I have a friend who looks exactly like Jeremy Renner.
At my cousin’s wedding, I met the best man, who is from Austria. And I kid you not, the guy is a dead ringer for the Oscar-nominated star of “The Town”. The irony is that neither he nor his wife even knew who Renner is. True story.
But that is not why I like the fella (Renner, not the best man, though he’s a lovely chap). Besides being a very good actor, Renner has a kind of likable everyman quality that can be shaped and channeled in any direction. He’s played a lot of tough guy roles, but I believe Renner can easily have a varied Tom Hanks-type career. For now, Universal Pictures wants him for the rugged, intense military man quality he’s displayed in films like “The Hurt Locker” and “28 Weeks Later”.
According to Deadline, Renner has just been confirmed as the star of “The Bourne Legacy”. Now, before you jump at this news, know that he will not be in the role of Jason Bourne as played by Matt Damon in the trilogy of (very good) films. Rather, Renner is a completely different character. The title refers to the infamous training program that Damon’s Bourne volunteered for, which replaces the person’s identity with a templated and very deadly new one. Renner’s character will be yet another operative who goes through a new training program even more dangerous than Bourne’s Project Treadstone.
The new film is meant to be an expansion of the universe established in previous films. In essence, it’s a semi-reboot — one that maintains past story and character threads. The producers are calling it a spinoff instead. Tony Gilroy is set to direct from a script he co-wrote.
While I am not so crazy about seeing anything Bourne without Matt Damon (who declined to return without director Paul Greengrass’ involvement), I really like this casting. The covert operatives of the Bourne universe have always been positioned as the anti-Bond, so Renner fits right into that non-glamourous, no-nonsense mould. Other shortlisted contenders for the role include Garrett Hedlund (“Tron: Legacy”), Joel Edgerton (“Animal Kingdom”) and Dominic Cooper (“Mamma Mia!”). Edgerton would’ve been a great choice too, but I’m glad they went with Renner. Maybe after this, even my friend the best man will know who Renner is.