. He told the outlet, “I was living in San Diego and basically just surfing, and smoking weed and going nowhere really fast.”
The A-lister also revealed his experience with a learning disability, his love for dramatic arts, and his early doubts about his inevitable success. But despite his uncertainties, he took the advice of a friend and went to audition at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Los Angeles.
“Someone told me I should go study there, so out of my desperation and my secret of wanting to be an actor, I took the train up there for an interview with my teacher Joanne Linville,” said Ruffalo.
“Here I am, this kid from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was dyslexic, could barely read, I barely got through high school, and I went in, and I talked to Joanne,” Ruffalo explained. “She interviewed me for like 10 minutes. She was like, ‘You belong here, darling.’ I never had anyone tell me I belong somewhere. I had never been so excited about learning in my entire life as I embarked on that journey.”
Ruffalo never imagined playing the Hulk, but his wife envisioned big things for him
Ruffalo has graced the silver screen numerous times as the Hulk in the MCU, a multi-billion-dollar feature film franchise. When thinking back to the early days of being an actor, Ruffalo admitted that he could never have envisioned himself in the larger-than-life role.
“We had this little theater, and that was my dream come true,” Ruffalo reminisced. “We were doing, like, 10 plays a year on Santa Monica Boulevard. I was bartending, but as sh*tty as the day could be, when I walked in the theater, I was in heaven. It’s when I met Sunrise [Ruffalo’s wife], and she was like, ‘I think you might be shooting a little bit low. I think you can probably expand what you think you’re capable of.’”
The MCU star has sage words of advice for any undiscovered actor lacking confidence
While chatting with Variety, Ruffalo shared a few words of wisdom for aspiring actors who may lack confidence like the younger Ruffalo. Rather than “just surfing and smoking weed,” the actor suggested summoning self-assurance.
Ruffalo advised, “Say to that little part of yourself, ‘Listen, you son of a b*tch. I know you’re there, but you don’t control me. I want to live my dreams, and I’m going to make one step towards them. And the road will meet me there.’”
As successful as Ruffalo has become, he remains grounded. “I just remember to be grateful because I still can’t believe it,” he admitted. “I still keep thinking, ‘They’re going to throw me out of the club. I never belonged here in the first place, and they’re all going to find out.’”
From a movie buff’s perspective, Ruffalo is exactly where he should be — in the spotlight. With a string of hits on his resume and several projects on the horizon, it appears that Ruffalo is there to stay.
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