Turns out, he just didn’t really get the movie.
In a recent interview on the podcast Life is Short, Jeremy Renner revealed that, long before he decided to jump on board with a character whose primary trait is “arrows”, he had a chance to play a character in another comic book movie: Agent Myers in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy, not to be confused with the new one.
“I was just reading the script and [thinking] like, ‘I don’t get this…’ I just couldn’t connect to it,” the actor explained. “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.”
In the film, Agent Myers is played by Rupert Evans. While it was initially reported that Renner turned down the title role in Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro took to Twitter to confirm that wasn’t the case.
Not the title role. The role of Agent Myers... which went to Rupert Evans. https://t.co/ogmYceZdU3
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) July 5, 2019
When asked if Renner regretted the choice, he was decisive. “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.”
Not working on a movie that doesn’t make sense to you seems like a good policy, most of the time. Though, famously, Sean Connery turned down Fellowship of the Ring for that very reason, proving it’s maybe not a fool-proof policy.
Also, Hawkeye stans: I kid. Clint Barton has at least two other traits. Quivers, for one.