February 10, 2012

The Jeremy Renner Thing

The story of the Hollywood superstar who enjoys a meteoric rise from small timer to big leaguer is a timeless one. We all love to hear about how you started in a small indie, got noticed, and now are headlining one of the most anticipated new franchises of the year.

Wait, this post isn't about The Hunger Games. Damn it, Jennifer Lawrence! Get out of my head!

No, today we'll be talking about the guy who, up until two years ago, was a relative nobody. Then he headlines an Oscar winner, gets two nominations in a row, but it isn't until now that the craziness begins. Now, he's poised to take over two of the most popular action franchises currently going, and is an integral part of another. 

Did you guess who it is?

Could just turn off the swagger? Please?

That's right. Mr. Jeremy Renner. 

Now, I personally adore Mr. Renner. I think he brings a unique intensity and humanity to his roles, even if the person he is playing is real bastard; call me crazy, but when he was gunned down in The Town, a silent tear was shed. And he's pretty smart about what he does, nicely balancing out the heavy hitting action with poignant drama. 

Or, at least, he was. 

He was first noticed SWAT, a mediocre movie, to be sure, but he stood out a shining spot, playing a compelling villain. Then came the unappreciated 28 Weeks Later..., followed by a stint in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In both of those, his displayed the skill and commitment that would be soon be seen the world over. 

Then he opened The Hurt Locker, and everything changed. Now everyone wanted him and his steely cool demeanor. He picked up his second Oscar nom for The Town, which brings us to today. 

Renner has two big summer movies locked and loaded. The first is The Bourne Legacy, whose trailer dropped on Wednesday. It's his first lead role in a full on action thriller, but he looks poised to impress. That will probably only make a small ripple compared the tidal wave that The Avengers will cause. And yes, he isn't one of the main four in that, but he is still getting plenty of screen time (if the trailers are to be believed), and it looks like he will be doing the coolest things. Beating people with a red and blue shield or a magic hammer is awesome, but badass archery is way more awesome. 

And let's not forget that he stood shoulder to shoulder with Tom Cruise this past Christmas in the best Mission Impossible movie ever, and looks ready to take over that franchise as well. 

So, with Bourne, Mission Impossible, The Avengers, and, let's be honest with ourselves, the eventual Hawkeye movie, Mr. Renner is going to be very busy over the next few years. 

And this worries me. Mr. Renner is a gifted actor, and one of the brightest new sources of talent that we have seen in awhile. And I'm afraid he's going down the wrong road. Like it or not, with a resume like that, Mr. Renner is fast becoming one of the most typecast actors in the biz. Even more so when you realize that he was playing these types of roles before he was noticed. Have you seen 28 Weeks Later...? He kicks all kinds of ass in that one. 

This isn't the path my Ouija Board said I'd be going on!

And, hey. If he performs them well, then great. I sure would love to see a new Eastwood or McQueen on the block; an action star who headlines vehicles more interested in character and script than explosions. But those guys also did dramas, and the odd comedy (I think), and Mr. Renner has charm, wit, and emotion, in addition to muscles and a chiseled jaw. 

I think I'm getting away from the point here. Here's what I'm trying to say. I really hope that Mr. Renner does not fall victim to what befalls so many promising young actors; being typecast into the same role over and over again, and losing your touch on the others. He's far better than that. 

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