Celebrity

Mark Ruffalo: The Sexiest Smartypants in Hollywood




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Frequently, when Mark Ruffalo makes the news, it’s usually for doing something awesome. This week is no exception. The actor—known for his roles in The Avengers, Shutter Island, and Zodiac—drafted a personal statement to address an anti-choice rally in Mississippi, where the state’s been working to close every women’s health center that provides abortions. In it, he discloses the illegal abortion his mother had when she was young—which was “shameful and sleazy and demeaning”—and hopes his daughters will never have to face a similar fate. It’s one thing that he’s starred in one of our favorite guilty pleasures, 13 Going on 30 (you guys, it’s a really good movie!), but now he’s an outspoken women’s rights supporter as well? He also seems to live an admirable existence on a farm in upstate New York, where he has a woodworking shop, is obsessed with gardening, and adores his three children and wife Sunrise, whom he met pre-stardom. Here are five reasons this dude makes us swoon.

 

 

He’s bringing a much-needed liberal male perspective to reproductive rights.

When men like Todd Akin—who suggested that rape is less likely to cause pregnancyare often in the press, Ruffalo’s outspokenness is particularly influential. By openly discussing a personal family “secret,” he’s helping to de-stigmatize a still-taboo topic. His entire statement is great, but his reasons for supporting the cause might b e our favorite parts: “[b]ecause I actually trust the women I know. I trust them with their choices, I trust them with their bodies and I trust them with their children. I trust that they are decent enough and wise enough and worthy enough to carry the right of abortion and not be forced to criminally exercise that right at the risk of death or jail time.”

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He’s an environmentalist.

Ruffalo has long been vocal about ecological issues, particularly government fracking—a process used to retrieve oil from the ground that has detrimental effects on surrounding areas and communities. Earning a spot as one of Time’s 2011 “People Who Mattered” because of his activism, Ruffalo is clear about the personal stake he has in this issue: The land where he lives is a fracking target. As a response, he cofounded the nonprofit Water Defense and recently co-wrote this piece for HuffPo about ways folks can fight fracking.

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His movies feature smart, well-rounded female characters played by some of Hollywood’s coolest women.

 He’s been on a roll since 2000’s poignant You Can Count on Me, when he starred as Laura Linney’s brother. And in 2010, he got an Academy nod for his supporting part in The Kids Are All Right, which stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a couple—a rare film that passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.

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He supports gay rights.

Speaking of The Kids Are All Right, Ruffalo has long voiced his pro-marriage-equality stance. In 2011, he and Sunrise made a video about equal rights for the Human Rights Campaign. In an interview with the Advocate, he had this to say about it: “I’ve seen the human face of the issue, I’ve seen the pain gay couples are going through, so it was important for me to add my voice to the fight.”

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He uses acting to be an activist.

While many Hollywood types turn nonprofits into press ops and are content to quietly make charitable donations for tax breaks, Ruffalo believes being part of political movements is tantamount to his work. “My belief is that actors are artists and we do have a responsibility to the culture and to the people we are making movies about and to a certain level of honesty,” he told Salon earlier this year. “I was one of a few people who was vocally and publicly against the Iraq War—but no one gave a shit because I was an indie actor.” Now, as Hulk in The Avengers, Ruffalo stars in one of the highest-grossing movie franchises in Hollywood history. Which means he’s only getting more influential—and more dreamy.

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