Mark Ruffalo Reveals How Woody Harrelson Hypnotized Him On The Now You See Me Set
When I met Mark Ruffalo on the set on Now You See Me last April, it was only a matter of weeks before he would blow everyone away as The Hulk and Bruce Banner in The Avengers, a movie that marked a major transition for the actor previously known for indie dramas and comedies like You Can Count On Me and The Kids Are All Right. Sitting down with Ruffalo on one of the higher floors of 5 Pointz, the iconic graffiti hub in Long Island City, New York, it was tough not to ask Avengers questions-- and of course, it's a little embarrassing a year later to look back and see all these sly questions about a movie nobody had yet seen.
Lucky for us, Ruffalo was on point in sharing what he could about Now You See Me, a heist film about a group of four magicians-- played by Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher-- whose most fantastic trick involves robbing banks and sharing the profits with their audiences. As an FBI agent, Ruffalo is dispatched to catch the thieves in the act, and teams up with an Interpol agent played by Melanie Laurent to get the job done. But when you're hunting down magicians they're bound to always be a few steps ahead, and Ruffalo spends most of the film behind themÖ until the scene he shot that night in Queens, perhaps.
For more on what I saw on the set of Now You See Me you can catch up with the full set report, and read below for Ruffalo's confessions of magician envy, his delight in taking part in a big action film (that didn't require a motion-capture suit), and how he made changes to the story alongside director Louis Leterrier.
What was it about this project that made you sign on and get involved?
Um ó Jesse Eisenberg.† I read it and I thought it was a really fun thing.† Itís something Iíd never done.† I got to do some action stuff in it and I thought it was really kind of a clever script.† It had a clever twist in it.† And I just thought it would be one of those movies that is just a fun ride.
Do you have magician envy?
Iím a little bummed out that I donít get to do any tricks, but I got something up my sleeve.
You used to work in a bar as a bartender.† Did you see a lot of guys pulling magic tricks on women and stuff?
Magicians, just a general note, donít get laid.† I hate to say that.†
Do you think David Copperfield got his ass kicked as a kid?
I donít know, but heís not doing so badly right now I donít think.†
If youíre a really good magician, I would imagine you couldÖ
You know, we were at a party once and thereís these street magicians that Iíve seen perform.† David Blaine, I was at a party and he was doing some stuff and I thought my wife was gonna run off with him.† And then Keith Barry whoís one of our consultants on this, whoís actually Woody Harrelsonís consultant whoís a great hypnotist and a great street magician, could be very, very seductive as well.†
￼ Is that a Dave Franco-inflicted wound you have on your cheek there?
This is a Dave Franco special.† He whipped a card at me.†
A couple of them.
A couple of them, yeah.†
Youíve played a police officer before, but whatís different about Dylan?
Heís kind of a rogue, heís kind of mangy and a little sassy.† Most of the cops Iíve played are pretty straightforward cops.† Heís much more kind of an outsider, you know?† They call it a street agent, you know.† Thereís desk agents and street agents basically in the FBI.† Heís kind of unorthodox and he loves being on the street and heís tough and he doesnít shave, he doesnít really follow the rules.† Heís something of a lummox.† Heís always screwing things up, but does it with a lot of authority.† ††
And the relationship with Melanie, is there a chemistry between the two of them or is this strictly a professional thing?
No, thereís definitely something happening there, but he would like to keep it professional, but itís outside of his control in that way.†
You said you wanted to do this because of action and youíve got a big action movie coming out with The Avengers.† Is this really different from that?
Well, a lot of the action stuff that I did on Avengers was on green screen or CGI at ILM in a suit and a lot of it was ó I was playing with smaller things, you know?† People were smaller so I didnít get to really interact with them.†
You didnít get to punch someone?
No.† I got to mess Loki up, but it was actually just a foam roller.†
Now about this movie, we heard that you might have been hypnotized and perhaps that thereís a word that someone could say to you and you would either bark or you would do something.† Is this actually true or is it a made-up rumor on the set?
Woody got very proficient at hypnotizing people and we were out one night and I donít know if something was dropped in my drink or Woody actually hypnotized me, but something did happen to me.† I donít want to talk about it much.† †
Does Melanie know the word?
Iím not telling you the word!† No, no, no.† It wasnít a word.† It was, I wouldnít be able to remember the number three.†
An actor usually wants to play somebody somewhat empathetic on screen.† In a movie like this, and it seems society in general, you want those people to get away with it.† We want the people that youíre chasing, while we know societal-wise they should get caught, we want them to get away.† What is that syndrome that we have?
Well, when itís sort of done in a way that you get to know the people. But this has a Robin Hood flair to it and right now thereís definitely a populist sort of view of the world that, you know, people are being taken advantage of and the big people are taking advantage of them, and so the idea of taking from the rich and giving to the poor seems to resonate quite a bit right now, and thatís always been a great story.† We like that story.† Thereís a great quote, ďBehind every great fortune, thereís a great crimeĒ and so this kind of turns that on its head.† I donít know why, but, you know, filmmaking could direct you to have sympathy for people that you normally, as a society, wouldnít have sympathy for.† †
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