Jeremy Renner is an Oscar-nominated actor who has appeared in movies such as The Hurt Locker and The Town, but he is probably going to be known as Hawkeye, the arrow-slinging Avenger, for the rest of his days. And for good reason. Ever since his debut in Thor, he’s been a huge part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is one of the most beloved entertainment fixtures in the pop culture landscape. Yet, as it turns out, he could have played another famed comic book character, albeit a very different one, as revealed in a recent interview.
Jeremy Renner, speaking with Justin Long on his podcast Life is Short, revealed that he actually had the chance to play Hellboy in Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comics. “I was just reading the script and [thinking] like, ‘I don’t get this…’ I just couldn’t connect to it,” Renner said. “I said, ‘I can’t find a way in [to this character], I don’t know what I’d be doing,’ so I had to say no.”
Fascinating as that is on its own, Jeremy Renner went on to explain that he has absolutely no regrets over turning down the role of Big Red. “There’s zero regrets, zero. Most of the time it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m glad I didn’t do it,’ and it made sense to me. Not just Hellboy or whatever it was, and I’m not saying that it’s a good or bad movie, it’s not about that. I just wouldn’t have fit there.” Renner said.
Hellboy starred Ron Perlman in the titular role, who would go on to reprise the part in del Toro’s 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. That movie has really gained something of a following over the years, despite being, at best, a modest success at the box office at the time of its release. Del Toro, now an Oscar-winning director, tried for years to get his version of Hellboy 3 made before Lionsgate decided to go the reboot route.
That gave us this year’s Hellboy, which starred Stranger Things favorite David Harbour has the character. Needless to say, things didn’t go so well, as the Neil Marshall directed, R-rated reboot was trashed by critics upon arrival and absolutely bombed at the box office. So it’s back to the drawing board on that one, as Harbour recently confirmed, unsurprisingly, that we won’t be getting a sequel.
Things worked out just fine for Renner. Hawkeye has been a huge fixture of the MCU ever since The Avengers arrived in 2012. Since then, the MCU, as a whole, has grossed a grand total of more than $21 billion at the global box office. Renner, for his part, was a major player in this year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is now the second highest-grossing movie of all time. Renner explained in the same interview that the character of Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, made sense with him in a way Hellboy simply didn’t.
“When they showed me my character, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s great, it’s just a guy with no superpower — he’s just got a high skill set,’” Renner said. “I can actually attach to that. I’d have passed on [the role of] Thor all day long — not that I’d ever be cast in that — but like, that kind of thing I’d be like, ‘I don’t know how to do that, I’m sorry.’”
As for when we’ll see Hawkeye next? It’s a little unclear, though, there are reports that Clint is going to get his own Disney+ series which will see him possibly taking the younger, female version of Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, under his wing.
So what do you think? Would Jeremy Renner have made a good Hellboy? Are things better off the way they turned out? Sound off in the comments!