Jeremy Renner’s profile in Hollywood has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years. Ever since the 41-year-old actor made a splash as a reckless bomb diffuser in 2008’s The Hurt Locker, he went from struggling working actor to in-demand superstar almost overnight, garnering roles in high-profile films like The Town, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Avengers, and The Bourne Legacy, which opens this weekend.
In a recent interview with the L.A. Times Hero Complex blog, Renner seemed to get a little testy and passive aggressive when the subject of his role as Hawkeye in The Avengers came up:
HC: In “Avengers,” you sort of get to play both sides. What was that like?
JR: At the end of the day, 90% of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. I’m literally in there for two minutes, and then all of a sudden… All I could really work on was the physical part of it all, because that didn’t change. That was just the biggest challenge to overcome in playing the guy. Also, we’re pretty much introducing a new superhero character to everyone in a movie where there’s a thousand superheroes. So there’s not a lot of back story or understanding we can really tell about who Clint Barton is, or Hawkeye, and is he working for SHIELD or not. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, even for me. And I was OK with that. At least I was still in the movie. And I was glad for that. The closest thing I could really link to was Scarlett [Johansson's] character, Black Widow, because they have a history. And that definitely plays in the movie, I think. And obviously, you can’t go into too much just because there’s so much story to tell, but you definitely get a sense that they’re connected, and that there’s something really, really important that ties them together. And I could try to summarize it, but it can go a lot of places. That excites me, though, that there’s room for other things.”
On one hand, I can kind of understand Renner’s frustration. Avengers is a nearly flawless film, with terrific character development and dynamics, but there’s no question Renner’s Hawkeye was short-changed in that department. On the other hand, I can’t blame Joss Whedon at all, because he had the Herculean task of balancing all if the egos in that enormous cast, and did a remarkable job. While I would’ve loved to have known more about Hawkeye’s character and seen him interact with the other team members, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to sacrifice any of the amazing battles or moments we got in the final cut.
Look, Jer, it could’ve been much worse. They could’ve had you wear this: