“I Was Rejected 600 Times Before I Booked A Role”

ruffalo He has been The Hulk in The Avengers, a memory eraser in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and a multitude of other roles in fan favourites like Shutter Island, Zodiac, Collateral, and many others. Like most celebrities Mark Ruffalo has faced continuous rejection. He persevered, and ended up working opposite industry favourite actors, in some of Hollywood’s biggest films.  Ruffalo’s perseverance alone was not what kept him in the game and coming back for more auditions – apparently his mother told him that he ‘…couldn’t do anything else” and “if I tried to quit she wouldn’t speak to me again.”
‘It’s been mythologized now but it started with about 600 auditions without success,’ he said about his long slog to stardom. ‘Most smart people would have quit when it takes that long.’
A key part of being an actor is managing rejection. It’s all about being professional, not taking the rejection personally, and moving on quickly to prepare for your next opportunity. There is nothing gained by feeling terrible over spilled milk, or a botched audition. Keep moving forward, and you never know what can happen – you may just pull a Mark Ruffalo. Some other actors who had more than their fair share of rejection: Jon Hamm: Don Draper anyone?  This star of the hit TV series “Mad Men” didn’t catch a break through all of his 20’s.  He was rejected for role after role because he ‘looked to old to play young roles, but was too young to play old roles.’  He kept auditioning, but lived by waiting tables in Hollywood.  At 29, he finally got his first role on a TV show called ‘Providence’.  After that, it only took him six more years to book the lead on “Mad Men”. Marilyn Monroe:  This iconic star was told early on in her modeling career that she would be better suited as a secretary.  One of her first jobs to make ends meet was to inspect parachutes during the Second World War. Harrison Ford:  This man has played some of the most famous roles in history.  But when he first started, studio execs told him he didn’t “…have what it takes to be a star.”  George Lucas gave him his big break, a supporting role in the film “American Graffiti” in 1973, which lead to such iconic roles as Han Solo & Indiana Jones. Jim Carrey:  This funny man was famously homeless in his early life.  He dropped out of high school to work on his comedy act, but struggled until he moved to LA in 1979.  But his big break didn’t come until 1988, when he finally booked a role as an alien in “Earth Girls Are Easy”.  While most people don’t remember this film, it introduced Jim to Damon Wayans, who recruited him for the cast of “In Living Color”, which would act as his jump-off point into super stardom. Alan Rickman:  One of the coolest bad guys in the biz, Alan Rickman didn’t get his first break until he was 36.  Having faced years of rejection after attending the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he finally got a role that got him noticed.  He went on to become the first bad guy in the original “Die Hard”,  The bloodthirstySheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, and the deviousProfessor Snape in “Harry Potter”. Harvey Keitel: This actor auditioned 8 years in a row for the prestigious “Actors Studio”.  Every year he went back, and wasn’t accepted.  Finally, they gave the persistent actor a chance.  Now, he’s on the board, and has a resume with such titles as “Resevoir Dogs”, “Bad Liutenant” & “Pulp Fiction”.    

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Mark Ruffalo On Casting Rejection

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