Just last week at CinemaCon, Paramount unveiled the full cast of Mission: Impossible 6, and while Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin and even Sean Harris would be returning to join Tom Cruise, there was one glaring omission — Jeremy Renner.
Renner played William Brandt in the last two spectacular spy sequels, and at one point it seemed like he was being groomed to take over the blockbuster franchise in lieu of Cruise’s fading star power and box office demise, both of which proved to be premature.
At the time, reports suggested that Renner was too busy reprising his role as Hawkeye in Avengers: Infinity War to come back and play Cruise’s crimefighting sidekick. But it seems that the Oscar-nominated star of The Hurt Locker has found time in his busy schedule to shoot another upcoming movie, the New Line comedy TAG with Ed Helms.
Based on a true story featured in the Wall Street Journal, the film follows a group of friends who spend one month each year (for the past 30 years) playing a no-holds-barred version of the children’s game Tag.
Renner hasn’t really done a big, broad comedy (unless you wish to count Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) since his movie debut in 1995’s Senior Trip, so this strikes me as a great opportunity to showcase a different side of himself as an actor and flex his comedy muscles.
Tracy Morgan had previously been in talks to co-star alongside Helms until a dreaded scheduling conflict reared its ugly head. Now it’s Helms’ fellow funnyman Hannibal Buress who is in negotiations to join the cast of Tag, which Jeff Tomsic will direct from a script by Mark Steilen and Rob McKittrick. Todd Garner is producing with Sean Robins and Steilen.
We’ll never know whether Renner’s schedule truly couldn’t accommodate Mission: Impossible 6 or whether his character has run its course in that franchise, but today’s news is more than welcome, as Renner always brings his trademark intensity to set. That’s why he has excelled in films such as The Hurt Locker, American Hustle and The Town.
Renner is coming off the Best Picture nominee Arrival, and he’ll soon be seen alongside his Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star Elizabeth Olsen in Taylor Sheridan’s thriller Wind River, which hits theaters in August. He’s also a budding producer, with credits ranging from The Founder to his own film Kill the Messenger.
And speaking of messengers, don’t kill Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed for putting to rest rumors that Hawkeye will appear alongside Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in the Marvel sequel. Just be glad that Michael Pena is coming back as Luis!
`Not to be outdone on the comic book movie front, Buress will soon be seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming as well as Paramount’s Baywatch, which emerged from CinemaCon with great buzz. He’s represented by WME and 3 Arts Entertainment, while Renner is repped by CAA. Variety broke the news of their castings in Tag.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief