Jeremy Renner Turned Down A Role In Guillermo Del Toro's 'Hellboy'

Before he was the one "useless" superhero in Marvel's The AvengersJeremy Renner could have played another belittled character in another superhero movie. The Avengers: Endgame actor revealed that he had turned down a major role in Guillermo del Toro's first Hellboy movie, and that he has "zero regrets" over it. But no, it wasn't Hellboy.

In an interview with fellow actor Justin Long on the "Life is Short" podcast (via Entertainment Weekly), Renner revealed that he turned down a major role in 2004's Hellboy, which starred Ron Perlman as the title character. But Perlman wouldn't have had to worry about Renner taking his job, despite what's being widely reported. del Toro, who had long fought to cast Perlman in the role that would finally give him a leading role, clarified that Renner was up for the role of Agent John Myers, the B.P.R.D. agent that was ultimately played by Rupert Evans.

Agent Myers was the human in-point to the fantastical world of Hellboy, an audience stand-in whose basic purpose was to react to the demons, fish men, and fire-controlling girls around him. The character of Agent Myers was originally positioned as a romantic competitor for Liz's (Selma Blair) affections. But it was a role that Renner couldn't connect with, despite there being "a lot of money" on the table, he said:

"I was just reading the script and [thinking] like, 'I don't get this...' I just couldn't connect to it. 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."

Renner said that he had "zero regrets" on rejecting the role — and was actually on the money for doing so, as the role was so secondary to the plot that he ended up disappearing from Hellboy II: The Golden Army altogether. "Most of the time it's like, 'Oh, I'm glad I didn't do it,' and it made sense to me," Renner added. "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."

In 2004, Renner was still stuck playing loose-cannon military characters, so it would have been a different take from Evans' more uptight take for sure. But perhaps he's not wrong he wouldn't have fit in — Renner's roles have often been more grounded, gritty types, and he may not have gelled with del Toro's lavish world. But it all worked out for Renner — he found a character he connected with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Hawkeye and he didn't have to take on yet another role that would be cut from a franchise.