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Mark Ruffalo on What Doesn't Kill You

Published December 11, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Yari Film Group
What Doesn't Kill YouWhat Doesn't Kill You

Playing a living person is pressure enough. When you're playing your writer-director, that's gotta be some tough standards. Still, Brian Goodman stuck by Mark Ruffalo as his first choice to play Brian in What Doesn't Kill You.

Ruffalo Learns What Doesn't Kill You

"In those seven years Brian and I became very good friends," Ruffalo said. "I was going to do the movie in the beginning but he couldn't get it made with me, so I said, 'Listen man, go on and do this movie. You have to do this movie and I’m not going to impede it in any way.' But we remained friends, very, very close friends. So during that time I just got to know the stories intimately."

That seven year period gave Ruffalo insight into what kept Goodman and his then wife together long after Brian lapsed into drug addiction. " I knew what their relationship was and what drew them together. They're that young couple who starts off like a lot of it is hormones and like sexual attraction and her caring for him, setting up his bed, and all those things. Then they throw themselves together because their families’ lives are so bad and it just becomes messy, and then ten years later they're two totally different people. They're not those kids that fell in love, their first love."

What Doesn't Kill YouWhat Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill YouWhat Doesn't Kill You

To play Brian at his lowest convincingly, Ruffalo did learn how to do drugs on film. "I’ll never forget when I showed up there and one of the guys was like, 'Hey Mark!' And I was like, 'Yeah?' And he's like, 'Let’s go hit some crack houses. I know a couple.' [This was] one of the actors in the movie, right? And I was like, 'Yes, let’s do that,' and he's like, 'Seriously?' Addiction, I have a saying, either you are one or you love one. I’m not. I don’t have that gene or whatever, but I have a lot of people in my life that do unfortunately. I've seen people doing it. I know people that I'm very close to who are in the clutches of that. Part of probably why this movie meant so much to me was to be able to tell that story in a way that there was some like rising above it."

Even Goodman himself taught him the ropes. "Then Brian just like sat me down with like a couple of Altoids and we chopped those babies up, threw them in the pipe and he showed what it looked like. He showed me and it was interesting to watch because he hasn’t visited that world in many, many years. He became almost physically ill. That scene when he finds me, he was ruined. He couldn't even call a cut. It was a very intense day."

What Doesn't Kill You opens to theaters on December 12th.

For the trailer, poster and more movie info, go to the What Doesn't Kill You Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Yari Film Group

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