The star of The Kids Are All Right on David Fincher, Best of the Left, and his favorite social networking sites.
Whether as Stan the pothead scientist in Eternal Sunshine, or Terry the deadbeat brother in You Can Count on Me, Mark Ruffalo has always radiated a down-to-earth relatability. (We'll see whether that trend continues in his upcoming role as The Incredible Hulk in Avengers). This month, he's acting alongside Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as an organic farmer and sperm donor turned father of two in The Kids Are All Right. We sat down with Mark and let him expound on his love for David Fincher, bands from Montreal, and the democratizing power of Facebook and Twitter.
The Social Network
I like a lot of classics: anything that Sidney Lumet or Elia Kazan directed, or Bertolucci. I still think they’re some of the all-time great filmmakers. And then, of course, David Fincher: I love his films, and I love working with him. I’m looking forward to seeing The Social Network. I want to see what Fincher will do with something that's more of a drama, a sort of pop drama. Facebook is a phenomenon that's interesting to me, but really it's just that it’s coming from him. It’s something that I don’t think we’ve ever seen him do. I literally just got Facebook — you know have to join it to look at anything on it. I joined it for that purpose, but I’m kind of there incognito.
I’ve been a little bit active on Twitter, for political reasons. When I got on, it was during the 2009 election protests. That was unbelievable to watch; hearing those students, when government forces were pounding on their doors, or when they were running in the streets from the Basij. The only thing that was coming out of Iran was what people were Twittering. And I thought, for something that could be so vapid, it was a pretty powerful tool. Facebook is the same way. I look at them as two really democratizing tools. In some sense, everyone can have a voice. That’s really exciting.
Best of the Left
I love newspapers, but I cull from all different sources. There are two websites I’ve really been into — Best of the Left — which is a podcast, and then Daily Kos. And then for fluff — or, well not really, but it’s more of a guilty pleasure — the Huffington Post. I read the New York Times, and I love The Nation — I think it’s a really, really smart magazine and really extensive in its reporting. And Jon Stewart, who is, I hate to say it, one of our great reporters. It’s so tragic, so unbelievably tragic. That and Rolling Stone. When did Rolling Stone and Jon Stewart become our most hard-hitting political reporters?
I’ve been politically involved in the environmental cause in upstate New York right now. They’re doing this gas-extraction drilling, and everywhere they’ve done this, people’s wells have been poisoned. So there’s a big fight in upstate New York to slow it down, to put a moratorium on gas drilling until we can study this nascent technology. Basically, they pump out millions of gallons of water laced with thousands of gallons of this chemical formula — it has up to 590 chemicals in it, many of them carcinogenic. Halliburton — the people who came up with this technology — has been exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act. And people don’t really know about it. The movie Gasland came out and really illuminated it. It’s pretty scary stuff, right up there with BP in its potential for disaster.
There’s this whole Montreal scene in music. You have Arcade Fire, Besnard Lakes, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which has been around for a long time. Besnard Lakes kind of spun off from them. It’s a really interesting musical scene up there that I’ve spent some time with. I had Besnard Lakes score a movie I directed, Sympathy for Delicious, which was at Sundance with Josh Fox’s movie, Gasland. We both won the Jury Prizes there.
One of the designers who I wear a lot is Neil Barrett. I really like him, he’s really classy, and also you can kind of just throw the stuff on, throw it in your suitcase. It travels really well, it’s really well-made, and you wear his suits for years. I also really like 7 For All Mankind and Earnest Sewn jeans. But Levi's and Carhartts are what I normally just wear around the house — I live in upstate New York, I don’t generally wear my expensive jeans up there. They're not so hardy; I’d tear them.