Mark Alan Ruffalo is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He portrayed the Marvel Comics character, Bruce Banner / The Hulk in The Avengers, and will reprise his role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Other notable films in which he has starred or co-starred are You Can Count on Me, Collateral, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Just Like Heaven, Zodiac, Shutter Island, Now You See Me, and Begin Again. For his role in The Kids Are All Right, he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie and received an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie nomination for The Normal Heart. Ruffalo is part of the 9/11 Truth movement and is a supporter of the creation of 100% clean energy. In 2010, Ruffalo claimed he had been placed on a terror advisory list. However, the Department of Homeland Security denied that they had him on any such list.
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You may have seen a recent LA Times article about a growing concern of using oil field water to raise crops.
I'm sure we'll get some other questions, but AMA. Victoria's helping me out over the phone.
Update: This is an INCREDIBLY informative and fun AMA. I didn't expect to have such a turnout for it. It's great to see so many people excited about the work we're doing at Water Defense. We want to continue this conversation for a long time. And we'd love to have you follow us at https://waterdefense.org or on Twitter @WaterWarriorOne and also sign up for any updates and support our work as we go forward.
We are a small, scrappy organization that do our work on a shoestring budget, and we believe that by giving people data, they will find their way to the best possible outcome.
So thank you for your time. I love you guys. Thank you Scott Smith for joining us. I really appreciate it that you're engaged in every aspect of my work, including the fun stuff, like talking about movies, and the difficult stuff, like making our world a better place to live in.
I know it isn't always easy to be my fan. But I really appreciate you for taking this ride with me.
Hi Mark, I love your work! You are hard to pinpoint as an actor because you are so diverse and are always choosing new and different projects, I love it! You were great in Avengers and Foxcatcher, I cannot wait to see Infinitely Polar Bear!
I just wanted to ask you, what are your thoughts on the recent outburst of criticism against Joss Whedon regarding Scarlet Johannson's character, Black Widow?
I think it's sad. Because I know how Joss feels about women, and I know that he's made it a point to create strong female characters. I think part of the problem is that people are frustrated that they want to see more women, doing more things, in superhero movies, and because we don't have as many women as we should yet, they're very, very sensitive to every single storyline that comes up right now. But I think what's beautiful about what Joss did with Black Widow - I don't think he makes her any weaker, he just brings this idea of love to a superhero, and I think that's beautiful.
If anything, Black Widow is much stronger than Banner. She protects him. She does her job, and basically they begin to have a relationship as friends, and I think it's a misplaced anger. I think that what people might really be upset about is the fact that we need more superhuman women. The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow. But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there's not much else to compare it to.
So I know Joss really well. I know what his values are. And I think it's sad, because in a lot of ways, there haven't been as many champions in this universe as Joss is and will continue to be. And I know it hurts him. I know it's heavy on him. And the guy's one of the sweetest, best guys, and I know him - as far as any man can be a champion for women, he is that.
So it's been a little disheartening.
But I also see how much people love that aspect of it. There's an equal amount of people who find the love interest between Banner and Black Widow to be a big standout. And it's very satisfying to people. So it's a movie. People are going to have their opinions. And that's actually a great thing. The fact that this is a debate that's coming out of this movie is probably a positive thing.
I just don't think that people should get personal with Joss, because he really is - of anyone - an advocate for women. He's a deeply committed feminist.
Hey Mark. Would you ever fight Santa?
I would love to fight Santa. I'm just afraid I would only get coal for Christmas!
I raise a toast to you too.
What's one thing Mark Ruffalo is always angry about?
Hi Mark, thanks for doing this AMA. Here's my question, What is the best compliment you've ever received?
The best compliment I've ever received? Probably that I'm a good father.
Mark, with the drought hitting California so hard (as well as many other places in the southwest), what do you feel are the best options for dealing with what is likely to be the "new norm" for the foreseeable future?
