Tribute's Bonnie Laufer talks with actor Mark Ruffalo about starring opposite Meg Ryan in the erotic thriller In the Cut.

B.L. You have said that working on In The Cut was the premiere experience of your acting career, why?
M.R. It was the character work I got to do on it. It was so far from me and it's a real character and I think it's really subtly played. The amount of input I had creatively on the part and his dialogue. It was a very kind of all-inclusive experience and it was the most reminiscent to theater with the rehearsal process and background work and really digging into character work, which is the most exciting thing to me.

B.L. What's really cool about your character Malloy is that you really don't know where he is going. The first date that he goes on with Meg Ryan's character all I could think of was, you sure wouldn't be turning me on! Wow, what a prick! How did you feel about playing this guy?
M.R. I was thrilled. I mean you could get really politically correct about him but he's honest, you know. It isn't anything that I don't think anyone's thought, but the difference between thinking it and saying it is all the difference. The most exciting thing about him is that he doesn't care what people think about him. I want you, that's it. I don't want to marry you and he's honest and because he's honest there is something heroic about that even if it isn't exactly the way you want it to go down or what to hear.

B.L. How important was it to have a woman direct this film and how was Jane Campion?
M.R. What I really love about the film is how even handed she is with both men and women. They are all kind of dysfunctional and they are all really human and she has a really great handle on masculinity I think. It's odd because she's a woman yelling at me to be a man and I think that in the genre, I don't think there are many women who have made thrillers before. I think she pays out on the thriller but her visual sensibility is so beautiful inside the genre that her being a woman had to do with that.

B.L. Is it true she wanted to get you a Gigolo?
M.R. Yeah! (laughs) Jane is the type of director who wants to support her actor in every way and if your actor is suppose to be great at making love then goddamn it she is going to get you the best Gigolo out there, except they are $1,000.00 an hour and the production said no! So I got a book instead!

B.L. Working with Meg, how did she put you at ease and was it at all intimidating going up against Meg Ryan?
M.R. I never really thought that we were going up against each other...

B.L. Well you were... literally...
M.R. Only literally .. It was intimidating sure but once we started and if you are going to do a proper rehearsal and do the real work, all that shit sort of just fades away and just becomes about the work and that's what I'm about and that's what she's about so it became very comfortable. We were supporting each other the whole time because we were both over our heads a little bit.