Inside Jeremy Renner's Relationships With His Fellow Marvel Stars

Out of all the actors who have starred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point — and it feels like there have been hundreds — Jeremy Renner seems like the one who might appreciate it the most. After all, the actor has been steadily working in Hollywood for quite a while, first making his film debut all the way back in 1995, in "National Lampoon's Senior Trip." More than a decade into his career, he went on to receive an Oscar nomination for his role in "The Hurt Locker," and soon after, he was cast as Clint "Hawkeye" Barton in the MCU. The rest is Hollywood history; he's gone on to star in mega-budget franchises like several installments of "Mission: Impossible" and "The Bourne Legacy," among many others.

However, Renner always seems grateful to the cast members who made his "Avengers"-induced career boost possible. "Everyone's a celebrity in their own right," he told Dax Shepard on the "Armchair Expert" podcast. "But a Marvel celebrity, especially as the original six, has just been a different kind of journey. There's been marriages and divorces and kids being born and a lot of shifts and changes in our personal lives, as well as our acting lives, that we all share together in a very specific way," he said. Keep reading for a look inside Jeremy Renner's relationships with his fellow Marvel stars.

He was jealous of Chris Hemsworth

Everyone in the Marvel cast plays a superhero, but Chris Hemsworth's character Thor is just... built different. When some of the MCU stars got together for the first time, Jeremy Renner remembers his fellow cast members being surprised by just how physically imposing Hemsworth was. Everyone was wearing their costumes, he recalled on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast. "It looks like it's Halloween," he explained. "We're excited and equally feeling ridiculous. I feel like we all kind of knew each other, somehow, some way. Except we didn't know this Hemsworth guy, because he comes from Australia." Furthermore, everyone was taken aback by Hemsworth's charisma. "He's the tallest, he's the most good-looking," Renner said. Robert Downey Jr. had a suggestion for the rest of the cast: "We've got to break his knee. We've got to take him out. This guy's too good-looking. He's too tall. He's too charming."

Since that first meeting, it seems that Renner and Hemsworth have been on great terms. The two joke around with one another online, hinting at a great relationship behind the scenes. Renner shared an Instagram video in 2019 of him jokingly defacing Hemsworth's face on an Avengers poster, and he captioned it "love you brother." In 2020, he tweeted at People magazine that Chris Hemsworth in Thor's fat suit should be named Sexiest Man Alive for the year, suggesting he's finally accepted his co-star's good looks.

He's close with Scarlett Johansson

When the Avengers first assembled in 2012's "The Avengers," Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow were the only two members of the team who hadn't gotten a solo movie before the team-up flick came out. That meant they shared a certain bond, according to Johansson. "It felt like we were doing it together," she told Jess Cagle on Sirius XM, after more than a decade of working together. "Like we were the new kids on set, kind of ...We stuck to each other." She praised her co-star's acting ability, too. "Jeremy is one of the finest actors around," she said. "He's so brilliant."

When ScarJo got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012, Renner was on-hand to deliver a speech, congratulating — and gently teasing — her. He recalled first meeting his future co-star at a Young Hollywood party years earlier, and he said he was struck by the way she had her hair done, her makeup perfect, a beautiful dress on — and she was wearing an old pair of Converse. "That image sort of stuck with me, and it represents a lot of who she really is to me," he said, turning to her. "You're like a dirty old shoe."

Renner wished Johansson a Happy Mother's Day on Twitter after she had her first child, captioning the pic with the hashtag #sweetscarlet. No matter that he spelled her name wrong... it's the thought that counts!

Jeremy Renner defended Chris Pratt

Though they haven't shared all that much screen time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jeremy Renner's character Hawkeye and Chris Pratt's Starlord teamed up in a Marvel podcast called "Wastelanders," which saw the duo join a super-team that also includes Wolverine and Doctor Doom. Their lack of crossover time hasn't stopped Renner from growing close with Pratt, it seems; in particular, Renner has admitted that their families are close. Back in 2017, he told ET that his daughter and Pratt's son (with ex-wife Anna Faris) were classmates. "Our kids play. They go to the same school... They have a good time together," he said. 

Renner's friendship with Pratt has extended to their online presences, too. In 2020, a number of Marvel stars came to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" star's defense when there was internet backlash against Pratt for his supposed affiliation with an anti-LGBTQ+ church. Though he didn't release a statement on his own, Vanity Fair reported that Renner liked an Instagram post from Robert Downey Jr. defending their co-star, in which the "Iron Man" actor wrote, "What a world... The 'sinless' are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt... A real #Christian who lives by #principle."

