Mark Ruffalo’s Struggle with Thriller Dance in ’13 Going On 30′

Can you believe that “13 Going on 30”, an exemplary romantic comedy, would reach the two-decade landmark in April 2024? Interestingly, actor Mark Ruffalo, who appears stiff while showcasing his dance moves in the iconic “Thriller” sequence, wasn’t so enthusiastic about the dance element in this unforgettable Jennifer Garner film. The real question that arises is why did the “Poor Things” actor and indispensable member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost opt out of this venture? Let’s delve into further details.

The ‘Thriller’ Sequence from 13 Going on 30

You surely haven’t forgotten one of the most legendary dance sequences of the 2000s, famously known as the “Thriller” sequence from “13 Going on 30”. In case you need a refresher, this sequence is sparked when the lead character Jenna Rink, played by Jennifer Garner, after wishing herself into a 30-year-old’s body and landing a dream job, decides to liven up a rather mundane party. She starts dancing to Michael Jackson’s acclaimed track, soon infusing her infectious energy into the whole cast, including Mark Ruffalo’s character, Matty Flamhaff. Although Matty initially joins in, he doesn’t stay for long…

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Setting this context, let’s explore why Ruffalo wasn’t quite impressed with this sequence.

Mark Ruffalo’s Disinclination Towards the Thriller Sequence

In March 2022, during an interview with ReelBlend co-host Kevin McCarthy, Ruffalo admitted that he wasn’t really fond of the dancing sequence. He shared on Kevin’s Twitter that he struggled with the dance steps and did not enjoy his time on the dance floor.

Whatever Matty was experiencing in that was just me. [Jennifer Garner] had to drag me out onto the dancefloor. It took me six hours to learn what she learned in about six minutes, she was so good at dancing and I was so bad. … I almost quit the movie because of it.

Jennifer Garner, who was present alongside Ruffalo during the interview for their Netflix original movie, “The Adam Project”, reflected on the incident.

We had to talk him into staying. We had done all of this rehearsing and we finally rehearsed the dance and was like ‘This isn’t for me, I’m not doing it.’

Thankfully, Mark Ruffalo persisted and his performance proved instrumental in catapulting “13 Going on 30” among the best friends-to-lovers romantic films.

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Jennifer Garner’s Tease About It After Two Decades

In February 2024, during the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, Jennifer Garner playfully teased Ruffalo about his initial reluctance to perform the “Thriller” dance. In her speech that praised Ruffalo’s significant acting skills and values as an individual, she also took a humorous jab at her former co-star.

I wonder if these esteemed ladies enjoyed Mark’s anxiety as much as I did. I wonder if he tried to drop out of their films, like he did out of ours after the first rehearsal of the ‘Thriller’ dance where Mark went from kind of shocked that we actually had to do this, to antsy, to deathly quiet, to ‘Bro, this is not for me.’

Following the event, they even recreated this iconic dance in front of Ruffalo’s newly unveiled Hollywood star. He did seem more comfortable showing his dance moves this time.

So, if you wish to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce the electrifying dance sequence or comprehend why this film remains a classic, you can do so with a Netflix subscription where the film is currently available for streaming.

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Wrapping Up

From reluctant dancers to legendary performances, “13 Going on 30” has truly withstood the test of time, captivating audiences with its unique narrative and memorable dance sequence. Visit HitPlay to view this film and more.