Neurotic funnyman Ben Stiller is replacing rumpled sadsack Mark Ruffalo in Squid and the Whale auteur Noah Baumbach's next feature, Greenberg. Maybe because of the tragic and, um, nutty death of Ruffalo's brother this week.
Hairdresser Scott Ruffalo was mortally wounded on Friday, with a gunshot to the head. He was taken off of life support on Monday. A friend of his, the daughter of a wealthy Saudi businessman, was held for questioning in what police were then calling an execution-style murder, but later released. She claimed that Scott had a nasty habit of playing Russian roulette while hopped up on goofballs, and the game had finally caught up with him. Russian roulette being, for those of you who have never shrieked "ditty MAO!" at your friends and captives, a game in which you put one bullet in the barrel of a revolver and keep putting the gun to your head and pulling the trigger. Whoever gets the bullet, well... well, he loses.
It's a crazy weird story and no one, of course, blames Ruffalo for backing off of a movie or press or any other businessy type thing, but Ben Stiller? Ugh. I mean, he's shown some dramatic chops in flicks like Permanent Midnight and Along Came Polly (that's a joke), but Baumbach movies are such finely-tuned little Swiss clocks of aching, terrible precision. For that reason, sloppy old Jack Black didn't really work in Margot at the Wedding (not that same time that Rachel got married, bee tee dubs), and I don't think Stiller's typical broad strokes will be a good fit either. Ah well.
Pretty crazy though, huh? Russian f'ing roulette.