WEIRDLAND: Mark in "Zodiac"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mark in "Zodiac"

Mark Ruffalo has played his fair share of cops, so why are another one? That and many other questions were put to one of Hollywood's hardest working actors, as he and Paul Fischer talked serial killers, cops and Hollywood.

Question: What research did you feel necessary to do or do you think everything was pretty much ....

Ruffalo: Done for me?

Question: Done for you.

Ruffalo: I actually ended up doing quite a bit of research. The one thing I wanted to do was get together with Dave Toschi. And so I went to San Francisco for a few days and spent some time with him at his work and hanging out with him. And that was a big part of the whole performance, was that time I spent with him.

Question: Now you've played a cop a number of times, a few times. What is about that profession that's intriguing and what do you do to try and make ...

Ruffalo: Those different?

Question: Yeah, to try and give it as much interest as possible.

Ruffalo: They're as close to being bad guys as you can get without being a bad guy so they're walking a very fine line, you know. And I mean they're certainly in the realm of good and bad and black and white and all that. So it usually has some dramatic stuff around it. It isn't like I choose it - those are the only jobs they're giving me too you know, that they offer me. There's this projection that we like go around like, 'Oh yeah I'll take that'. No. They're the only jobs they give you. You'd be surprised how little there is of choosing. And it's ended up that I've been a cop a few times now and how that's happened, I don't know. I've been running from cops most of my life. But how that's happened .....

Ruffalo: Yeah. He's a real guy and I feel like I owe it to him to be as honest about who he was and what it cost him and what he went through as I can for the movie. And that's basically what I said to him when I went to meet him. He's like: 'I just don't know why you're here to talk to me'. And I said 'I'm here because I want to honour you, man'. 'I want try and be as honest about your life as I possibly can in the context of this film. [...]

Question: What about the obsessive nature of his character. Could you relate to that?

Ruffalo: To Dave? Dave Toschi? Well I mean shit, I've been doing this for twenty something years and you have to be a little obsessed I think to keep going. I don't relate to it - I don't have that kind of obsession. I guess I do in my acting and what I want and what I'd like my career to look like and all that and I keep hammering at it and this was like a career defining moment for him. And actually when it all blew up in his face it destroyed him and his family.

Question: I would imagine you're at the point in your career where you would have said no to another cop movie at this point. What made you say yes to this one?

Ruffalo: The first thing is the calling part of it, is that David Fincher rang and I'd like to work with him. And then I pretty much go by the material. I mean that's pretty much first and foremost. Then I read it and I just thought it was - there's a whole metaphorical side to this movie about where we are in the world today and about the way we treat evidence and law and presumptions and so that also struck me as well. Sociologically where we are today in the world because of a lot of presumptions, because we didn't follow the letter of the law in evidence, because we weren't as thorough maybe as some of these cops were back then. And so there was that aspect of it too. There was the metaphorical aspect as an artist. And then there's me just playing this guy, this real guy that really took this journey. And I saw a picture of him and I was like 'I have never played that. I have never played that guy'. So that was another thing. Have I done it? I

Question: So what are the challenges for you. You were sort of joking about what the offers are or what have you but you still have a very respectable career.

Ruffalo: I hope so.

Question: You still get great roles. What are the challenges for you to find characters and find projects that you can really sink your teeth into?

Ruffalo: Well there's not a lot of great writing you know. What happens now is that there's, it's writing by committee and they want - even this movie, the release of this movie, OK? This movie could have been released in November. It stands up with anything that's out there right now I think. But because it's a serial killer movie that they don't catch the serial killer in the end, everyone's like freaked out. They don't know ... 'What do we do with this movie?' you know. And it's that sort of mentality that is making the world a much smaller place. It's just the surer thing, the surer bet, you know. So characters are less interesting, stories are less risky.

Question: Are you a cynic?

Ruffalo: Listen. Not only is that glass half empty - it's also a little glass.

Question: Do you see this movie getting under the skin, I mean this case has a way of getting people wrapped up in it. Did you see it happening with the film makers? Did it happen to you?

Ruffalo: It's like the perfect snake eating its own tail. Fincher, who became obsessed with this case makes a movie about obsession - about people's obsession about the case. It just keeps going around and around and around.

Question: So Fincher is obsessive is he?

Ruffalo: Fincher is, when he's working on something, becomes obsessed with it. He wants to know every little detail about it. He is so detailed oriented. Only because he doesn't want to be the guy who shows up and knows less than anybody else there. He is an incredibly conscientious film maker. As far as his work ethic, and I mean I have never worked with him before. But he steeped himself in this material. He steeped himself. I mean we probably came closer to solving this case than anybody has. I mean, we had the resources, we had the people, we had the technology. I mean we've been able to do stuff with ... he'll talk to these cops and they'll say 'I never knew that'. He'll spit out pieces and they're like 'I never knew that' - guys that worked on this case, whose whole life was this case.

Question: What are you doing next now?

Ruffalo: I'm hanging out with my kids.

Question: You are taking a break?

Ruffalo: Yeah. I'm looking for a job.

Question: I thought you were going to do The Brass Wall.

Ruffalo: They're still writing it. You know, God help us, that happens. Yeah, they're in the middle of writing it and I'd like to do it but that's months and months away.

Question: You didn't make anything after this?

Ruffalo: I did Reservation Road, yeah.

Question: Fincher's movie Seven kind of defined a certain kind of serial killer genre movies for years. Was he consciously trying to show the opposite side of the real life frustrations?

Ruffalo: I think he said to himself 'If I'm going to do this I'm going to totally, you know, just recreate it for myself'.

Question: What will you and your wife be doing for Valentines Day? Anything fun?

Ruffalo: We're going to try and get a room at the Chateau. and I'll get in. No I don't know what we're doing.

Question: Don't get the one next to Lindsay Lohan.

Ruffalo: No is she still there?"



penny lane said...

Last picture of Mark is beautiful.
"Not only is the glass half empty -it is also a little glass".
A quote to remember!

gr77 said...

i liked this interview.he's a very intelligent man and so right about hollywood's fear with risks.
i'm not very keen on him as an actor,i know that everybody think he's great but he seems a bit bland to me

Kendra said...

I like Mark's blandness, and his sense of irony, he quite moved my emotions with his performance in "My Life withouth me" by Catalan director Isabel Coixet.