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In Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters, based on the true story of the 2016 New York Times article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” Mark Ruffalo steps into the shoes of attorney Robert Bilott as he uncovers the dark secrets and history of pollution by chemical company DuPont.
Ruffalo and director Haynes sat down with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio to discuss bringing Bilott’s story to the big screen, and why the film is arriving at the right time. “There’s an urgency to a movie like this coming out when it is,” Haynes said.
“Sometimes a movie lands in the world at the right moment, we’re having a particular conversation that’s appropriate to that movie. And it feels like this is one of those times,” Ruffalo added.
Haynes and Ruffalo had the chance to meet with Bilott in Cincinnati, and as Ruffalo tells In Studio, “Rob is a hero.”
“I keep saying this, but he’s not a hero because we want to be him. He’s a hero because we don’t. How many people turn their backs on the money, the career, the prestige in American culture today to do something that’s right and really selfless and really pay a price for mostly your health, what you lost with your family. And there’s another kind of hero that wears their strength on the inside. And that’s this guy. We need heroes today.”
Ruffalo, who stars as The Hulk in the Marvel Universe, adds that the reason why audiences have fallen in love with the superheroes of the film franchise is “because they want to see a world that’s just. They want to see people are fighting for the little guy and on behalf of the little guy. And this is a little guy fighting on behalf of other little guys.”
He continued: “The great thing about the movie is it exposes something that isn’t just Teflon, isn’t just PFOA. It’s a whole system. Whether you’re talking about opioids, whether you’re talking about lead, whether you’re talking about Monsanto and glyphosates. The whole thing has been set up in a way to allow these businesses to get away with this.”
Dark Waters is in theaters now.
Watch more in the video above.
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