Big fan of yours, by the way, ever since I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Zodiak. And love the different sensibility you bring to the character of Banner in the Avengers movie (here's hoping we get a solo Hulk film in the near future).
Well, clearly we are gonna have to re-think the way we use water. And how much we use. In a lot of places, because of climate change, the days of endless water are no longer available to some regions. So water is clearly becoming a precious commodity. It actually always has been, but we've always had it in such abundance that we've forgotten to prioritize it the way it deserves. By moving to renewable energy, we'll be able to save trillions of gallons of water that are used in either creating steam, to power turbines, in our coal / gas-powered energy power plants, hydro-fracking, or by steam stimulation, or by tar sands extraction. All of these extraction methods use enormous amounts of fresh water. By moving to a renewable energy paradigm, all of that water will become available to us, instead of needing to be disposed of as a toxic waste by deep-well injecting it and taking it from the water table forever.
And thank you for being a fan. I'm YOUR fan.
Hi Mark. Thanks for doing this AMA.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has hit the box office and is shaping up to be Marvel's biggest movie ever. Among the large ensemble in the movie, your character, Bruce Banner/Hulk stands out for many reasons. We see an added layer of depth to the character where we see how Bruce doesn't like 'Hulking out' and that hurting all the people that he does breaks him on the inside. All this culminates with Bruce as Hulk just going away to an unknown location which said volumes about the character. I loved that last scene because it culminated a perfect character arc for Bruce/Hulk and it also showcased your acting prowess. What I want to ask you is that what was YOUR favorite 'Bruce/Hulk' scene and why? And which was the most fun scene to shoot for the movie?
My favorite scene is - Bruce is the one person who, it's interesting, he's a pacifist. He wants to settle things without relying on violence, or the Hulk. But clearly, in this world that they're living in, that's not really happening. So he's deeply conflicted. And I think we're all conflicted about that particular issue. And I think that's why it resonates so deeply with people. We all understand the power of anger. But we also have in our nature decency and human kindness. And these two things butt up against each other in us, and create a conflict, and that's universal. That's the same with every human being around the world.
So I think that's one reason why the Banner/Hulk paradigm, or character, really resonates with people.
One of my favorite scenes, honestly, was just the superheroes hanging out, drinking beers, having a party and goofing off with Thor's hammer! That's classic Joss Whedon, and those moments when we see our superhumans just being human are really, I think, some of my favorite moments in the movie. And I think it's part of the reason why the movie worked so well, is because Joss Whedon really understands that, and is interested in that himself.
What was the last thing you ate?
Toast. RAISIN toast.
My boyfriend CONSTANTLY leaves the water running whenever he brushes his teeth. Can you please tell him to stop being wasteful?! He can't argue with the Hulk.
DUDE! You're just wasting water!
And by the way - you're throwing money away! All of that water, you're paying for! And it's all going down the drain! At least put a pot inside the sink and boil potatoes with it! Hahaha! But to let it keep running is literally like throwing money out the window!
Hello Mark, I'm a fan! Regarding the oil field and farming, are you familiar with soil farming? It's not legal in all states, but for the states it has been legal I think it's been overall beneficial for both the farmers that use the left over cuttings as well as obviously the oil companies themselves.
Also, and I'm sure you've been asked this before, but have you considered showing up on Agents of SHIELD just as Bruce Banner? I'm not sure how the unions in Hollywood work and how the pay would be but I know fans of the show would love to see you show up!
Edit: For those interested in soil farming, this is an old article, I can't find much about it for some reason, I think my location is biasing google's search results. Basically, take cuttings from the hole drilled, neutralize the harsh components to make fertilizers for crops.
I'm not familiar with it, but I'm definitely interested in it. Thank you for turning me onto it.
Mr. Ruffalo, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. What would you consider your biggest achievement to date? What do you look forward to doing next?
