This holiday season, Jeremy Renner is thankful for Robert Downey Jr. The six-time Clint Barton actor, who mentors young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in Disney+'s Hawkeye, says the Iron Man star took Marvel newcomers "under his wing" when they joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Entering the universe Downey helped launch when he cameoed as a S.H.I.E.L.D. archer in 2011's Thor, Renner went on to star opposite Downey in 2012's Avengers, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
"I think even just in the MCU, with Downey, he kind of kicked off the MCU in the way that he did with Iron Man. He kind of took us all under his wing, if you will, to kind of shepherd us in in a certain way," Renner told Entertainment Tonight when asked to name the person who was the Clint to his Kate. "We all knew each other and we're all friends, just in a different sort of way you can lean on someone."
Renner played that same role both on-screen and off for Marvel newcomer Steinfeld, who enters the 26-movie MCU as a rookie superhero reluctantly mentored by the retired Clint Barton.
"I learned a lot as time went on, but grateful that I had [Renner] because he'll probably tell me about his experience maybe being somewhat similar," Steinfeld told ComicBook about the mentor/protege dynamic between Clint/Kate and Renner/Steinfeld.
"I knew nothing [going into the MCU]," added Renner, now in his tenth year as the expert archer. "All I knew is it was Iron Man that was out and went down to Manhattan Beach ... to see Kevin [Feige] and Louis [D'Esposito] and those people over there, and we talked about Clint Barton. They said, 'What do you know about him?' I said, 'I don't know anything about him!' I didn't read the comics. I'm like, 'You know what I do love? Iron Man! I'm here because I really loved Iron Man. I loved what you guys did with that.'"
Marvel Studios' Hawkeye is an original new series set in post-blip New York City where former Avenger Clint Barton aka Hawkeye has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. But when a threat from his past shows up, Hawkeye reluctantly teams up with Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old skilled archer and his biggest fan, to unravel a criminal conspiracy.
Marvel's Hawkeye premieres November 24 on Disney+.
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