Being an actor portraying a real person in a high-profile movie has more in common with being an investigative journalist than one might guess.
In an interview for a cover story in an upcoming issue of TheWrap Magazine, “Spotlight” star Mark Ruffalo sat down with the Boston Globe reporter he portrays in the Thomas McCarthy film about the paper’s award-winning investigation of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.
To prepare for the part, Ruffalo had to become a bit of a journalist himself, investigating things about his character, Globe veteran Mike Rezendes. In fact, Rezendes aid he was surprised that the actor learned about his “excitable” nature, which was captured in some of the film’s most dramatic outbursts.
“I knew your relationship to the church growing up,” Ruffalo explained. “I knew how important you see reporting and investigative journalism. I knew the pressure that you were under. I knew how much you cared about those kids. And so when you put all that into the pot and turn up the heat a bit, something’s going to blow.”
According to the actor, whatever praise or awards the movie wins this season are a tribute to the good work done by the real-life journalists upon whom the story is based.
“I know that this response to this movie is also a validation of the survivors, and it’s a validation of your work, of investigative journalists’ work,” Ruffalo said. “In some way, we had a hand in those two very important issues that didn’t belittle it, or cheapen it, or cheapen ourselves within the medium of filmmaking. Which is rare, and I’m really grateful to have been part of.”