Years ago, I rented a movie called S.W.A.T., mostly because of Colin Farrell, and I noticed that the actor who played his good-cop-gone-bad partner was a good actor, and I was disappointed that he was the bad guy. Over the years, this same guy kept popping up in other things I was watching - Angel, North Country, 28 Weeks Later, etc. By the time he showed up on House, M.D. (in what became one of my favorite episodes, because of him), I had started referring to him as “that guy that I like” because for some reason I could never remember his name.
Then one night, my date and I went to see The Hurt Locker. In the interests of full disclosure, I have a huge kink for all things military – uniforms, camouflage, weapons, war machines, the whole bit. I was also interested to see how “that guy I like” would do in this kind of role.
He blew me away. The force and conviction of his acting in that role was a quality that is rarely seen in the kinds of movies I like, and I have never been able to forget the scene in the grocery store where Sgt. James is completely overwhelmed by the options and has absolutely no idea what to do – because he has been so institutionalized by the military, where those kinds of choices don’t exist. He was so good, in fact, that my father (a veteran of two wars) tells me he had to keep reminding himself that it was not a documentary.
Mostly because of the camouflage, I walked out of The Hurt Locker thinking not only is- he a great actor, but he’s freakin’ HOT. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for men who look good in camo and are comfortable handling weapons.) I was not surprised in the least that he was nominated for an Oscar.
However, life and other crushes went on, until Thor. When Hawkeye appeared on the screen and I realized who he was, I got giddy. I was very tempted by Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but my dislike for its titular star outweighed the presence of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Josh Holloway.
So it was not until the double-tap of The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy that I really fell in love. That was when I started actively researching him, reading interviews and articles, hunting down DVDs, and yes, giving in to MI:4. It was also just in time for The Town to hit HBO, and it now resides permanently on my DVR until I can get the DVD.
I’ve had celebrity crushes before. I’ve run fan clubs for some of them. This one is different, because this one has a concrete effect on my life. One day I was thinking about Mr. Renner, and how he has been tapped to take over two major movie franchises (Mission: Impossible and the Bourne series), and is an integral part of the ensemble cast of the Avengers franchise. It occurred to me that he is young enough that he has a long, profitable (and, I am confident, Oscar-winning) career ahead of him.
Then I realized that although he and I are almost exactly the same age (nine weeks apart), I have been behaving as if my own life is basically over. My health has declined to the point where I can no longer be in my current profession, but I have been doing this too long to be qualified to do anything else, so I was simply existing.
When I realized that if Mr. Renner is young enough to consider that he still has a full life ahead of him, and we are the same age, that means that I am young enough, too. That is what inspired me to decide to go back to school and to pursue my life-long dream of being involved in the film industry.
So when you finally see my name on a movie screen with the credit “Written by,” you will know that Jeremy Renner inspired me to get off my couch and start living. And for that, I will be forever grateful.