Ruffalo Struggled With Grief Throughout Directorial Debut

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June 6, 2011 | 9:50pm EST

Movie star Mark Ruffalo insists he struggled more than most to make his directorial debut – because he was still grieving the loss of his brother.
The Kids Are All Right star signed on to direct and star in the adaptation of disabled pal Christopher Thornton’s screenplay Sympathy For Delicious in a bid to beat the blues, and he admits the hectic 23-day shoot was cathartic for him.

Ruffalo tells Black Book magazine, “When I started making the film I was in the deepest pit of grief and pain. I was really mourning, and I said to myself, ‘How can I possibly turn a total f**king s**t situation into something else?’ The only thing I knew to do with all my unresolved anger and sadness was to shove it into the work, and try to make something meaningful.

“I would go into my trailer every day, wanting to crawl into a little ball, and then someone would be like, ‘Boss, they’re ready for you on set.’ I’d be lying there, like, ‘F**k, how am I going to face this day?’

“Acting, whether it’s theater or filmmaking, has always been a really healthy way for me to work out my dark, dark s**t… My only other option was to slip into deep despair and depression, which I was headed for. If you’ll notice, I dedicated the movie to my brother.”

Ruffalo’s sibling, Scott, was shot dead in December, 2008.