Mark Ruffalo born
If every generation gets the leading man it deserves, then we should be grateful that Mark Ruffalo’s star is on the rise. Sensitive yet sexy, masculine but not mindlessly macho, funny without being a goofball, Ruffalo has carved out a unique place in the current movie landscape. He’s able to appear in Hollywood blockbusters and independent dramas, finding new notes to hit in each while avoiding the clichéd characterizations that so many A-listers fall into after their initial defining successes. Born November 22, 1967, Ruffalo first caught moviegoers’ eyes in such independent films as The Last Big Thing, Safe Men, and 54 before stepping into the larger canvass of Ang Lee’s period Western, Ride with the Devil. Then, in 2000, came the role that defined his early work -- Terry, the itinerant brother in Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count on Me. Opposite Laura Linney, Ruffalo’s performance was hailed by critics and propelled him into an eclectic array of movies, from Michel Gondry’s sci-fi romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to Jane Campion’s darkly erotic serial killer drama, In the Cut. Other noteworthy performances include in Terry George’s Reservation Road, Michael Mann’s Collateral, and David Fincher’s Zodiac. At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Ruffalo surprised moviegoers with two unexpected roles. He humanized the rootless, free loving sperm donor in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids are All Right, making the film’s interloper understandable but also appealing. And, in the festival’s Dramatic Competition, he premiered Sympathy for Delicious, his directorial debut. A personal project borne from his friendship with screenwriter, actor and musician Christopher Thornton, the film told the story of a wheelchair-bound DJ and faith healer (Thornton) subjected to the pressures of his priest best friend (Ruffalo). The New York Times called the film “moving, funny and surreal” while hailing him as “excellent” in Cholodenko’s “generous, nearly note-perfect” picture.