Most actors who get Academy Award nods didn’t get their start in soft core pornography, but Mark Ruffalo, who received a best supporting actor nomination this year, said the genre helped him get his career started.
“It was still acting and it was still a character,” he said, adding that he never played the “core” parts, more like the comical roles.
Ruffalo, speaking at a Times Talks event Thursday night, surprised fans and New York Times arts blogger Melena Ryzik with the revelation, as he’s most known for his work in the 2000 film, “You Can Count on Me,” and the movie that got him an Oscar nod this year, “The Kids Are All Right.”
The actor, who lives in upstate New York, had the audience chuckling throughout the night at the Times Center, throwing in a bit of self-deprecating humor and impersonations of his legendary acting school teacher Stella Adler.
“I never imagined myself having a big career,” said the 43-year-old actor, who went to acting school with Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek. “I didn’t have the confidence about it.”
Ruffalo will be playing Bruce Banner in “The Avengers” this year. He also talked of his directorial debut in “Sympathy for Delicious,” and being asked to play a role in the film adaptation of “The Normal Heart.”
While films are his bread-and-butter now, Ruffalo said he feels most comfortable on stage, where he got most of his parts as a young actor. In fact, he’s been considering bringing “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” to the stage in the future.
“It’s one of our great American plays,” said Ruffalo, adding he hopes to come back to New York City to do theater. “You will see me back on stage.”
Since getting off the awards season circuit for “The Kids Are All Right,” he said he hasn’t worked much, focusing most of his attention on advocating against hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale upstate.
“It’s been a struggle to keep a balance,” said Ruffalo of his work and family priorities.