Mark Ruffalo is transforming.
With a string of films, from the lauded AIDS drama “The Normal Heart” to the musical rebirth tale “Begin Again” to the upcoming wrestling drama “Foxcatcher,” the man many know as the Hulk has muscled together a shape-shifting string of roles.
“You push and you work hard, you stay positive and eventually all the stars sort of align,” Ruffalo said in an interview. “I feel like I’m kind of in one of those moments where everything converges at one time. It’s been an interesting few years for me and kind of tough, just my inner-life. I feel like I had kind of a midlife thing going on. People close to me died. It’s just been a really reflective time and a growing time, so where I’m at right now feels like, ‘OK, I’m coming out of the other side of that and I survived it.'”
Ruffalo has two films premiering this week at the Toronto International Film Festival: Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” (already a hit at Cannes) and the family drama “Infinitely Polar Bear” (already acclaimed at Sundance). The films cap a busy year for the actor, one that has already included the indie success “Begin Again,” in which he plays a wayward middle-aged record executive, and the Emmy-winning HBO drama “The Normal Heart,” based on Larry Kramer’s play about the early years of the AIDS outbreak in New York City. He’s also been shooting the “Avengers” sequel, “Age of Ultron.”
Ruffalo, 46, has long been widely admired for his warm sincerity and emotional openness as an actor. He’s worked steadily, mixing in character and leading parts since his breakout in Kenneth Lonergan’s tender sibling drama “You Can Count on Me” (2001), including an Oscar nomination for 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right.” But it’s been an often interrupted journey.