Mark Ruffalo may have been present at the Javits Center in New York on Saturday night for the New York Comic Con panel about ‘The Avengers,’ but it’s likely his thoughts were downtown with the growing number of protestors at Occupy Wall Street. Not only has Ruffalo been vocal with his support, but he even visited protestors at Zuccotti Park last week after the park owners, Brookfield Properties, planned an evacuation of the site; Ruffalo helped them clean Zuccotti Park up, despite an evacuation order that never came. Says the Oscar-nominated star of the movement in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal: “It’s closer to the true direct democracy than probably anything before its time.”

In the profile of Ruffalo, the ‘Avengers’ star — who will play The Hulk in Joss Whedon’s superhero supergroup mash-up next summer, the third star after Eric Bana and Edward Norton to do so in recent years — found out about the protests online. “Honestly, I think in some way I was waiting for it to happen. I expected it to happen,” he said.

Ruffalo was initially worried about Occupy Wall Street having a hidden agenda, but he hasn’t found one. “I spent a lot of time understanding the structure of it, trying to figure out if there was a hierarchy, if there was one particular group, if it had a real political bent or if it had an agenda that was self-serving.” According to the star, it’s not. Instead, it’s an extension of the change that started with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

“Honestly, I see hope,” Ruffalo said to the Journal. “The one metric that we forget is, we have to ask ourselves partially, who put Obama into the White House? That was a major coup for our country, that was the first African-American to be put in the White House, and he was put in the White House on a promise of change. A lot of his campaign promises were striking very much at the center of what I think this movement is about.”

Strong political statements and moviemaking don’t often mix — some viewers still won’t see films featuring outspoken liberal Sean Penn, for instance — but it’s doubtful Ruffalo’s comments will affect the ‘Avengers’ bottom line upon release next May. After all, Morgan Freeman called the Tea Party “racist” in an interview with Piers Morgan last month on the day ‘Dolphin Tale’ was released, and that film has still grossed an impressive $ 58.6 million to date.

For more on Ruffalo, check out his profile in the Wall Street Journal.

[via WSJ]

[Photo: Mike Disciullo/]

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