Mark Ruffalo was scared of his role in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things.”
The actor, who stars as Duncan Wedderburn alongside Emma Stone in the comedy fantasy, shared his trepidation in taking the role while interviewing on “Hot Ones.”
“You played the role of a dapper lawyer who enjoys the finer things in life and thinks of himself as the world’s greatest lover,” host Sean Evans said. “Was there any sort of perverse pleasure or joy in playing a character so self-obsessed?”
“I don’t get to play many parts like that. Honestly, I was scared of it,” Ruffalo said. “He’s a real Casanova and he’s not in control. Getting to do it, it was just so free. People have all these expectations on you, and you sorta get stuck in these boxes. At 55, I’m sick of that, and so it was just kind of an explosion, of radical creativity for me.”
The film hits theaters Friday after making a splash on the festival circuit. The National Board Review recently named Ruffalo the year’s best actor in a supporting role.
Elsewhere in the interview, Evans also brought up the “fun fact” that the actor had a stretch of at least 800 auditions without landing a single role over a decade. Evans asked the actor what his rock bottom was and how close he came to giving up acting forever.
“I probably quit like six times during the course of it all. The closest was, my dad was part of a construction painting business, and I went to Wisconsin, and I walked on a job site and I saw some guys sandblasting — and these dudes work. I mean, they’re covered head to toe, and all day long there’s sand blasting them,” Ruffalo recalled.
“You’re like, maybe I should give it one more shot,” Evans joked.
“Yeah, I was like, ‘My hands are too soft for this.’ But my mom got wind of this. I didn’t tell my mom because I knew she’d be bummed, and she got wind of this and she called me and she’s like, ‘What are you doing?’” Ruffalo added. “She says to me if you quit acting, I will never speak to you again. I will be so angry and upset with you.’ I never heard my mom talk like that, and so I was like, ‘That works.’”
Evans also asked Ruffalo about working with various directors like Michael Mann, as well as his time living with Joaquin Phoenix.
Watch the full “Hot Ones” interview in the video above.