EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED AT 6:06 p.m. with comments about Spotlight at end: You might call August, 2014 a full-circle month for Mark Ruffalo. His performance as Ned Weeks in Ryan Murphy‘s HBO version of The Normal Heart earned one of that film’s astonishing 16 Emmy nominations, with the winners to be announced on Aug. 25. He’s eager to catch the Broadway revival of the 1996 stage play that launched his career, Kenneth Lonergan‘s This Is Our Youth, which begins on the 18th with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.
Writing about his work in Lonergan’s You Can Count On Me, the New York Times’ Stephen Holden said, “Mr. Ruffalo’s star-making performance deserves to be added to the list of charismatic, grownup lost boys that includes the Marlon Brando of A Streetcar Named Desire and the Jack Nicholson of Easy Rider.”
Yet this is the same guy who plays the Hulk in the Avengers franchise. And the same guy whose social activism includes deeply personal work on behalf of gun-control laws, and who just signed on to star with Rachel McAdams in Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s film about two Boston Globe reporters whose investigation of pedophile priests led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law. And of course he’s currently onscreen with Keira Knightley in the exquisite indie feature Begin Again. A few days ago I spoke via FaceTime with the actor during some time cadged from a family vacation on the French island of Corsica.