The fake Paul Rudd and Jeremy Renner movie

Leading up to "Avengers: Endgame," the MCU cast was desperate to avoid accidentally spoiling anything about the heavily-anticipated film. In order to misdirect reporters and sidestep questions about the Marvel teamup epic, Jeremy Renner and Paul Rudd decided to joke about being in a different movie altogether, which they called "The 50 Year Old Virgins." (Rudd, of course, starred in "The Forty Year Old Virgin" with Steve Carrell). Renner shared a mock poster on Instagram to wish his co-star a happy birthday, hashtagging it #presstourcontinues.

The "Hurt Locker" actor wore a shirt with Rudd's face on it to an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," where he explained their inside joke. He said they made up stories to tell about what it was like to film the fake movie together, quipping, "We played ping-pong a lot." Rudd and Renner joked around in person, too, embracing one another at a promotional appearance just like they had on the mock poster.

The good-natured ribbing doesn't just go one direction, either. After Rudd returned the favor by wearing a shirt with Renner's face on it to a comic convention, Renner posted a pic of his co-star on Instagram, calling him a "fashion icon." 

He starred with Elizabeth Olsen in Wind River

Elizabeth Olsen joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a surprise appearance during the credits of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye wasn't in. Her second appearance, though, was in climactic teamup film "Avengers: Age of Ultron," and Olsen and Renner have worked together on numerous MCU films since. In 2017, they led the cast of "Wind River," a film by Taylor Sheridan, creator and showrunner of "Yellowstone." Renner told ET about what it was like to work with his MCU co-star in a different environment, noting that they even live in the same neighborhood. "It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience with her," he said.

It turns out that Olsen likes working with Renner just as much as he enjoys working with her. The same year "Wind River" came out, she told Vulture that it wasn't always that way, and that her first day on an "Avengers" set was actually stressful. "I was intimidated by him because of his dryness and because he doesn't sugarcoat things," she said. "He's not overly friendly," she added with a laugh. However, she asked him for advice, and he told her to ground her character in Wanda's love of her family. Their relationship blossomed from there, and Olsen now has nothing but glowing things to say. "It's fun to poke at him a bit so that he knows you see him," she said. "We don't really need someone to be fluffy with us."

Jeremy Renner mentored Hailee Steinfeld

Although Jeremy Renner played Hawkeye across six films in ten years, he never got his own solo movie. Instead, in 2021, he starred in a television show on Disney+, so that Hawkeye could pass the torch — er, bow and arrow — to a new generation. The show saw "True Grit" star Hailee Steinfeld's character Kate Bishop pick up the "Hawkeye" mantle, and it turns out their characters' relationship was reflected in their behind-the-scenes friendship, too.

Renner told Entertainment Weekly he felt like the younger actor's mentor on set, given the fact that he'd been part of the Marvel machine for so long. "Outside of acting in the thing, I was protecting her and giving her the CliffsNotes on how it goes with this kind of filmmaking: Green screen, superhero life, all that stuff," he reflected. Furthermore, it turns out Renner respects his co-star for more than just her Oscar-nominated acting ability. "She's a wonderful actress, a wonderful human, and I can't wait to see all the cool stuff that she's able to do," he said.

Steinfeld seems to agree that having Renner on her side was important to her success on the show. "I really felt like I had an ally in him from day one," she told NME. "I, much like Kate, had my moments where I would look to him for guidance and some sense of calming within the madness of making this great project."

Jeremy Renner was proud of Chris Evans

As with many of his co-stars, Jeremy Renner seems to have quite the jokey relationship with "Captain America" star Chris Evans behind the scenes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, their easygoing camaraderie got them in trouble during the press tour for "Avengers: Age of Ultron." While talking with Digital Spy, Renner and Evans discussed the fact that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) seemed to be in a relationship with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in the film, whereas both of their characters had chemistry with her in the past. "She's a slut," Renner deadpanned, sending Evans into fits of laughter. "A complete whore!" he agreed.

Both actors apologized for slut-shaming the character, providing statements to Variety. "I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone," Renner said, while Evans seemed more earnest. "We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize," he explained.

Even though their time in the MCU has come to an end, Renner and Evans still seem to be on great terms. In 2022, when Evans was named People's Sexiest Man Alive, Renner gave him a shoutout on his Instagram Story. "Look at my boy!!!!" he wrote. Gladly, Jeremy. Gladly.

