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|June 7, 2001||
Is Manoj Night Shyamalan now counting on Mark Ruffalo?
Ruffalo, 32, star of last year’s medium-sized hit You Can Count On Me, may star in Shyamalan’s latest project, Signs. The $ 50 million film explores the mysterious appearance of crop circles in a Pennsylvania farm.
Two weeks ago, the Disney production was reportedly all out to grab superstar Mel Gibson for the lead role.
Gibson, who is currently acting in the Vietnam war drama We Were Soldiers Once... and Young, read the tightly-guarded Signs script three weeks ago.
Though Ruffalo is relatively new to films, several influential critics have compared his intense performance in You Can Count On Me to that of Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.
"He’s not a big name actor,” says Boxofficeguru.com editor Gitesh Pandya, about Ruffalo. "He’s an up-and-coming guy who won’t command a huge salary.”
Gibson gets about $20 million per picture. But given the medium-sized budget of Shyamlan’s films, there are rumours that Gibson could cut down his renumeration for back-end deals.
Ruffalo reportedly received $200,000 for playing a wayward brother who constantly gets into trouble in You Can Count On Me. It could double for Signs. The actor will also benefit by starring in a big name director’s film.
You Can Count On Me, made by Kenneth Lonergan, grossed about $10 million in the United States.
“This (Signs) could be the big film for him, and it’ll certainly be a stepping stone,” notes Pandya.
Ruffalo could become a household name if Signs turns out to be a huge hit, just like Shyamalan’s last two projects: Unbreakable and Sixth Sense. They have grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
The success of Sixth Sense, which was released two years ago, made the now 13-year-old Haley Joel Osment one of the top teen stars, who plays a robot in the upcoming Steven Spielberg-directed film, A I.
Ruffalo recently finished filming Rod Lurie’s The Castle for Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks. He will also star with Gwyneth Paltrow in A View From The Top, a Miramax film.
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