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Spotlight: Mark Ruffalo on the art of not being boring

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Kerry Hayes/Courtesy Everett Collection

This year alone, Mark Ruffalo has played a green-skinned behemoth in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a manic-depressive dad in Infinitely Polar Bear, and a Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter in Spotlight. But for all his many and varied roles, his mantra is the same: “Don’t be boring. Don’t make boring acting.”

Ruffalo revealed his approach during a conversation about Spotlight with EW’s own Jessica Shaw for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation on Monday. In the film, he plays Michael Rezendes, one of the Boston Globe journalists who a decades-long sex-abuse scandal in the local Catholic Church.

Talking about the benefits and challenges of portraying a real person, Ruffalo said, “You want to get it right, but at the same time you want the performance to be thrilling. You want it to feel alive and spontaneous, and so you have to do all that work. You hear it all the time: Do the work and then throw it away, and then sort of fly by the seat of your pants. … What I’m trying to do is not be boring. To bring that guy to life but not feel like it’s just an imitation.”

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Ruffalo also talked about what drew him to the role and how he researched it, what it was like working with a top-shelf ensemble (including Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Stanley Tucci), which scene in Spotlight he found the most challenging, and how he chooses such diverse roles.

On that last topic, he returned to the B-word. “I get bored of stuff quickly, especially myself,” Ruffalo said with a laugh. “Which is why I’m an actor, probably.”

Spotlight is in theaters now. Watch Ruffalo’s interview above. Footage provided by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.