(This is account of a press conference Richard hosted during the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival for the film What Doesn’t Kill You. On the panel was Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, director Brian Goodman and Amanda Peet)
Mark Ruffalo met Brian Goodman – a coke addict and reformed convict turned actor – nine years ago when the two were working on an independent film. Goodman handed Ruffalo a script, with the working title Real Men Cry, about his life in south Boston as a damaged boy, and then a damaged man, who against all odds manages to get his act together. At a press conference that was a rare treat for both journos and actors because of the heartfelt questions, Ruffalo broke down and shed a few tears, explaining how harrowing it was bringing his friend to life onscreen, in a film since renamed What Doesn’t Kill You, also starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Peet.
“Why it’s so moving to me is there is a young boy in south Boston who doesn’t have a chance – for economic reasons, education, luck. He has something to offer to the world but has no avenue to get to it. To know Brian like I do, and the human being underneath … to tell that story today is just a huge responsibility.
“There were moments where I was completely bowled over by the pain … the immense pain of waking up in a crack house. And the shame. Because these people are human beings under this terrible, debilitating, cunning, brutal disease.”
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