Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dave's Open Letter to Jeremy Renner's Career

By Dave Beauchene

Dear Jeremy Renner,

You have to abandon the Bourne Identity offshoot series, and you have to do it QUICK. Come to that, ignore any calls from anyone who comes offering a replacement star role in an action franchise gone past its third film. That awesome rise to fame you sustained with total likability a couple years ago? Get ready to experience the reverse, unless you follow what I’m suggesting here. Yes, you have a central role in The Avengers, which is bound to be a massive hit, but review for me how many of your costars have had their own or costarred in a previous Marvel film? The number is, all of them. You are the fat of that franchise, set to reap the fewest rewards and greatest losses. It was still a smart role to take, by my limited insight, but my point is it’s not going to change where the other thing is sending you, which even in my limited insight seems fairly obvious.

Yes: The Bourne series was hugely successful, but the chances that it will go on to mirror the Bond series by continuing that kind of relevance and success … are slim. And the studios know that. And they still have a very bankable franchise. And in Hollywood those things have to be beaten to commercial death before they’re abandoned. So they’re going to push it, tactfully as they know how, but still. The star who road in on them is getting out, continuing to other fresh, A list material, and you’re coming in to help keep the series on life support. Hey! I know that guy: he was in that Locker movie, and the Avengers (as, what, Hawkeye, or something?) is what they hope audiences will respond with. And The Bourne Legacy will come out, and it will be OK, and make OK money, and the next rising star will turn up, and Matt Damon will coin the new relevant motion picture, and you’ll sign a contract for two more Bournes.

This trap seems blindingly apparent especially when you consider that they tried phasing you into the exact same thing with Mission Impossible. This one was different, because they wanted the Tom Cruise factor, while at once preparing for the star’s total marginalization. They wanted it to look like The Next Mission Impossible movie, and not a shoddy attempt at stringing it on (like, ya know, that other spy franchise is doing). This way, if it did mediocre, they could phase into you as the star, and trim Cruise as confirmed spoiled goods, without being obvious about it (like, ya know, that other spy franchise is doing).  

Ghost Protocol was the most successful Mission Impossible film to date. Nobody’s talking about Tom Cruise’s outbursts anymore. You hung off the movie like the screenwriter stapled your photo to the pages. They’re not handing this off to you, just like they’re not giving you the Bourne series with any real ambition for it, and I’m going to tell you why. This is going to sound mean and, most of all, arrogant (I sure as hell don’t have your success; who the hell am I to issue you hurtful opinions?) but it’s the truth as plainly I can see it, as someone who’s been way into movies for a long, long time, and I say it despite the fact that I truly have no problem with you whatsoever as an audience member: You are not an action star. 

I'm an ACTOR!
That’s what they’re trying to do with you, because you gained a lot of popularity offHurt Locker, and you seem like kind of a tough, cool sort of guy, but an actor like you is not custom made for a continuous line of high profile starring roles, because we, the audience, don’t know exactly how to identify you. Regardless, you have been exalted to the temporary A list, and they’re trying to do A list things with you. Sort of. The real danger here, which is masked by the fact that misplaced, meteoric stardom is still probably better than just waiting around for another fitting, purposeful role while the iron cools, is there’s at least a mystique to tending a cooled iron. There’s no mystique to that guy who was suddenly in a bunch of semi-memorable stuff, in un-memorable ways, then just went away. That looks stale, to everyone; audiences and casting directors alike. That’s how you wind up in Cuba Gooding territory.  

But how about this? How about that Academy Award nominee we could never quite pin, shows up in a movie that looks different, every now and then – who does not seem aware of his sitting on cooled iron at all, but actually seems to be pursuing roles we want to figure out. That’s how you turn an out of the blue Academy Award nomination, into a consistent contender for the award. I’ll also be honest in saying I’m not personally wild about your screen presence, but you seem to know what you’re doing, and I’m sure lots and lots of people are still interested. Mark my words: looking creepily like Matt Damon in the franchise he abandoned, is the way to lose them. I wish you the best, sir, whether I’m interested in watching you in it or not. 

Your Buddy,
Dave B


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