The MCU was a reunion for Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson

Jeremy Renner and Marvel co-star Samuel L. Jackson first worked together all the way back in 2003, when they starred together in action flick "S.W.A.T." As in the MCU, where Jackson plays "Avengers" leader Nick Fury, Renner was a member of Jackson's elite team in the thriller. When they both joined the cast of "The Avengers," Jackson told the Daily News that he was glad to have a chance to work with Renner once more. While "S.W.A.T." failed to launch Renner's career, he told the outlet that he was actually grateful success found him after "Avengers. "[I'm] very, very fortunate that it's come to me later on in life being a bit more self aware and fully realizing as a man I have a little bit more of a skill-set to endure the onslaught of things that were coming at me," he said.

Renner shouted Jackson out on Twitter in 2015, when the cast evidently missed the veteran actor's presence on set. "I hope you ears are burnin brotha," he wrote, suggesting the cast was talking about their teammate. "We're all missing you. Hope we get to see for a foot stompin a** slappin good time soon."

He wanted to replace Mark Ruffalo

Though the cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown immensely over the years, Jeremy Renner is fiercely protective of the cast of the original "Avengers" film. He frequently captions his posts #A6, shouting out the original members of the superhero team who have been there with him since the beginning. The team decided to show each other how much they meant to one another through some ink. "The original six got a tattoo cause we've all been together over the last decade and spent a lot of time together," he revealed on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," explaining that the design of the tattoo — an interlocked A and 6 — also contained symbols referencing each main character.

However, he admitted, not all of them got the tattoo after all. "[Mark] Ruffalo's the only one that kind of chickened out at the last minute," Renner said. The "Mayor of Kingstown" star joked that he nearly got Ruffalo kicked out of the group. The #A6 are all in a group chat together, he said, and Ruffalo jokingly invited Eric Bana –- star of Ang Lee's "Hulk" film, not part of the MCU –- to get tatted instead.

It seems like there are no hard feelings over the tat flap. They frequently support each other on social media, for example. When "Hawkeye" premiered on Disney+, Ruffalo tweeted, "@JeremyRenner always hits his mark." In 2022, the Hulk also wished his co-star a happy birthday online.

He jokes around with Tom Hiddleston

Hawkeye and Loki aren't friends, to say the least, but by all accounts, it seems that Jeremy Renner and the villainous Tom Hiddleston get along great behind the scenes. At least, that was the impression at the D23 Disney Expo convention in 2011. While Hiddleston was on the red carpet giving an interview, Renner walked behind his co-star, who jumped in surprise as Renner evidently went out of his way to bump into him. "That's just Hawkeye, just my buddy messing with me there," he cracked. "That's why they keep us so separate," Renner joked, leading Hiddleston to shoot back, "Why, because we misbehave?"

Talking about the difference between Loki the character and Hiddleston the actor, Renner grumbled, "I like you as a human. I don't like you — your character." Then, trying to keep a straight face, he prompted Hiddleston to talk about how he feels about Loki's costume, perhaps insinuating that the "Only Lovers Left Alive" star may have done some complaining behind the scenes. Just like Jeremy Renner... trying to get other people in trouble.

Robert Downey Jr. took him under his wing

While Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is the man who got the Avengers to assemble, it seems that much of the "Avengers" cast looked up to Robert Downey Jr. as one of the more veteran actors in the cast. At least, that was definitely the case for Jeremy Renner, who told ET that he leaned on RDJ, especially in the beginning. "Downey kind of kicked off the MCU in the way that he did with 'Iron Man,'" he said. "He kind of took us all under his wing, if you will, to kind of shepherd us in, in a certain way ... Just in a different sort of way, you can lean on somebody for some sort of information, or a hug or something."

He frequently shouts out his co-star on social media, including posting a pic of the twosome behind the scenes at the New York Stock Exchange. Renner also sends the "Sherlock Holmes" star birthday wishes on Twitter, nearly every year.

It seems Downey leaned on Renner, too. While on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" in 2014 (via People), he shared that he was having trouble convincing his son to be careful while playing outside, so he called up his co-star since his son loves Hawkeye. "Jeremy said, 'Listen, this is Hawkeye talking," Downey Jr. recalled. "'You can't put a stick in your eye because then you won't be able to use the bow and arrow at 300 yards, and take out the bad guy.'"