This is a bad time to bring anything up about poor Mark Ruffalo given his brother’s recent shooting tragedy, but I’ve been thinking about how strong (i.e., unforced, uncomplicated) he is in What Doesn’t Kill You and also that post from an HE reader a day or two ago that he should play Marlon Brando in a biopic. If — I say if — a Brando biopic were to happen, who better could fill the role?

Marlon Brando, Mark Ruffalo

I already know the story and the theme. The film would be about Brando’s decline into self-disgust and Hollywood cynicism, or how his career went from the high-toned quality streak of the early to mid ’50s — The Men, Streetcar, Viva Zapata, The Wild One, Julius Ceasar and On The Waterfront — into rank or less distinguished big-money Hollywood pics like The Egyptian (which Brando refused to do), Desiree (awful), Guys and Dolls (tolerable but that’s all), Teahouse of the August Moon (shallow), etc.

The sad tale would end with his last attempt at artistic self-definition in a take-charge, master-of-his-own-fate mode — i.e., the direction of the moody psychological western One-Eyed Jacks. Brando’s career went into a gradual decline mode for 13 years straight after Jacks came out and was mostly seen as something of a disappointment (even though its reputation today is sterling), only to revive again with The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris.