Imagine if Ron Perlman was never Hellboy. Instead, picture a younger Jeremy Renner as the one in red face and shaved horns. Doesn’t quite fit, right?
Well, so thought Renner, who was actually offered the lead role in Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 film. Renner has revealed that he was approached to play Hellboy and that there was “a lot of money” on the table to do so, but had to decline after he “just couldn’t connect” to the material.
“I was just reading the script and [thinking] like, ‘I don’t get this…’ I just couldn’t connect to it,” Renner said to Justin Long on his podcast Life is Short. “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.”
As for regrets, Renner said he has none.
“Most of the time it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m glad I didn’t do it,’ and it made sense to me. 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.”
It would have been interesting to see how Renner would have been in the part of the demonic superhero, but he likely made the right decision. After all, Perlman ended up being simply perfect for the role. Stranger Things actor David Harbour took on the mantle of Hellboy earlier this year in an ill-received outing from Neil Marshall (which we didn’t actually mind).
Renner went on to play comic book character Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be reprising the role in a series heading to streaming service Disney+.