Now You See Me
When you meet someone for the first time, you might expect them to say, "Nice to meet you," and ask what you do. Maybe they'll even be legitimately interested in making a new connection. Or maybe, before you even get the chance to tell them one single thing about yourself, they'll confess to you that their only cause for excitement is the fact that you remind them of someone else.
"Hang on—you look like that guy! From The Avengers!"
"Oh, you know who I'm talking about, he's great, he's in, um—"
Inevitably, I have to tell them who they're telling me I look like.
"Ruffalo. Mark Ruffalo."
"Yeah! Him. Do you ever get that?"
"Yeah. I get that. A lot."
And I have for a long time. I would say my resemblance to Mark Ruffalo tends to elicit a reaction not unlike the one The Mole's mole inspires in the third Austin Powers movie.
How It Started
One cool autumn night a few years ago, I ran into an old friend at Don Hill's, the storied Tribeca nightclub that—happily for my health, but sadly for New York City kids looking to have fun—has since closed down. After giving her a hug, I noticed the Polaroid camera dangling from her neck.
"I'm doing street casting for an agency these days," she explained. "Mind if I take your photo to keep on file?"
Why not, right? I smiled, she took a couple of photos, and we parted ways.
So began my careers—as a failed would-be male model and a successful would-be Mark Ruffalo.
Every few months, I'd get a call from the agency asking me to come in to discuss potential inclusion in one commercial or another. I'd show up only to find myself surrounded by a gaggle of young male models, all so familiar with each other that it felt like they'd just snuck out of school together to go from one super-fun casting to another. Never felt so old and left out in my life. From the moment I would walk into the office, it was clear I would not be landing the gig.
That is, until the time the agency told me they were looking for a "Mark Ruffalo type" for a whisky ad. I knew right then, with complete confidence, that I was going to get the job. So, while it can be frustrating constantly discovering that people only seem happy to meet me because they associate me with someone else, there are certainly perks to be had when that someone is Mark Ruffalo.
I was right about the whisky ad. I landed the job and got a nice little paycheck (though I don't know if the ad ever saw the light of day). I do sometimes feel like I owe a percentage to Mark, but we aren't in touch. Yet. I think he's handsome and talented, and I have no problem being told I look like a handsome and talented guy. He's also a passionate feminist and environmentalist, so I'm pretty convinced I'd like him.
The whole thing has honestly made me feel quite connected to him. If I see a trailer for a new Mark Ruffalo movie, I find myself really rooting for it to do well. And each time Zodiac comes on TV, my girlfriend will say, "Oh, you're great in this one!" I'll agree, and we'll both kind of mean it.
It's clear to me now that I need to meet the man. Though I know I'll be risking a Back to the Future II-esque fate, I'm willing to chance it. At the very least, we'll be able to get our picture taken together. Maybe then we can send it off to the lab for a closer analysis of just how similar our face structures are. For now, I'll just have to settle for raising a glass every time Shutter Island or Now You See Me find their way on to HBO.