In Kill the Messenger, which opens on Friday, Jeremy Renner plays embattled journalist Gary Webb, an investigative reporter who, in the mid-’90s, unearthed a shocking U.S. government conspiracy that reached back to the Reagan-era White House. In a plot that would later be outlined in Webb’s 1998 book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, the CIA had turned a blind eye to the crack-cocaine epidemic that gripped many American inner cities. Because those drug sales were funding a secret war in which the Reagan-era White House armed Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
Jeremy Renner might not be planning on a Hawkeye solo movie, but that doesn’t mean he’s not entertaining spin-off possibilities. In a snapshot posted to WhoSay from the Age of Ultron set, Renner accessorizes his Hawkeye costume with an eerily lifelike mask of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character. #iftheyhadababy #widow #hawkeye.” While the effect of seeing ScarJo’s face on Renner’s ripped body is undoubtedly creepy, it does leave us wondering: Was Renner just goofing around? Or was he preparing to stunt double for a then-pregnant Johansson? On-set cosplay aside, Renner (who just confirmed a secret marriage to Sonni Pacheco, the mother of his 17-month-old daughter Ava) said in a recent interview that he doesn’t anticipate having an Avengers spin-off to himself — though he wouldn’t be opposed to making an appearance in, say, the next Captain America movie.
In the past two years, we’ve seen Jeremy Renner as a big-haired politico ( American Hustle), a fairy-tale assassin (Hansel & Gretel: With Hunters), and a bow-slinging superhero (The Avengers). But in this fall’s Kill the Messenger — the trailer for which you can watch above — Renner returns to the kind of costume-free drama that’s helped him earn two Academy Award nominations. Based on the 2006 book of the same name by Nick Schou, Messenger tracks the true story of Gary Webb, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist who, in the mid-1990s, exposed connections between the CIA-supported Nicaraguan contras and the crack-cocaine epidemic in the United States. Webb’s reporting was attacked by critics — not to mention some of his own colleagues — and resulted in death threats and depression.
Has there ever been a career resurgence quite like the one Joaquin Phoenix is having? When he “retired” from acting, ostensibly to focus on rap music, and then made a bizarre pseudo-documentary about it, many in Hollywood felt that Phoenix could never recover from such an off-putting public display. He earned a Best Actor nomination for his unforgettably nervy characterization in 2013’s “The Master,” and he showed his sensitive side in last year’s Oscar-winning “Her.” And he’s looking to keep his string of critical successes going with a dark and charming turn in the upcoming “The Immigrant.” Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard plays the lead role of Ewa, a Polish woman who arrives at Ellis Island in 1921 with her ill sister (played by Angela Sarafyan) who is not allowed into the country. Bruno forces Ewa into selling herself in hopes of earning enough to free her sister, but a charming stage magician (played by Jeremy Renner) offers a glimmer of hope for a better life.
Look, it’s the new recruits of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Yes, we are pumped for the return of the superhero ensemble in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but it’s the addition of the brother-sister duo, Scarlet Witch (above) and Quicksilver (below), that’s inspiring even more geek-outs. Sibling rivalry — and sibling bickering — is right up writer-director Joss Whedon’s alley, and all the better that it will be embodied by such fan-approved thespians as Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver looks especially, well, “Kick-Ass” as the super-speedy superhero, sporting athletic gear recalling the color scheme of the more stylized outfit worn by his comic book counterpart. Plus that’s Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye next to Scarlet Witch as they do battle with the forces of the villainous sentient robot Ultron (James Spader).
There were a lot of stellar casts last year, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one with such illustrious star-power as the ensemble in “American Hustle .” You certainly won’t find one with more Oscar noms. David O’Russell’s disco-age caper earned nominations in all four acting categories — Christian Bale for Best Actor, Amy Adams for Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, and Bradley Cooper for Best Supporting Actor. And to be honest with you, Jeremy Renner could have been the biggest snub on Oscar nomination day.