Mark Ruffalo ‘did 500 push-ups a day’ while filming I Know This Much Is True

Mark Ruffalo did a series of push-ups before most takes on the set of HBO miniseries I Know This Much Is True to help him get into the right mindset. The Avengers star lost 20 pounds (nine kilograms) to play the lean and wiry Dominick Birdsey for 17 w…

Mark Ruffalo did a series of push-ups before most takes on the set of HBO miniseries I Know This Much Is True to help him get into the right mindset.

The Avengers star lost 20 pounds (nine kilograms) to play the lean and wiry Dominick Birdsey for 17 weeks of the production, before putting on 30 pounds (13 kilograms) to play Dominick’s twin brother Thomas, who suffers from schizophrenia.

Director Derek Cianfrance suggested the actor to did push-ups before a scene to get into the mindset of the stressed and breathless Dominick, and the technique worked so well Ruffalo ended up doing around 500 per day.

“Mark is the kind of actor where he’ll do anything. So, he dropped to the ground, he did about 35 push-ups, he came up, and he did this phone call scene and… he was a little out of breath, you know?” Cianfrance recalled to The Wrap. “He was smoking these cigarettes and struggling for his breath a little bit, and his chest was puffed out, and I noticed the vein in his neck was engorged. We finished the scene and I was like, ‘Hey, let’s do another take. Can you do another 50 push-ups?’

“We shot for 17 weeks and I would have Mark do push-ups – he was doing probably 500 push-ups a day. All the time between takes, it was always our way to get Mark into the zone as Dominick.”

To make matters worse, the 52-year-old was also embarking on a 1,000 calorie-a-day diet, so he was always “hangry” – hungry and angry – on set.

“I guess you could say he was always a little bit hangry,” Cianfrance quipped. “He was eating an egg white for breakfast and just starving. And he couldn’t eat for another three hours, and all he could eat then was a granola bar that had 120 calories or something, because he was on this strict diet. It created this guy Dominick who was just wiry and aggressive.”

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Mark Ruffalo struggled with yo-yo dieting for new HBO show

Mark Ruffalo struggled with having to lose and gain weight to play twin brothers in his new HBO show I Know This Much is True.The Spotlight actor plays a mentally ill man called Thomas Birdsey as well as his identical twin Dominick in the six-part mini…

Mark Ruffalo struggled with having to lose and gain weight to play twin brothers in his new HBO show I Know This Much is True.

The Spotlight actor plays a mentally ill man called Thomas Birdsey as well as his identical twin Dominick in the six-part miniseries which is based on Wally Lamb’s bestselling 1998 novel.

Ruffalo lost 20 pounds (nine kilograms) to play Dominick only to have to pile on more than 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) to play Thomas, who suffers from schizophrenia.

However, after thinking about the long-term effects the yo-yo dieting would have on his health, the Avengers: Endgame star decided to undertake the weight gain in a more sensible way.

“I gained and lost weight. I could have put on 30lbs, but because I am 53 trying to lose it again would probably take me the rest of my life!” he revealed during a video appearance on The Graham Norton Show. “Instead, I lost 20lbs to play one brother and then, when that was finished, I put on 30lbs. I went in both directions so there was a greater disparity and it was more healthy for me.”

And Ruffalo ruled out playing identical twins in the future, as the experience was too stressful.

“It was insane and I don’t know that I would do it again because it was such a massive undertaking. I went completely grey in the year I was working on it,” the two-time Oscar nominee laughed.

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Mark Ruffalo ate ‘bowls and bowls of oatmeal’ to gain weight for new TV role

Mark Ruffalo piled on the pounds for his new role in TV series I Know This Much Is True by eating “bowls and bowls of oatmeal”.The Avengers actor stars as twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the new HBO miniseries, written and directed by Blue…

Mark Ruffalo piled on the pounds for his new role in TV series I Know This Much Is True by eating “bowls and bowls of oatmeal”.

The Avengers actor stars as twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the new HBO miniseries, written and directed by Blue Valentine filmmaker Derek Cianfrance, and was required to gain weight to play the latter part.

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Ruffalo revealed that he tried to convince Cianfrance to let him use a fatsuit but instead he adopted a carb-heavy diet to help him gain two stone (12.7 kilograms) in the space of five weeks.

“I kept trying to get Derek to change the plan. I told him, ‘You can get really good fat suits now,'” the 52-year-old explained. “The strategy was just to eat a bunch of carbs – lots of pasta, bread, doughnuts, ice cream – all the stuff that makes me really puffy.”

However, the diet gave Ruffalo serious heartburn and indigestion so he ended up eating “bowls and bowls” of oatmeal because it was the only food that didn’t cause such a reaction.

“I got heartburn from almost everything. I had to sleep sitting up because I had such bad indigestion. In the end, all I could really keep down was oatmeal. So, I’d eat bowls and bowls of oatmeal, with butter, maple syrup, and heavy cream,” he shared. “I felt like a foie gras goose.”

I Know This Much Is True premiered in the U.S. on Sunday.

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Mark Ruffalo had to force-feed himself to gain weight for TV show

Mark Ruffalo had to force feed himself in order to gain 30 pounds (13 kilograms) for his new HBO show, I Know This Much Is True.The actor plays the dual role of twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the upcoming drama series, which is based on the novel…

Mark Ruffalo had to force feed himself in order to gain 30 pounds (13 kilograms) for his new HBO show, I Know This Much Is True.

The actor plays the dual role of twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the upcoming drama series, which is based on the novel of the same name by author Wally Lamb.

It follows the brothers at different stages in their lives as they deal with the problems stemming from Thomas’s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, and Dominick’s grief over the death of his child.

Ruffalo was tasked with gaining weight for the role of Thomas to portray the side effects of the “stabilisers and antipsychotics” he has to take in order to control his condition, and the Avengers: Endgame star has now claimed putting on the extra pounds was a lonely existence.

“When you’re force-feeding yourself, some of the romance of food leaves,” he said during an appearance at an event for the Television Critics’ Association. “Those five weeks were kind of lonely, I’d been away from my family and (Thomas) hears voices, and I was imagining that life and there was a couple weeks where I was just staying by myself, going down into the heart of this mental illness and studying it.”

And the Ruffalo felt a lot of pressure when taking on both roles, and confessed he was afraid to try and depict Thomas’s mental illness.

“I was really afraid to play it, I think it’s a really an important issue and I want to tell it as honestly as possible, the responsibility of playing it was really apparent to me,” the 52-year-old explained.

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