Mark Ruffalo nearly pulled out of movie SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS after his brother was shot dead in December 2008 - but decided instead to complete the film in tribute to his late sibling.
Ruffalo's brother Scott was found outside his home in Beverly Hills, California with a gunshot wound to the head and died in hospital a week later after he was taken off life support.
The actor/film-maker was devastated after the tragedy and immediately pulled out of preproduction for Sympathy for Delicious, his directorial debut.
But he pushed himself to continue with the project in honour of his brother and his paraplegic friend Christopher Thornton, who wrote and stars in the drama about a paralysed DJ.
He tells the Hollywood Reporter, "It remains to me a devastating experience. I immediately dropped out of the movie. And (producer) Andrea Sperling said, 'We'll suspend the preproduction. Why don't you take some time off, get your head together? You're in a bad place. I totally understand and respect whatever choice you make.'
"I try to make meaning of this and turn it into something that was a tribute to him. To dedicate my grief to him and his memory. So I decided to take a couple months off and then make this movie. There were a lot of people counting on me, so I just pushed into the work. And then I had to pay for it afterwards."
And he insists it was Thornton who inspired him to direct the movie in the first place, adding, "I've known my friend Chris for 22 years - 16 years ago, he had a climbing accident and ended up in a (wheel) chair. I directed him in two plays and it meant a lot to me that he get a chance, you know? Someone so talented kinda cut down like that? He was pitching me a lot of ideas and I said, 'Dude, that's the one you have to write.' It's been 10 years, at least a hundred drafts and seven years knocking on doors."