Why Mark Ruffalo Nearly Quit One of His Most Iconic Film Roles
Mark Ruffalo was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Thursday. The ceremony saw a number of Ruffalo’s friends and co-stars make speeches honoring the actor. One person who made an extended appearance was Jennifer Garner, who starred with Ruffalo in the classic 2004 comedy 13 Going on 30. She revealed (via People) that Ruffalo nearly quit the film over a dance his character was to perform to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Garner stars in the film as the adult version of a teenager who wishes to be grown. Ruffalo plays the grown-up version of her childhood best friend. The dance sequence comes about midway into the movie, when Garner is tasked with rescuing a dull office party. She recruits Ruffalo and the rest of the cast to reenact the choreography from Jackson’s 1983 single, juicing the party and saving the day.
— Anonymous Galore ? (@AnonymousGalore) February 9, 2024
Addressing Ruffalo’s fellow former co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Keira Knightley, and Jennifer Anniston (who were not in attendance Thursday), Garner asked, “I wonder if these esteemed ladies enjoyed Mark’s anxiety as much as I did? I wonder if he tried to drop out of their films, like he did out of ours after the first rehearsal of the ‘Thriller’ dance.”
Garner explained her co-star’s process of accepting his role in the admittedly corny sequence. “Mark went from kind of shocked that we actually had to do this, to antsy, to deathly quiet, to ‘Bro, this is not for me,’” she recalled with a laugh.
Ruffalo’s performance in the film is beloved amongst his fans. It’s also the one which launched the actor from indie roles to rom-com leads and, eventually, Marvel stardom. Ruffalo is nominated this year for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Poor Things.
Despite his initial displeasure with having to appear in the dance break, Ruffalo seems to have nothing but appreciation for the film now. During his Walk of Fame ceremony on Thursday, he repeatedly prompted Garner to reenact their famous dance for photographers.
Simplesmente Mark Ruffalo e Jennifer Garner fazendo a coreografia de “Thriller” em referência ao clássico “De Repente 30”, durante a inauguração da estrela do ator na Calçada da Fama ?pic.twitter.com/h3dAwKdK1J
— PAN (@forumpandlr) February 8, 2024
Mi stacco un attimo dal mondo sanremese per contemplare Jennifer Garner e Mark Ruffalo che ballano thriller come in 30 anni in un secondo veramente io sono debole pic.twitter.com/NNrdWhueol
— Malcontenta (@Malcontenta1) February 9, 2024
Garner has spoken about Ruffalo almost quitting the film before, most notably to theSkimm in 2021. “Our first rehearsal, I think it was Mark and [co-star] Judy [Greer] and me, and Judy and I were both dancers growing up and poor Mark didn’t know that,” she explained. “And he came in and he hated the rehearsal process so much he almost dropped out.”
People reported that Ruffalo weighed in on coverage of theSkimm interview when they shared it to Instagram. “It didn’t help that it took me three hours to learn what Jen mastered in about 20 minutes!” he wrote in the comments.
Garner still has a great deal of love and respect for Ruffalo, as evidenced by her speech at Thursday’s ceremony. “To work with you, Mark, is to love you. I don’t care what anyone says,” she joked.