- Vinnie Jones, The Big Bounce, 2003. Wisely rejected the film which author Elmore Leonard hated as much as the first version in 1968 (with Ryan O’Neal). Instead, Renner played Brian Gamble in SWAT, won a Breakthrough Performance and friendship with co-star Colin Farrell.
- Tommy Flanagan, Hero Wanted, 2007. Forced to turn down the Derek role due to other contracts....and beating Willem Dafoe and pal Colin Farrell to the lead of The Hurt Locker, Kathleen Bigelow’s big Oscar surprise of 2008.
- Kyle Chander, Super 8, 2010. What to do, what to do… ? Play Jackson Lamb for director JJ Abrams - or William Brandt in JJ’s production of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, 2010. Well, Brandt, or so went the carrot, was created to succeed Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in the M:I franchise. Renner was still around in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, 2014. But so was Cruise!
- Luke Evans, The Raven, 2010. Due as Inspector Emmet Fields, joining Joaquin Phoenix, then Ewan McGregor, finally John Cusack’s Edgar Allen Poe in tracking a serial killer - until Renner quit for to join (and succeed?) Tom Cruise’sMission: Impossible franchise.
- Taylor Kitsch, Battleship, 2010. Disney’s John Carter took over the lead when the 2009 Oscar-nominated Hurt Locker star quit for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (and had to quit that, too). The result was the badly-named Kitsch’s second horrendous flop in the year.
- Joaquin Phoenix, The Master, 2011. All set to play Freddie Quell - the role in the film! - in 2010. Then, Universal lowered the boom and it was another year before director Paul Thomas Anderson - could get his first outing since his 2007 Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood - rolling again… Winning Oscar nods for Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Phoenix’s incredible comeback. Anderson and his film, however, were snubbed by the Academy. For being thisclosetoScientology?
- Ryan Phillippe, By Virtue Fall, 2011. Colin Farrell was, as they say in LA, dancing in and out of the lead. Renner was considered... until joining Tom Cruise’s Mission.
- Luke Evans, The Raven, 2011. Renner stayed put as the 1880s Baltimore cop when Ewan McGregor passed Edgar Allen Poe to Joaquin Phoenix - only to quit when invited to co-star with (and maybe succeed) Tom Cruie in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
- Joaquin Phoenix, The Master, 2011. All set to play Freddy - the role in the film! - in 2010. Then, Universal lowered the boom and it was another year before director Paul Thomas Anderson could get the thiscloseto-Scientiology project rolling again… winning Oscar nods for Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Phoenix’s incredible comeback. Anderson and his film, however, were snubbed by the Academy.
- Sam Rockwell, Better Living Through Chemistry, 2012. Renner was, of course, far too busy - another chance for Rockwell, still awaiting The Break.
- Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road, 2012. Every tough guy from Mel Gibson himself in 2003 (before discovering The Passion of Christ, anti-Semitism and LA ostracism) to Renner, the James Cameron regular Michael Biehn, actor-producer Liam Fountain (the titular Mad Max Renegade in his 2011 short), Heath Ledger and Jeremy Renner were also in the loop before creator George Miller won his budget, Hardy wore Mel’s old jacket and Charlize Theron stole the wheelie Western as a Mad Maxine. No way to treat Max Rockatansky (or his fans) after a 30-year hiatus, George!
- Javier Bardem, The Counselor, 2012 .Ridley Scott looked at Renner and Bradley Cooper before voting Bardem - and his wife, Penelope Cruz, as well, although, for the first time in a film together, they never shared a scene.
- Chris Zelschegg, The Canyons, 2012. Desperately reaching for a comeback, the director who used to be Paul Schraderfirst offered the (zero) role of Reed to the expensive Renner.
- Brendan Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate, 2013. Renner was keen, most keen - in July 2012 - on playing the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But director Bill Condon knew who he wanted…
- Bobby Cannavale, Danny Collins, 2015. The pet project of director Dan Fogelman, writer of top toons Cars, Bolt and Tangled, was inspired by how singer Steve Tilston, learned of a (life-changing) letter written to him 34 years earlier by John Lennon. Title was, inevitably, Imagine when planned at Warner with Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and Renner. They became Al Pacino, Annette Bening and Cannavale (Pacino’s sole condition - for his son).
- Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road, 2014. Every tough guy from Mel Gibson himself in 2003 (before discovering The Passion of Christ, anti-Semitism and LA ostracism) to James Cameron regular Michael Biehn, actor-producer Liam Fountain (the titular Mad Max Renegade inhis 2011 short), Heath Ledger and Jeremy Renner were also in the loop before creator George Miller won his budget, Hardy wore Mel’s old jackt and Charlize Theron stole the whole miss-smash as a Mad Maxine. No way to treat Max Rockatansky (or his fans) after a 30-year hiatus, George!
- Spencer Rocco LoFranco, The Life and Death of John Gotti, 2016. Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr downright refused The Son... Also in discussion for Gotti Jr – in what was then Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father - were Renner, James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, Channing Tatum,even the British Dominic Cooper. While Juniors, writers, directors (Nick Cassavetes, Barry Levinson) and years sped by, John Travolta remained literally The Teflon Don as Gotti Sr, was known when the untouchable head of New York’s Gambino Mafia family. Canada’s LoFranco was perfect for Travolta… unknown for stealing movies.