The movie tells the story of a recently paralyzed disc jockey, "Delicious" Dean, struggling to find a way back to his former life of fame, which included drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. Delicious finds himself drawn to faith healing, and mysteriously gains the power to heal others but not himself.
Portions of the story mirror Thornton's experience of being a young actor and sometime-DJ; becoming paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a rock-climbing accident; and seeking out faith healers in an effort to get his former life back.
Ruffalo's breakthrough role was in "You Can Count on Me," and he went on to roles in such films as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
Thornton, paralyzed in 1992 at age 25, has earned acclaim for stage performances and screenwriting, and has numerous acting credits in series television.
"He is living an incredibly productive life," Prisand said. "He is a talented writer and actor, and that's what is really cool about this movie, which is Mark Ruffalo's directing debut."
Also in "Sympathy for Delicious" are Laura Linney, Orlando Bloom and Juliette Lewis. Ruffalo plays a role as a Jesuit priest who tries to help Delicious come to terms with the limits of his gift.