One of the actors famed for his versatility is Mark Ruffalo, who is best known for playing Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other parts he has played include a sperm donor in the comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right and a gay writer and activist in The Normal Heart, among others.

Like Dwayne Johnson, Dave Bautista, and John Cena, the actor who plays the Hulk is respected and applauded for his great acting abilities and is also regarded as the most likable man in the business. However, he chose to pursue acting instead of becoming a professional wrestler. Learn more about Ruffalo’s grappling now.

Also read: “I had a dream that I had a brain tumor”: How a Nightmare Saved Mark Ruffalo’s Life

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner

Mark Ruffalo says lessons learned while wrestling help him in acting

Actor Mark Ruffalo is the son of a state wrestling champion and has competed in junior high and high school in Wisconsin and Virginia. According to reports, he was good at the sport and had plans to continue the same in college too, until he discovered acting.

During an interview with USA Today, the actor said that it was not easy for the actor to wrestle, as he said,

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo says lessons he learnt while wrestling has helped him in acting

“You have to prove yourself. So, that became my first hurdle. Once I did that, the community really opened up to me. It did have a profound effect on me and it was something I could do without having to pay hundreds of dollars for equipment. Something that came very natural. Then I became a fan of Olympic wrestling since it’s what American wrestlers ended up going into until MMA came along.”

Mark Ruffalo added that many of the qualities that he had learned while he used to wrestle became deeply needed for the job he has, which is to play different characters on-screen. He added that according to him, that learning has helped him a lot during the years he struggled with that determination and perseverance.

Also read: “F*ck you, Mark”: Mark Ruffalo Refused to a Part of Avengers’ “Inside Game” as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Others Tried to Bond

Mark Ruffalo played Olympic wrestler, the late Dave Schultz in Foxcatcher 

The actor discovered his love for acting in his senior year in college and participated in a production of West Side Story and was very good at his job, which never made him think or look like wanting to wrestle. According to reports, the actor who struggled throughout his life financially was given an opportunity as a scholarship in wrestling but the actor was determined to follow his calling, which was acting.

Mark Ruffalo was lucky to land the role of the late Dave Schultz, an Olympic wrestler in Foxcatcher, and talking about taking on the role, he said,

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo played the role of real-life wrestler Dave Schultz

“I had to relearn everything because he predominantly led with his left, so that was the most frustrating thing, trying to relearn what I thought I already knew. I started training with these guys; it’s a tight-knit group of people. Honor and respect come from your accomplishments in the wrestling world and Dave Schultz is one of their beloved wrestlers, so there’s a lot of caution and pride around him. You have to prove yourself. So that became my first hurdle. Once I did that, the community really opened up to me.”

The actor continued that the group had a sense of decency and righteousness and were incredibly disciplined and all leaders in their fields. He also noted that the close-knit group loved the sport.

Also read: Robert Downey Jr, Cobie Smulders and Scarlett Johansson Wanted Mark Ruffalo to Have His “d*ck out” Without His Permission

Mark Ruffalo on why he agreed to play Dave Schultz

The former wrestler shared via Backstage that the reason why he agreed to do Foxcatcher is that he had never seen any sport represented in a movie the way he knew it to be. He said,

“Wrestling is hard. It looks like it’s easy, but it’s hard. It’s really hard. It was almost harder for me because I had to unlearn everything that I already knew, and that was really frustrating. Plus, Dave was 33 and at the height of his athletic powers, when I was deeply waning in mine. Any imagination I had about myself as an athletically adept young man was quickly discredited and debauched in the first two weeks.”

Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum
Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher

He revealed that training with Channing Tatum, who played Mark Schultz, helped him, adding, “The difficulty of the wrestling and Bennett’s kind of exacting and very penetrating style of really digging into people pushed Channing and I into places where we were mostly just hanging out there, completely vulnerable. And that really [made me] look at Channing as my brother in a very real way.”

In his USA Today interview he concluded that even though the movie has a tragic outcome, what is evident is the beauty of the sport, the commitment of the athletes, and the quality of the athletes. The movie received critical acclaim for the lead actors, the direction, and the movie’s visual style and tone.

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