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From The Avengers to Mad Max? Jeremy Renner almost nabbed the main Fury Road role

He had the action moves for sure.

Jeremy Renner in The Avengers (2012)
Image credit: Marvel Studios

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One of the biggest names that were floated around for the role of Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road was that of Jeremy Renner. Could the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Hawkeye have brought something different to the iconic character?

We've said it before, but Fury Road's path to the big screen was full of problems and huge setbacks. As a direct result, the project changed a lot over the years, with actors like Heath Ledger being almost officially attached in the early 2000s and stars like Uma Thurman circling the unique role of Furiosa near the definitive production window.

All these tidbits of information have emerged over the years, but 2020 brought us an especially juicy oral history of the movie published on The New York Times (via Syfy), through which we learned from producer Doug Mitchell and some of the actors involved of more names they'd been looking at in the lead-up to the 2012 shoot.

The bit regarding Renner, who was locked at Marvel Studios around that time with the first Thor and The Avengers, was shared by Zoë Kravitz, who did a chemistry test with him: "I did a chemistry test with Jeremy Renner reading for Max, because they hadn’t hired Tom yet," she told Kyle Buchanan for his oral history of the movie. Director George Miller has always said he knew Tom Hardy was perfect for the role from the moment he saw him in person, but of course, the search for a great Max started way before that.

While someone like Heath Ledger would've brought a different, more youthful type of energy to the role in the early 2000s, it's not hard to imagine Renner's version of Max being as rugged as Hardy's. Most folks instantly link him to Hawkeye nowadays, but his action and drama background is extensive, and people often forget he delivered a devastating performance in The Hurt Locker (2009).

Regardless, the fourth Mad Max entry ended up being in good hands with Tom Hardy's Max and Theron's Furiosa, whom we'll probably meet again in future Mad Max installments on the backburner. That is, of course, after Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the Anya Taylor-Joy-led prequel, finally debuts in theaters this May.

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