Mark Ruffalo On Casting Rejection: “I Was Rejected 600 Times Before I Booked A Role”


Photo from Mark Ruffalo Wikipedia.

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 loads more.

Like many 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.

There are 9 comments

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  1. Mark Irvingsen

    How can you use Mark Ruffalo as a subject when he would never do a casting director work shop in a million years? Smart actors will avoid those things that paint them as supplicants – groveling for a crumb – and will embrace the things that empower and enrich them.
    Workshops are not that (no matter how much workshop smoke is blown up your ass to convince you otherwise) and should never be a part of any actor’s plan.

    • Jakob

      What in the world are you talking about?

      First of all, workshops/classes are about improving yourself. If you’re not interested in honing your craft and making connections, you’re in the wrong line of work. For you to say that workshops only make actors “supplicant” is misinformed, stupid, arrogant, or some combination of the three.

      Secondly, you said Ruffalo never did workshops. You make no sense. Your whole post is basically: “Why like Ruffalo’s story when he never did workshops? Workshops suck!” Go home, you’re drunk.

  2. Donald L. Vasicek

    The essence of success is to fail. See: Michael Jordan, one of the greatest, if not the greatest basketball player of all time:

    “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
    I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been
    trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
    I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.
    That is why I succeed.
    -Michael Jordan

  3. Jennifer Erickson

    Thank you so much for this. I can never get too many reminders of the power of resiliency. Much appreciated.

  4. Julie Hanna

    This was so helpful for me to read as I often feel as if I should perhaps take the “hint” from rejection and put my energy elsewhere. But I LOVE ACTING so I am refreshed by stories such as Mark’s

  5. TJ

    Don’t think of casting workshops as a right of passage for actors. They’re a recent phenomenon (within the last 10 years more or less). In fact, when they first became popular most people questioned their integrity and saw them as “paid auditions”. They’re not necessary to succeed in this business but can help you expand your network.

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