Before They Were Stars: Mark Ruffalo in an Unsold TV Pilot

It’s time once again to do the traditional round of “Before They Were Stars” clips for this year’s Academy Award nominees. Mark Ruffalo has garnered his third career Oscar nomination for his memorable portrayal of journalist Mike Rezendes in Spotlight. Ruffalo’s first major role was on a 1989 pilot for a TV show called American Nuclear, which chronicled the wacky chaos which ensues when a New York columnist and a mayoral aide decide to get married and blend their two families together. The 21-year old Ruffalo played one of the kids in the family, but American Nuclear never made it past the pilot stage. Thankfully, there was an anthology series called CBS Summer Playhouse whose episodes consisted of nothing more than unsold TV pilots, so Ruffalo’s performance did make the airwaves. It’s also interesting to note that future Academy Award winner Adrien Brody was originally cast in Ruffalo’s role before he was replaced.

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