What Mark Ruffalo And Joaquin Phoenix's Time As Roommates Was Really Like

Actors Mark Ruffalo and Joaquin Phoenix got as close as they could be during the filming of 2007's "Reservation Road." The famous duo lived together during production, and while they might have played adversaries on screen, their real-life connection blossomed into a lasting friendship. The drama revolves around Ethan, played by Phoenix, and Dwight (Ruffalo), with the narrative unfolding after Dwight accidentally kills Ethan's son in a hit-and-run incident. Rather than moving on, Ethan is determined to uncover the truth, while Dwight scrambles to conceal his culpability. 

The plot thickens when Ethan hires a lawyer, who turns out to be Dwight. Grappling with his conscience, Dwight isn't yet ready to come clean about what he's done, but Ethan gradually grows suspicious of him. Despite the movie's intense and emotional nature, Phoenix confirmed with Etalk that it didn't hinder his off-screen connection with Ruffalo. The Oscar winner explained that while he and Ruffalo had not known each other before filming, the limited number of scenes they shared helped prevent any negative energy from developing between them. Additionally, their time as roommates surely played a role in their budding bromance.

Ruffalo had plenty of good things to say about Phoenix

Mark Ruffalo, best known for being a Marvel star with the massive net worth that comes with it, shared his positive experience crashing at Joaquin Phoenix's house during a 2023 appearance on "Hot Ones." Ruffalo reminisced with host Sean Evans, "The place [was] clean, all the dishes were washed, [and] he's got a great sense of humor," adding, "He was a great roommate." In addition to being just a nice person overall, the "13 Going on 30" star revealed that Phoenix was incredibly considerate, always checking in via text when he was out to see if his buddy needed anything.

In a 2015 interview with W magazine, Ruffalo recalled how Phoenix suggested they live together while filming "Reservation Road." The actor explained, "He had a house there, and I was looking for a place, and he said, 'I have this place; [it] has like four bedrooms. I'm in here with my assistant. Do you wanna just take the upstairs?" Ruffalo happily agreed, and the experience ended up far exceeding his expectations. 

From exploring vegan cuisine to witnessing Phoenix's relentless work ethic, Ruffalo soon fell head over heels for his co-star. While Ruffalo was enjoying Phoenix's presence, the famously dedicated actor was immersing himself in his "Reservation Road" role, albeit in a typically nonconventional way. As Phoneix admitted to Etalk, he hadn't done any research beforehand but he was used to going through extreme emotions while filming.

Studies show you can sense if you'll click with your roommate from the start

After filming on "Reservation Road" wrapped, Mark Ruffalo and Joaquin Phoenix remained close friends, with Ruffalo even referring to Phoenix as his Hollywood crush in his conversation with W magazine. Notably, the trend of celebrities sharing living spaces extends far beyond Ruffalo and Phoenix. Longtime pals and collaborators Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were roommates at the onset of their respective careers, supporting each other as they ascended the Hollywood ranks. Similarly, Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas enjoyed a memorable period as roommates and have also sustained a steadfast friendship.

According to a 1984 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a person can discern early on whether they'll develop a long-term liking for their roommate. Subsequent studies, such as one featured in the Review of Psychology three decades later, reinforced these findings, emphasizing the impact of attitudes, personality traits, and lifestyle habits on how a person feels about their housemate. 

Given Phoenix's captivating personality and cleanliness, it's surprising that Ruffalo ever even moved out of his co-star's house. Harlan Cohen, the author of "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College," gave his insights on the topic of cohabitation during a chat with Vox, asserting that the most favorable outcome is discovering a lifelong friend in a roommate. Alternatively, Cohen noted, "You can benefit from figuring out how to get comfortable with an uncomfortable situation."