Mark Ruffalo: Ruffalo Stance

The Kids Are All Right's Mark Ruffalo talks marriage equality and argues why he still may not be right for a gay role in The Normal Heart.



Even before he earned an Oscar nomination as a lesbian couple’s resurfaced sperm donor in The Kids Are All Right, Mark Ruffalo donated his voice to the fight for marriage equality. But as he makes his directorial debut with Sympathy for Delicious, a Sundance Special Jury Prize-winning drama about a paraplegic faith healer in theaters April 29, the 43-year-old future Hulk argues why he still may not be right for a gay role in The Normal Heart.

The Advocate: Congrats on your directorial debut, Sympathy for Delicious. Are you officially hooked on directing?
Mark Ruffalo: Yeah, I loved it. After doing it, it felt like that was all I wanted to be doing for the next 20 years. Acting’s my day job now, and I never thought I’d come to the moment in my life where I could say that. No one’s getting rich doing indie movies, so acting keeps my family fed enough so that I can sneak off and get these little movies made that I want to direct. When you’re an actor, you eat one slice of the pie. When you’re a director, you get to eat the whole pie.

You sound like a glutton for power.
Some directors do direct with an iron fist, and they’re very controlling, but I’m more into the collaboration, watching people from different disciplines bring their own greatness and find their own voices in the project. That’s what works for me.

Feel free to direct a gay-themed project in the near future.
OK, that won’t be a problem. I actually tried to put some transsexuals in Sympathy for Delicious. Like the woman who has emphysema? That’s a transgender actor.

You and your wife Sunrise recently appeared in a video testimonial for the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality series from the Human Rights Campaign. How did you get involved with HRC?
Julianne Moore has been working with HRC, and I had first become friends with her during Blindness. I had told her that I’d like to be involved in any way I could, so HRC invited us to shoot the PSA.

Why have you taken such a personal interest in gay rights?
We have a lot of friends who are gay couples with kids. When my son would go to his friend’s house down the street, where his friend’s parents are a married gay couple, not once did he come home and say, “Why does he have two papas?” That didn’t occur to him, because their house is no different from ours. I’ve seen the human face of the issue, I’ve seen the pain gay couples are going through, so it was important for me to add my voice to the fight. Fortunately, my voice reaches much further than a lot of people’s. I was trained as an actor that we have a responsibility in our community to stand up for what we believe in and to use our voice and our art to teach people and push those beliefs.

Tags: Print Issue