As far as activism goes, the fracking ban in New York State is our biggest achievement yet. And I look forward to continuing this discussion and educating folks about the dangers of extreme fossil fuels extraction, like hydrofracking. And look forward to the hope and the promise of a renewable energy future, which includes clean water, clean air, clean food, more jobs, healthier people, and less world strife.
Mark, you're 75% Italian. What's your favorite Italian food or recipe?
I make it at home!
Good morning, Mark! I'm curious, being in your position, have you given any thought to doing your own documentary on why it's so critical we all start caring and getting involved in things like this? Honestly, you have completely changed the way I think about and use water. It hits so much closer to home than people realize.
We're actually working on a documentary with Scott right now that would take us through his journeys through the 45 different contamination sites that he's visited. And bring more awareness to what's happening with our water. Right now, there's not a lot of good data on water contamination, and because of that, polluters feel free to keep using our waterways as dumping grounds. So the more clarity and data we bring to this debate and conversation, the better chances we have of stopping polluters and holding the ones accountable who ARE polluting.
If you actually found yourself as the Hulk one day, which has been known to happen from time to time*, what would be the first thing you would smash?
*Source: Wikipedia and Brian Williams
Uh...I would smash, oh man! I'm in my Banner entity right now, and I don't think I could smash anything.
Mark, do you think that last nights NDP sweep of the Alberta elections will have a negative impact on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline?
If not, will you smash it for us?
One can only hope so!
And it could DEFINITELY use a little SMASH.
What book is your favorite? And what book inspires you in your life?
My favorite book? Oh man, that's tough!
These questions are always so hard for me to answer.
Right now, my favorite book is Wally Lamb's I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, which I'm working with him to make into a television show.
And I've been inspired by it because of its message of forgiveness for ourselves, and our past.
Is there an actor/actress you have wanted to meet and work with but haven't gotten to yet?
I'd love to work with Emma Stone.
And I'd love to work with Ryan Gosling.
And Tom Hardy!
And also Michael Fassbender.
Thank you for this AMA! What are your thoughts on Water privatisation?
Loved you in Avengers: AoU by the way :)
Thank you for the kind words! I think water privatization is a huge mistake. And I think it's a cynical move on certain business interests to commodify something that is needed for ALL living things. It's as problematic as commodifying the air, or privatizing oxygen. It's basically a human right. And human rights should not be commodified.
Hi, Mark. What is your favourite lullaby?
What can the rest of us (people outside of CA) do to help with the drought and the Water Defense Organization?
Well, just signing up with us at https://waterdefense.org, and joining in the conversation, is a HUGE thing. A big part of all this is just education. And becoming aware of our water environment, and being active in protecting it. Awareness is probably 90% of the fight. And becoming active, which would mean petitioning your local governments. And understanding the importance and sanctity of our water. It really is the foundation of all life. And we forget that, because it's so abundant.
But we're now entering a time when it won't be so abundant. And it needs protecting.
Do you have some good memories from film festivals?
I have great memories from film festivals. That's the one place where new films, and usually some difficult films, get a chance to perform in the world, and it's usually the first time the world's ever seeing it. So the reactions are really powerful. And there was a moment when I was going to quit acting, and a movie played, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, and it played for the first time in front of an audience, and it made me remember why it was what it was, and why I loved being an actor, which I forgot for a moment.
Hello, What is your favorite dessert? Thank you
Banana cream pie.
Hi Mark! How was it working with Rian Johnson and the rest of the cast on Brothers Bloom?
Loved working with Rian. He is an incredibly gifted film maker and a really fine man. I hope he has a place for me in the new StarWars. Knock knock, Rian.
Where do you think Marvel will go with Bruce Banner's story?
I have no idea, hahaha!
Last I heard, he was on a quick-jet into oblivion.
Hi Mark, thank you for your advocacy against fracking. I live in Florida, which has a very fragile groundwater system, and of course our state legislature is pushing fracking through. Where should we start to fight?
