Sparks fly as Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner talk about revisiting their past | Inquirer Entertainment
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Sparks fly as Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner talk about revisiting their past

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:30 AM March 08, 2022

Jennifer Garner (right) with Walker Scobell

Time travel is probably more science fiction than science fact for most people these days. But Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, who play Ryan Reynolds’ parents, Louis and Ellie Reed, respectively, in the Netflix movie “The Adam Project,” think it could already be within man’s grasp.

In a roundtable interview for “The Adam Project” that we attended last week, we talked to Mark, who is best known for playing Hulk in “The Avengers” movies as much as for turning in award-worthy performances in films and TV series like “Spotlight” and “I Know This Much is True,” and Jennifer, who’s just as well-loved for her kick-ass portrayal of a CIA spy in “Alias”—as much about their past as their reunion project.

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“The idea of time travel is amazing,” the 54-year-old Mark quipped. “We’re all completely enthralled with it! You can’t have enough time-travel movies. And who knows? I mean, when we start looking at quantum physics, it seems to suggest that it’s happening already.”

Beside Mark, Jennifer, who’s 49, quickly interjected, “It’s such a cool [narrative] device for a movie. But there’s no reason to believe that this is not absolutely possible. Why not?

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“And it’s such a wish-fulfillment kind of thing to go back in time or go forward in time to fix something, perhaps to revisit a painful moment and resolve it in real time. It’s such a strong wish because the idea of it is beautiful.”

The duo first teamed up 18 years ago in the blockbuster film “13 Going on 30” which, like “The Adam Project,” toys with the idea of “reconfiguring” time.

Garner (left) as Ellie and Mark Ruffalo as Louis

“The Adam Project” follows Captain Adam Reed (Ryan) as he travels from 2050 to 2022 and teams up with his asthmatic 12-year-old bullied self (Walker Scobell) to correct an injustice that his future wife Laura (Zoe Saldaña) sacrificed her life to bring to light.

But as the adult Adam would soon find out, coming to terms with his past is as hard as holding those who killed some of his loved ones to account. But how can he save the future without causing catastrophic reconfiguration of history?

Yes, Ryan, Walker, Mark and Jennifer would like to right some wrongs without resorting to, ehem, historical revisionism—a big no-no, even in a sci-fi flick! Very timely, isn’t it, dear readers?

Be that as it may, what is impossible to “revise” is how charming Mark and Jennifer are—individually or together, or onscreen and off. As crystal clear then as it is almost two decades later, their scorching, palpable chemistry is still hard to look away from.

We would have been happy just listening to them banter or basking in the heartwarming sparks that flew between them all throughout the interview.

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Zoe Saldaña as Laura

Jennifer would pick up her phone and take photos of Mark as he answered questions, then Mark would do the same when it was Jen’s turn to address hers. It was like watching a feel-good rom-com happening right before our very eyes, but far away from the klieg lights of Tinseltown! We get “kilig” even as we write this piece. But we’re digressing.

‘Grown in the best way’

When we asked Mark and Jennifer how much the other has changed since their last film, Jen looked at us and said, “How much has Mark changed? (Looks at Mark, who was seated to her left) Gosh. I don’t feel like you changed so much. You have deepened…”

Mark looked at Jen and added, “I’ve gotten older…” She then turned to us and said, “Yeah, we’ve both gotten older!”

Turning to Jen, Mark said, “And you have deepened … and grown in the best way.”

And just as we were cozying up for the next question, Mark interjected, “And she’s become more beautiful than ever.”

“Aww, come on, Mark…!,” Jen said with a warm and grateful smile, looking a little embarrassed. To which, Mark replied, “Yep. Hard to believe, but it’s true (chuckles).”

Back to the film, Mark pointed out why he thought it was special, “In its kind of ’70s, ’80s or Amblin tradition, it has this kind of fantastic, high-concept story that is grounded in deep, emotional truths … along with the other things that are exciting about it.

“It has all this action and humor. But at the end of the day, it’s anchored on the relationships between parent and child, or the parents’ relationship. And then, there’s how we connect to the past and how we see it [in relation to what we’ve become as adults]. In this case, it’s how the past becomes the present.”

But there’s more to the movie than its relatable themes, Jennifer stressed—it’s lead actors. She explained, “My favorite aspect of the film is the fun exchanges between Walker Scobell and Ryan Reynolds. I think they’re two peas in a pod!

Ryan Reynolds (left) and Scobell play old and young versions of their character, Adam Reed

“Walker is the absolute perfect person to play the young Ryan (laughs)—and, as you can see in the movie, they’re incredible together. And then add Mark into the mix … and it’s even more wonderful!”

As we have noted earlier, both Jennifer and Mark are best remembered for their award-winning turns onscreen—she’s a Golden Globe winner and a four-time Emmy nominee; he’s an Emmy and Golden Globe winner and a three-time Oscar nominee.

But their followers also adore them for projects with unabashedly commercial appeal, particularly those that, like “The Adam Project,” tamper with the concept of time.

Another chance

If they’re given a chance to hopscotch through time to right some wrongs in the past, which period in time would they like to go back to?

Mark had a quick reply. He recalled, “I’d go back to the time when my brother and I stole a piece of penny candy from a drugstore. We were very young then. He was about 7 years old, and I was 8. And I came home and told my grandmother that he had done this … and she called the police! And worse, they took him away!”

Jen looked at Mark with horror in her eyes, exclaiming, “Oh, my God…!”

“Yeah. I was totally traumatized!” Mark admitted. “I mean, it was literally a piece of candy that was worth a penny and they took him away for that. And I saw them walking him down [to the police car] … and I was sobbing!”

Ruffalo

Jen said, “Oh, Mark! The lesson is, do not…”

Cutting Jen off, Mark finished her sentence, “Do not tell on your brother (laughs)! Do not do it. I mean, he never forgot it, by the way. It was awful!”

“Of course it was!” Jen replied, still sounding horrified. “After all, he was taken by the police!”

Relaxing, Mark then looked at us with a wistful smile and said, “So, that’s my answer to your question—one of them at least. Nothing good can come out of that … although it probably kept him from growing up a bank robber (laughs), I dunno. Yeah, I would change that … definitely.” INQ

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