Breaking Baz: Mark Ruffalo Relishes Playing The Bad Guy In ‘Poor Things’ And Says He Fantasizes About Meeting Up With Kate Winslet In The Brad Ingelsby Universe
EDITED TO ARCHIVE ONLY MARK’S INTERVIEW PORTION. NO INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.
Mark Ruffalo tells me he has, until now, kinda shied away from playing the villain of the piece. He licks his lips as he declares that it’s “so much fun to finally get to play the bad guy.”
He refers, of course, to his Duncan Wedderburn, the calculating cad of the first water he plays with zest in Yorgos Lanthimos’ delicious movie Poor Things.
The schemer Wedderburn sets his sights on Emma Stone’s Bella Baxter, but it is she who outwits him.
“The bad ones are the best and I was scared of it,” he tells me at Saturday’s BAFTA Tea Party, set on a mammoth, chilly terrace at The Maybourne Beverly Hills.
As I toyed with Ruffalo’s thesis in my head, I was unable to conjure any roles he’s played that were, hitherto, downright dastardly. His Bruce Banner stroke the Hulk in the Marvel movies is essentially decent, as was Mike Rezendes the crusading journalist he portrayed in the Oscar-winning Spotlight.
Ruffalo shakes his head and says, “I really didn’t think I could do it. Being a bad person on screen, breaking whatever expectations. It’s such a flashy part and I had never really dug my teeth into anything like that — and man was it freeing and liberating and just joyfully wicked!”
He says it was never a case of avoiding such roles. ”Nobody asked me to do them and so this is the one time where they saw me in a part I don’t think many people would have possibly seen me in. It’s not so much avoiding it, they don’t really come my way. Now they will, hopefully.”
He laughs, agreeing that he’ll be begging to play a nice guy again. ”From one extreme to the next.”
Indeed, he plays “another f*cking psychopath,” he says, in Bong Joon Ho’s Mickey 17, due for release in March.
“This guy’s like a nasty dictator, fascist, narcissist; we know the type!”
Ruffalo explains that the Mickey 17 character’s a commander of a colonizing outer space excursion. “He’s as bad as any of these a**holes running around today.”
He loves playing such parts, he tells me. ”It’s a whole new era.”
Next up is an FBI agent for HBO in Task, a miniseries from Brad Ingelsby and Jeremiah Zagar.
He plays a good guy “but complicated,” he says. “He’s badly damaged but fighting for good.”
The character’s the head of an investigation that involves murder and kidnapping. Cameras roll in March.
Task is in the “same universe, it’s in Philly,” as Ingelsby’s award-winning Mare of Easttown, the blockbuster of a drama that starred Kate Winslet as a homicide detective. “At some point those two might run into each other in the future, that’s what they’re saying. It’s not set, nothing’s set,” he adds.
“The writing’s amazing. Now let’s see if I can do it,” he says.