In New York, the most important things, and powerful things, were public hearings - many, many public hearings, so that people became educated. And public gatherings. It is important to get protestors in front of your politicians. They do not like to be dogged by protestors - even if it's a handful of them! But the more public gatherings you can create, the better. They may feel like they're not working at first. But a long prolonged campaign of public protests will begin to move the dial.
Don't get me wrong - it's a lot of work.
But it's worth it.
And by getting out in public, you will be educating anyone who comes across you.
what is one simple thing I can adopt into my everyday life to waste less water without becoming a vegetarian? what can I do in my community to prevent water contamination?
Haha! Um... well, take shorter showers. Don't let the water run when you're brushing your teeth. Don't water your yard. Move to drought-resistant plants and ground covers. And put low-flow shower heads on your showers. And then last I would say, don't eat meat one or two days a week. Every little bit makes a difference.
I was wondering if you had any tips on going into the film industry? Thank you, and I hope you have a great day. :)
Be respectful to those around you at all times. Do your work better than anyone. Be serious about your work. Be damn good when it your turn at bat which means being well prepared.
Your role in Foxcatcher is amazing. How did you prepare for it? Also the performances of Channing and, of course Steve, are amazing as well.
Just curious. It kinda came as a suprise how good it turned out to be.
Yea, I agree with you! I thought Channing was incredible in that movie, as well as Steve.
I felt Channing deserved a lot more credit than he was given. Channing and I both started wrestling together 7 months before we shot a single frame of wrestling. We both spent a lot of time in the gym, building muscle mass and learning how to look like Olympic champion wrestlers (which was no easy feat, especially for me).
And I spent hours and hours and hours watching and studying Dave Schulz tapes, and talking to family and friends.
Hi Mark! You have such fantastic hair. Do you have a special trick that makes it so fantastic?
Hahaha! Uh... no, that was just something I was blessed with.
And I have no control over it. It has a complete mind of its own.
Hey guys! Three questions...
Which chemical is the worst for human life in fracking if it gets into groundwater and why?
Which US state has the best and sanest laws on fracking that others should adopt or emulate?
Who wins in a motion capture dance off between Mark and Andy Serkis?
It's hard to say. Essentially, the chemicals that are used in fracking are similar to the chemicals found in cigarette smoke that cause cancer. Like Benzene-related compounds. There's pthalates and endocrine disrupters that cause abnormalities in genetic processes, like the feminization of the male reproductive system. And then there's a whole host of chemicals we're not privy to, because the fossil fuels industry refuses to disclose what chemicals they're using in their fracking fluid.
Well, the health and environmental impacts of hydro-fracking are still being evaluated. But 75% of all the studies have indicated that there are enormous negative health and environmental consequences, as well as a multitude of anecdotal evidence that points to the outcome that hydro-fracking cannot be done safely. Even with the best regulations, the well linings are failing at 6%. Which means 6 out of 100 wells are leaking.
They have drilled tens of thousands of wells.
At 6% failures - that's a huge problem.
Horizontal high-pressure hydro-fracking is a relatively new technology.
We have no idea what the long-term health and environmental impact of this process will lead to. Which is why there's a great deal of wisdom in New York State's and Governor Cuomo's ban on hydro-fracking until there are enough scientific and healthcare studies to indicate that it can be done safely.
DEFINITELY Andy Serkis from LOTR. But I'm definitely hot on his tail.
Do you get any inspiration to learn science from Bruce Banner?
I've always been interested in science.
And Banner has given me the freedom to follow those interests, while being paid as an actor.
It all goes under "character development."
What kind of movie you are shooting prefer? Horrors or romantic or drama.....?
I haven't done too many horror movies? But I like all the different genres. I like - each genre sort of has its own style, and its own challenges. I like to work across genres, and I like to challenge expectations from fans and also challenge my own expectations and limitations. So I like to work across genres. I don't have a favorite, honestly.